In Columbus, Ohio, Criminal Lawyers Talk Non-Lethal Weapons
From pepper spray to tasers, what you need to know about Ohio weapon laws
A stranger walks up on you in a dark alley. You hear a noise downstairs in the middle of the night. The convenience store you stopped at is getting robbed.
How do you protect yourself? Ohio allows for licensed individuals to arm themselves with concealed guns, but the responsibility of possessing and carrying a firearm isn’t for everyone.
Luckily, if you want to be prepared for the unpredictable but don’t want to buy a gun, you may instead opt for a non-lethal alternative. Stun guns, batons and pepper spray are all legal in Ohio. Still, just because a weapon is non-lethal doesn’t mean that there aren’t restrictions associated with using it. Here’s what you need to know about these common non-lethal weapons.
Made from concentrated capsaicin, the ingredient in peppers that makes them spicy and hot, pepper spray is a common non-lethal weapon designed to disable assailants by disrupting their senses. It typically comes in a small metal spray can. When used properly, pepper spray will cause a burning sensation in the attacker’s eyes, nose, mouth, and skin.
Pepper spray is only meant to be used as a defensive measure, and only when the victim feels that they are in danger of bodily harm. If pepper spray is used against someone for any other reason (for instance, out of anger or in the middle of a heated argument), you may be charged with assault.
If you choose to purchase pepper spray, be aware of the following:
- You may not be allowed to carry pepper spray in certain establishments, such as schools, airports or sports arenas.
- When you use pepper spray, sometimes the mist will affect you as well as your attacker. Be prepared for this if you find yourself in a situation where you have to use it, especially if it’s windy.
- Be sure to test your pepper spray about every six months to make sure it hasn’t depressurized.
Sometimes called a taser, a stun gun is a device that emits a powerful electric shock which disables or immobilizes an attacker. There are two varieties, one which you hold against an attacker’s body, and another that actually fires metal prongs into the attacker at a distance.
Once again, these weapons should be used in self-defense only. Using them for any other reason may be seen as use of excessive force, and could be construed as assault. What’s more, on several rare occasions, people have died due to cardiac arrest after being shocked by a stun gun, so they aren’t to be toyed or trifled with.
Sometimes called a telescoping baton, this 12- to 18-inch-long weapon folds up, allowing you to carry it in your pocket. However, batons like this are a bit of a gray area under Ohio’s laws, so it’s best not to buy or carry one, much less use one. If you’re stopped by a police office with one of these devices on your person, you may be charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.
If you were defending yourself and charged with assault in Columbus, Ohio, criminal attorneys Yavitch & Palmer are here to help
Being convicted of an assault charge can affect your future, finances, and career. That’s why it’s very important to only use self-defense weapons when you feel that you’re at risk of bodily harm. However, if you’re attacked and there are no witnesses, proving that your assailant forced you to use a non-lethal weapon can be tricky.
That’s why you need to call the experienced, professional attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer. We’ll look through every aspect of your case to help you prove that your use of force was justified.
Use our online form to schedule an appointment at our downtown Columbus office, or contact Yavitch & Palmer at 614-224-6142.