Minor Misdemeanors

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By Chelsea Lund, Summer Associate

According to the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio Constitution affords a greater protection against warrantless arrests for minor misdemeanors than the Fourth Amendment. State v. Brown (1999) allows police officers to briefly detain, but not arrest or conduct a search incident to that arrest, offenders for a minor misdemeanor offense as long as none of the exceptions outlined in the Ohio Revised Code Section 2935.26 apply.

Those exceptions are as follows:

  1. The offender requires medical care or is unable to provide for his own safety.
  2. The offender cannot or will not offer satisfactory evidence of his identity.
  3. The offender refuses to sign the citation.
  4. The offender has previously been issued a citation for the commission of that misdemeanor and has failed to do one of the following.
    1. Appear at the time and place stated in the citation;
    2. Comply with division (C) of this section. [R.C. 2935.26(A)]

Therefore, if none of these exceptions apply, police officers shall issue a citation but may not conduct a custodial arrest, or a search related to that arrest, for a minor misdemeanor offense.