Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Trial No. B-1801750
Appealed From Is: Affirmed
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Adam
Tieger, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
W. Gustafson, for Defendant-Appellant.
Roderic O. Hendrix appeals his conviction, following a bench
trial, for carrying a concealed weapon in violation of R.C.
2923.12(A)(2). Hendrix contends that the trial court erred by
finding him guilty of the offense because the state failed to
prove, as an element of the offense under R.C.
2923.12(C)(1)(c), that he possessed the weapon for an
unlawful purpose. However, because we conclude that R.C.
2923.12(C)(1)(c) creates an affirmative defense, which
Hendrix failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence,
we affirm his conviction.
On March 24, 2018, just after midnight, a police officer
responded to a two-vehicle accident. Hendrix, the operator of
one of the vehicles, told the officer that he had been
driving home from a bar. He said that he had been at the bar
since 5:00 p.m., and that he had had two shots of Hennessy
while at the bar. The officer noticed an odor of an alcoholic
beverage on Hendrix's person, and that Hendrix had
bloodshot, watery eyes, and slightly slurred speech. Hendrix
told a second officer that he had had two Budweisers at the
Hendrix was arrested after he failed several field-sobriety
tests. He submitted to a chemical breath test, which revealed
a breath-alcohol content in excess of the legal limit. He was
charged with several traffic-related offenses, including
operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and
driving with a breath-alcohol concentration over 0.17
The police conducted an inventory search of Hendrix's car
and found an unloaded Kel Tec 9 mm semi-automatic firearm in
the glove compartment and a full magazine for the firearm in
the center console next to the driver's seat. Subsequent
test-firing revealed that the firearm was operable. Hendrix
was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in violation of
R.C. 2923.12(A)(2), which provides, "No person shall
knowingly carry or have, concealed on the person's person
or concealed ready at hand * * * [a] handgun other than a
Hendrix filed a motion to dismiss the weapon charge, citing
R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c), which provides:
(C)(1) This section [carrying a concealed weapon] does not
apply to any of the following:
(c) A person's transportation or storage of a firearm,
other than a firearm described in divisions (G) to (M) of
section 2923.11 of the Revised Code, in a motor vehicle for
any lawful purpose if the firearm is not on the actor's
In his motion, Hendrix asserted that, pursuant to the
exception in R.C. 2923.12(C)(1)(c), he could not be
prosecuted under R.C. 2923.12 because the weapon in his car
was not on his person. The state countered that R.C.
2923.12(C)(1)(c) was an affirmative defense that ...