Charged with "First-Degree Nothing"
Last week, in "How to be a criminal, without even trying", we saw that the IRS can legally seize any citizen's finances - even those known to be from completely legal sources - for the non-crime of depositing too little, too often. In case that wasn't a horrific enough prospect, we thought we'd also mention that Ohio allows you to be arrested for the crime of hiding nothing.
It's the equivalent of being charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon because you are wearing an empty holster.
This article is almost a year old but the law is still certainly on the books - and is being enforced. In short, it is illegal to have a "hidden compartment" in your vehicle. Might you be a human trafficker, drug smuggler, or terrorist? Sure. Or you might have a James Bond fetish, or a lockbox for valuables under your seat, or a good sense of spatial organization. The statute doesn't care.
It also doesn't care if we're talking about a motor vehicle, RV, or non-commercial trailer. They're all "vehicles." If you have a cramped truck interior and made creative use of space; if you made use of the underflooring of your pop-up camper - it's all the same. Congratulations. Per Ohio Revised Code Title 29, Chapter 2923, you are a devious criminal engaged in a "corrupt activity."
Note how definitions "are not limited to," allowing it to be expanded if determined necessary:
2923.241 Hidden compartments in vehicles.
(2) "Hidden compartment" means a container, space, or enclosure that conceals, hides, or otherwise prevents the discovery of the contents of the container, space, or enclosure. "Hidden compartment" includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
(a) False, altered, or modified fuel tanks;
(b) Any original factory equipment on a vehicle that has been modified to conceal, hide, or prevent the discovery of the modified equipment's contents;
(c) Any compartment, space, box, or other closed container that is added or attached to existing compartments, spaces, boxes, or closed containers integrated or attached to a vehicle.
(3) "Vehicle" has the same meaning as in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code and includes, but is not limited to, a motor vehicle, commercial tractor, trailer, noncommercial trailer, semitrailer, mobile home, recreational vehicle, or motor home.
But, hey, I guess it's okay. I mean, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear... right?