501.04  RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.
   (a)   Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) hereof, sections of the Codified Ordinances defining offenses or penalties shall be strictly construed against the Municipality and liberally construed in favor of the accused.
   (b)   Rules of criminal procedure and sections of the Ohio Revised Code providing for criminal procedure shall be construed so as to effect the fair, impartial, speedy and sure administration of justice.
   (c)   Any provision of a section of the Codified Ordinances that refers to a previous conviction of or plea of guilty to a violation of a section of the Codified Ordinances or Ohio Revised Code or of a division of a section of the Codified Ordinances or Ohio Revised Code shall be construed to also refer to a previous conviction of or plea of guilty to a substantially equivalent offense under an existing or former law of this State, another state, or the United States or under an existing or former municipal ordinance. 
   (d)   Any provision of the Codified Ordinances that refers to a section, or to a division of a section, of the Codified Ordinances that defines or specifies a criminal offense shall be construed to also refer to an existing or former law of this State, another state, or the United States, to an existing or former municipal ordinance, or to an existing or former division of any such existing or former law or ordinance that defines or specifies, or that defined or specified, a substantially equivalent offense. 
(ORC 2901.04)