Being convicted of a crime could lead to several adverse consequences. You could be faced with incarceration, hefty fines, and a mark on your record, which could hamper your future opportunities.
When you choose to work with Patituce & Associates, our Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys will keep your goals, needs, and best interests at heart and fight to protect your freedom and rights. We have former prosecutors on our staff and our team has decades of experience.
We recognize that criminal allegations could arise from mistakes of identity, false accusations, or misunderstandings. This is why our team will comb through every detail of your case and establish an effective course of action to defend your innocence. We will work to know you and your situation without judgment.
What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Ohio?
The U.S constitution protects all residents from the overreach of government agencies through the Bill of Rights. The following are the Constitutional Amendments that outline the rights of criminal defendants.
You have a right not to be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures from government agencies. This means the police should have a warrant to enter your home to look for evidence, unless you grant them consent to do so, or in case of an emergency.
The law also dictates that any evidence collected against you in an illegal manner isn’t admissible in court.
You have a right to stay silent and refuse to answer any questions from the police when you’re in custody. However, this doesn’t prevent the police from tricking you into incriminating yourself or answering their questions. During a trial, you can refuse to answer incriminating questions from the prosecution.
The Fifth Amendment also protects you against being tried more than once for the same crime. This means that if your case is dismissed by the court, the prosecution cannot retry you to get a different outcome.
All criminal defendants have the right to a public trial by an impartial jury. The trial should be held promptly. The sixth amendment also guarantees your right to confront or cross-examine witnesses called to testify against you.
If bail is granted in your case (not all cases are eligible for trial), the Eighth Amendment protects you from an unreasonable bail amount. The court should set a reasonable bail amount based on the severity of the offense and the level of your flight risk.
If you are convicted of a crime, the Eight Amendment protects you against cruel or unusual punishment. The prison sentence, fines, and other legal penalties (if applied) should fit the crime.
What Is Considered a Misdemeanor vs a Felony in Ohio?
In Ohio, crimes are generally classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes that are punishable by a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to one year. Felonies are more serious crimes that are punishable by a fine and/or a prison sentence of more than one year.
Under Ohio law, misdemeanors are divided into four categories.
These are the most serious misdemeanors and are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Examples of first-degree misdemeanors include DUI, reckless operation of a vehicle, and assault.
These misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Examples of third-degree misdemeanors include disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.
Felonies are divided into five categories.
These are the most serious felonies and are punishable by a prison sentence of three to 11 years and a fine of up to $20,000. Examples of first-degree felonies include aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.
These felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of nine months to five years and a fine of up to $10,000. Examples of third-degree felonies include drug trafficking and theft of a firearm.
These felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of six to 18 months and a fine of up to $5,000. Examples of fourth-degree felonies include aggravated possession of drugs and identity fraud.
These felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of six to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500. Examples of fifth-degree felonies include possession of drugs and passing bad checks.
It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines, and the actual penalties that may be imposed in a particular case can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case.
If you have been charged with a crime, you should consult with a Cincinnati criminal defense attorney to understand the charges and potential penalties that you may be facing.
Should I Talk to a Lawyer Before Speaking to the Police?
Encounters with law enforcement can be very disorienting, and you won’t be helping your case by trying to explain what happened without a lawyer by your side. Keep in mind that anything you say can be held against you in court. You’re under no obligation to speak to the arresting officers, as provisioned in the fifth amendment.
What Is the Habitual Offender Law?
If you’re charged with a crime, say DUI/OVI, and you have previously been convicted of the same crime or related charges, the consequences will become increasingly severe. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has a list of Habitual OVI/OMVI Offenders. Courts are required to send the identity of offenders and the number of times they have been convicted in the last 20 years to the Department of Public Safety.
Keep in mind that the registry is a public record that includes a searchable internet database containing the offender’s name, address, birth date, and number of convictions within the last 20 years.
How Can a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
Here are some of the ways our criminal defense lawyers at Patituce & Associates can help if you’re facing criminal charges in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Case preparation: This involves investigating the case, obtaining evidence, interviewing witnesses, and filing the necessary paperwork.
- Plea bargains: Your lawyer will be responsible for negotiating plea bargains on your behalf.
- Gauging outcomes: An experienced lawyer will have handled countless cases similar to yours and will be able to explain to you the gravity of your case and possible outcomes.
- Knowledge of Law & Court Rules: Our team has decades of experience and will be in a much better position to represent your best interests.
- Trial experience: This should give you an edge in the courtroom as you will have insights into how the other side thinks. Our team has taken over 200 cases to trial.
With former felony-level prosecutors on staff, we have significant experience navigating all levels of criminal charges. Clients can turn to us for felony, misdemeanor, and federal offenses. We are not afraid of serious charges and know how to craft strong, effective defenses.
How Much Does Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?
How much it will cost you to hire your own attorney will vary depending on a range of factors including the type and severity of your charge, the experience of the attorney, and whether or not your case goes to trial.
Quality legal representation is essential. At the end of the day, it is your reputation, freedom, and future that are on the line. We provide free initial consultations, so call our Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys today to learn more.
Can You Represent Yourself?
Yes. The fifth amendment guarantees your right to represent yourself in a court of law. However, this is the worst decision that you can possibly make. The chances of a conviction are almost always 100% and you are likely to be hit with more severe consequences than you would with an attorney.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?
This all depends on the specific circumstances surrounding your case and the nature of the plea offer presented by the prosecutor. An attorney will be able to help you determine whether entering a plea bargain is the best option for you.
Appealing a Conviction in Ohio
If you have been convicted of any state or federal crime, you should know that it’s possible to appeal your case. Appealing means asking a higher court to review the decision of the trial court. Your lawyer will work to convince the higher court that the jury or judge made the wrong decision in your sentencing or conviction.
Talk to a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorney Today!
When your civil rights and freedom are hanging on the line following an arrest, you want to do whatever it takes to protect them. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Cincinnati can help to fiercely protect your rights.