Violent Crimes and Your Rights

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It is not difficult in our State to be accused of a violent crime – or to be the victim of a crime of violence. According to FBI statistics, more than 36,000 violent crimes were reported in Ohio in 2020.

Crimes of violence and assault are wrongfully charged by police all the time for a number of reasons. If you are arrested for a crime of violence in Ohio, do not try to explain yourself to the police. Anything that you say will be used against you. Instead, reach out to an Ohio criminal defense attorney at once, and let that attorney do the talking on your behalf.

If you are charged with committing a violent crime in Ohio, what are your rights? What steps will you need to take? What will an Ohio criminal defense lawyer do on your behalf? If you will keep reading this brief discussion of violent crime in Ohio, these questions will be answered.

Which Specific Crimes Are Considered Violent Crimes?

A crime in which someone uses, threatens to use, or tries to use physical force against someone else is considered a violent crime in Ohio. Violent crimes often lead to injuries or death for victims and bystanders as well. The State of Ohio makes punishing these crimes a priority.

The list of crimes that are considered violent crimes under Ohio law includes but is not necessarily limited to arson, assault, battery, forcible rape, kidnapping, robbery, manslaughter, murder, and resisting arrest with violence. Violent crimes may be committed with or without weapons. Recently, when actor Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, he did in fact commit a crime according to [California] State law.

A conviction for a crime of violence may be penalized harshly. Even a misdemeanor violent crime conviction may be penalized with a jail term, and many violent crimes in Ohio require mandatory prison time for a conviction. Offenders may also face “extra-legal” penalties.

Any criminal record may make it difficult for you to find housing or employment. If you hold a professional license, a conviction for a violent crime may trigger disciplinary action by your licensing board. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, a violent crime conviction could lead to deportation.

If you are convicted of a violent crime, your loved ones could be devastated. Your career could be destroyed. You may lose the right to own a firearm, and you could also lose the right to vote.

Could You Be Wrongly Arrested for a Violent Crime?

Assault is wrongfully charged more than any other violent crime. When fights or violent disputes happen in bars, parking lots, and other public settings, police officers may simply take into custody everyone who was involved – including the crime victims.

Judges, divorce lawyers, and defense attorneys in Ohio know that domestic assault allegations are made falsely for a number of reasons such as revenge or to gain an advantage in a divorce proceeding. Sometimes false domestic violence claims are made for no discernible reason.

If you are falsely arrested for a crime of violence, do not try to explain what really happened to the police. Anything that you say will be used against you. Instead, tell your defense attorney what happened, and let that attorney do the talking on your behalf.

If You Are Charged With a Crime of Violence

If you are placed under arrest and charged with a crime of violence, you must exercise your rights. Be cooperative, but be firm about your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. You can say, “I would prefer not to answer your questions until my lawyer can be here.”

Your lawyer should be an experienced Delaware County criminal defense lawyer, because you will be placing your fate and your future in that lawyer’s hands. Don’t consider trying to defend yourself. Too much is at stake, the law is too complex, and a mistake could send you to prison.

You cannot delay about calling an attorney who will defend you at every step of the criminal justice process and bring your case to its best possible conclusion. If you are charged with a crime of violence, make the call to a Delaware County defense attorney as quickly as possible.

The sooner you retain an attorney, the more time that attorney will have to examine the evidence and develop an effective defense strategy on your behalf. The prosecutor goes to work on your case from the moment you’re charged, so you must retain a good defense attorney without delay.

How Will an Attorney Defend You Against a Violent Crime Charge?

To win a criminal conviction against you, a prosecutor must prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” There are several ways that an Ohio criminal defense attorney can defend you in a violent crime case. The first step is attempting to have the charge dropped or dismissed.

A violent crime charge can sometimes be dropped or dismissed if there is insufficient evidence against you or if the police violated your constitutional rights during an investigation, search, arrest, or interrogation. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer may tell the jurors that:

  1. You acted in self-defense or to defend someone else.
  2. Your action was not willful and you had no criminal intent.
  3. Someone else committed the crime, and you’re a victim of misidentification.
  4. No crime happened, and the allegation was fabricated by the purported victim.

Your lawyer’s strategy will depend on the details of the charge. Sometimes, the key to prevailing is to locate and question any witnesses immediately. Their statements may contradict the alleged victim’s claim. Your attorney can then compile evidence in support of those witness statements.

An experienced central Ohio criminal defense lawyer will work to uncover and to offer the court exculpatory evidence, to suppress any evidence gathered illegally, to challenge witnesses who are unreliable, and to provide aggressive, effective representation on your behalf.

Should You Accept a Plea Deal?

If you’ve been charged with a violent crime, and you’re not guilty, if the case against you can’t be dropped or dismissed, you should insist on a jury trial. While going to trial is always a risk, a defense attorney with solid trial experience will make all the difference. If the State’s case is strong and a conviction is inevitable, your lawyer may negotiate and may recommend a plea deal.

In most plea deals, a defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge in return for a lesser sentence. Your lawyer will try to negotiate a plea deal that you can live with. Be sure to discuss it with your lawyer before you accept a plea offer, and if you’re innocent, reject any plea offer and insist on a trial. Although your lawyer can guide you, it must ultimately be your decision. Will you be satisfied with a guilty plea the rest of your life? How will that impact your family and friends? Your job?

Every person who is charged with a crime of violence in Ohio deserves to be represented by a good defense attorney to understand your options and fight for your rights. Whether you are innocent or guilty, if you are charged with committing a violent crime, make the call to a qualified, experienced defense attorney immediately.

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