FAQs

Read some of our Frequently Asked Questions

  • Criminal Defense

    • How can a criminal defense attorney help me?

      The criminal justice system is a complex and powerful entity. An experienced criminal defense attorney will understand the system, knows the rules, and speaks the language of the prosecutor. All of which can help level the playing field. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can:

      • Investigate the charges against you. Your criminal defense attorney will visit the scene of the crime scene of the crime; interview witnesses; review official reports and other documents; and examine the physical evidence. Unlike the police investigation, your attorney’s investigation will consider the facts with an eye toward finding holes in the evidence, gaps in proof, inconsistencies, and anything that might give rise to reasonable doubt.
      • Scrutinize the officers’ conduct. Did the officers’ conduct, in connection with your arrest and/or in gathering the evidence against you, violate your constitutional rights? If so, your attorney can bring a motion to have the evidence suppressed.
      • Stand between you and the government. The law and procedures that govern a criminal case are complicated. Unless you have studied and trained in law, it is impossible for you to know all of your rights or when those rights are being violated. Your criminal defense attorney can help you assert your rights and protect you from an overzealous prosecutor.
      • Develop a theory of plan of defense. Did you act in self-defense? Do you have an alibi? Are the charges against you based on the claims of an unreliable eyewitness? Depending on the facts of your case, you’re attorney can help you formulate and present a coherent theory or plan of defense.
      • Represent you at trial. Your attorney will work on your behalf to select a jury and present your defense to the jury.
      • Help you make the big decisions required of a criminal defendant. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can offer wise counsel, based on experience, to help you make the many strategic decisions you will have to make as your case travels through the criminal process.
      • Communicate with your family. Your family will be worried about you. Your criminal defense attorney can serve as an intermediary between you and your family and the criminal justice system, helping to ease their anxiety.
    • What should I expect at my first meeting with a criminal defense attorney?

      At your first meeting with a criminal defense attorney, expect to:

      • Discuss the circumstances of your arrest: What happened? Who was there? What did the police do or say? What did you do or say? Etc.
      • Share everything you know about the circumstances leading to and surrounding your arrest and the charges against you. Withholding information from your attorney or giving misinformation may hurt your defense, as it may blind-side your attorney at a later date and negatively affect your defense strategy. Remember, your attorney has a professional responsibility to keep all your discussions confidential, so don’t hold back.
      • Discuss your concerns, including how a conviction or incarceration may affect you or your family, and what your possible exposure is.
      • Discuss the cost of representation, payment plans, etc
    • Do I need a lawyer if I plan to plead guilty?

      Although you can plead guilty without an attorney, it is not advisable. Given all that is at stake, anyone charged with a crime should seek legal representation immediately, before making any case-related or life-altering decisions.

    • What is a “hung jury”?

      A “hung jury” is a jury that is unable to come to a unanimous decision with regard to whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty. When this occurs, the judge will declare a “mistrial.” The prosecution then will have to decide whether to try the defendant again.

    • What happens if I am found “guilty”?

      If you are found guilty, the judge may order that your bail be “revoked” and that you be placed in custody pending sentencing. If you are already in custody, the judge may also revoke your bail so that you cannot be released upon raising sufficient funds to make bail. The judge will set a date for sentencing and may order pre-sentence reports and investigations, in order to learn more about you. Alternatively, the judge may immediately proceed to sentencing on the same day you are found guilty, although this usually occurs only after bench trials and in cases involving less serious crimes where incarceration is not likely part of the sentence.

    • What happens if I am found “not guilty”?

      If you were found not guilty then those charges can no longer be used as a basis to hold you in custody. You are released from the criminal justice system. You are entitled to your bail money; you are no longer under any pretrial supervision; and you cannot be tried again by the same entity/sovereign authority for any crime arising from the same set of circumstances.

    • Should I testify?

      In almost all cases, that answer is, “no,” but the decision to testify or remain silent is yours. However, your criminal defense attorney will give you advice as to whether it may help or hinder your case. Some things they will help you consider are:

      • You have a constitutional right to remain silent. While anything you say can be used against you, your silence cannot be used against you. The prosecutor may not comment on your refusal to testify; jurors may not infer guilt based on your silence.
      • You are presumed innocent, until the government proves you guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. So you do not have to prove your innocence; the government has to prove your guilt.
      • The jury’s verdict must be unanimous. The prosecution must convince all the jurors of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a heavy burden.
      • Cross-examination is not a casual conversation. It is a fight that is not for the weak of heart. If you take the witness stand, the prosecutor will take advantage of every opportunity to undermine your credibility and poke holes in your version of events.

      If you decide to testify, your testimony will be the most anticipated and highly scrutinized evidence presented at the trial. If the jurors don’t believe you, you will be convicted. Your case will hinge on your credibility, more so than any other testimony or evidence presented in the case.

    • Why is there cross-examination in criminal trials?

      The confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that defendants have the right to confront all witnesses against them. This is done by cross-examination.

      Cross-examination is the process by which the opposing attorney asks questions of the witness, with the goal of poking holes in the witness’ version of events, challenging the accuracy of the witness’ memory; undermining the witness’ credibility; and creating reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. Both the defense and the prosecution have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses at trial.

    • What does guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” mean?

      In order to obtain a conviction in a criminal case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is their burden.

      “Beyond a reasonable doubt” does not mean beyond all doubt, as that standard is impossibly high. Nor does it mean “more likely than not,” as that standard is too low, given all that is at stake in a criminal case. Practically speaking, “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that, after hearing all the evidence, the jurors are truly and steadfastly convinced that the defendant is guilty of the crimes charged.

    • What is the Speedy Trial Rule?

      You have a right to be brought to trial without undue delay caused by the prosecution. The right to a speedy trial is rooted in the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution. The prosecution has the burden of diligently bringing a defendant to trial. The general rule is that a defendant must be brought to trial within one year from the date they are charged with a crime, yet this could vary among jurisdictions.

      If the prosecution fails to bring someone to trial within the time mandated by law, then your criminal defense attorney may file a motion, asking that the charges be dismissed. If a judge finds that the prosecution has caused unreasonable delay, the case may be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning the prosecution is forever barred from charging you with the same exact crime.

      If, however, your criminal defense attorney caused the delay in bringing your case to trial, then that delay will not count toward the computation of time; likewise, delay that is beyond the prosecution’s control will not be charged against the government when deciding if there is a speedy trial violation. Additionally, if you are in pretrial custody and have not been brought to trial within a certain period, your criminal defense attorney may bring a motion requesting that you be released on nominal bail pending your trial.

    • Am I guaranteed a trial by jury?
      Not always. You have a right to a jury trial when you are charged with a crime for which you could be sentenced to more that six months of incarceration if convicted. This right is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.
    • What happens if I violate probation?
      If you violate the terms of your probation, you may be placed in custody by your probation officer. You will then have a hearing before the judge who’s sentenced do you previously. The judge may rule that you’re in violation, “revoke” your probation and then sentence you to incarceration or a new period of probation. When and if your probation is revoked, the judge may sentence you to serve the remainder of the maximum sentence allowed by law for the charges in which you were initially placed on probation for. This is different than having your “parole” revoked, where you would only be sentenced to the remainder of your remaining jail sentence, but no more than that. Violating probation has more severe consequences.
    • What are some examples of probation?

      Some examples of common terms and conditions of probation are:

      • Check in with a probation officer as instructed;
      • Abstain from using illegal or non-prescribed drugs, and do not abuse prescribed drugs;
      • Abstain from alcohol;
      • Attend and complete drug and or alcohol rehabilitation;
      • Submit to random were scheduled drug screens;
      • Submit to random searches;
      • Stay employed or seek employment;
      • Obtain a G.E.D.;
      • Stay away from the victims;
      • Complete community service;
      • Pay mandatory court costs and fines;
      • Pay restitution;
      • Abide by the law (no new violations of the law allowed for the duration of the probation period)

      This is not an exhaustive list; other terms and conditions apply, depending on the facts of your case and your personal circumstances.

    • My deal includes probation? How does probation work?
      Probation is a sentence that is served outside of prison and for a specified period of time, with certain court-imposed conditions on the person sentenced to probation. If you comply with the terms of your probation, then you are allowed to remain out of jail; when you complete all the terms of your probation, then your sentence is concluded and you are released from the criminal justice system.
    • Can I change my mind about a plea deal?

      Possibly, but you must act quickly…and you face an uphill battle to convince the judge to agree.

      Prior to sentencing: you may petition the judge to allow you to withdraw your guilty pleas until the day of sentencing. However, a defendant must assert that he or she is factually innocent in order to persuade the judge to allow the plea to be withdrawn and set the matter for trial.

      After sentencing: You may file a written motion asking the judge to allow you to withdraw your plea. If the motion is denied, then you have limited time to file a formal appeal. Your appeal may be based on any grounds you believe have merit.

      It may be easier to withdraw your plea prior to being sentenced, but in both instances it will be a challenge to persuade the judge.

    • What rights do I give up if I agree to a plea deal?

      The Constitution of the United States guarantees criminal defendants certain rights. When you agreed to a plea deal, you agreed to give up or “wave” these rights:

      • The right to a public trial, by a jury. If you are charged with a crime that carries a penalty of more than 6 months of imprisonment, you have a sixth amendment right to a public trial, by a jury of your peers. When you agree to a plea deal, in private negotiations with the prosecutor you waive these rights.
      • The right to remain silent. When you are taken into custody, you have the right to remain silent in the face of police questioning. That right extends to a criminal trial, as well. Plea deals, however, is a communicative process; the prosecutor is not going to deal with a defendant who refuses to talk.
      • The right to confront witnesses. The Sixth Amendment’s “confrontation clause” protects your right to confront and challenge the witnesses against you, by cross-examining them under oath, in court. You give up this right when you agree to a plea deal.
      • The right to defend yourself at trial. When you agree to a plea deal, you waive your right to defend yourself against the charges and or subpoena witnesses to testify in your favor.
    • If I am offered a plea deal, should I take it?

      There are many factors to consider before taking a plea deal, also you should always discuss your options with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you make your final decision. By taking a plea bargain you will be pleading guilty and that is the equivalent of a criminal conviction, which can have severe, life-altering consequences. If you have spoken to an experienced defense attorney, just remember that the final decision on whether to accept or reject a plea deal belongs to you.

      Here are some of the factors to consider before making your decision:

      • The charges against you.
      • The evidence against you.
      • What will the witnesses say?
      • Can any of the evidence be suppressed?
      • The sentence you may face if convicted?
      • What is the total sentence, on all charges, to which you are exposed?
      • If any charges will be dropped or if any charge calls for a “mandatory minimum” sentence, will the prosecutor agree to not seek the “mandatory” sentence?
      • Whether you are eligible for a program where your criminal record can be sealed?
      • Your personal circumstances which may be impacted by making this decision? (ie. Do you have a family to support? Do you have a criminal record? Do you want to keep the matter private and avoid a public trial?)
      • Are you willing to let a group of strangers decide your fate?
      • How likely is the judge to approve the deal and follow any sentencing recommendations?
      • Potential collateral consequences of a guilty plea? (ie. immigration-related consequences, employment-related consequences, loss of professional licenses, loss of voting privileges, loss of driving privileges, loss of the right to possess firearms, or registration as a sex offender.)
    • What is a plea agreement?
      A plea agreement is a deal that is negotiated between the prosecutor and the defendant. The agreement usually will consist of the Prosecutor offering to recommend a lighter sentence or to drop more serious charges, in exchange for the defendant agreeing to plead guilty and forego a trial. The agreement must be approved by a judge.
    • What are appeals courts?

      Appeals courts hear and decide all appeals from decisions of Ohio’s trial courts except mayors’ courts as explained above. Appeals courts also have original jurisdiction to hear certain special proceedings, which means such proceedings are filed directly in the appeals court rather than a trial court.

      Ohio is divided into 12 appellate districts, with each district having three or more judges. Each case before the court of appeals is heard by a panel of three judges. These courts generally do not hold trials or hear evidence. They decide matters of law based on the record of the trial court, the written arguments called briefs (which are prepared by the attorneys), and the oral arguments before the court. After hearing arguments about the trial court’s decision, the appeals court may either affirm or reverse the trial court, or remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings. Appeals courts issue formal decisions called opinions, which are based upon whether or not prejudicial errors were made at the trial court level.

    • What happens in juvenile court?
      The juvenile court is a common pleas court with jurisdiction to hear only cases involving juveniles (children under 18) alleged to be delinquent, unruly, abused, neglected or dependent. This court also determines issues of paternity, custody, and child support in cases involving children who have been born out of wedlock, or if no action for divorce, dissolution, annulment or legal separation has been filed in the common pleas court domestic relations division.
    • What is a domestic relations court?
      The domestic relations court, which may be a separate division of the common pleas court, has jurisdiction over all proceedings involving termination of marriages, annulment, legal separation, spousal support, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (including visitation), and authority over the care and support of children of divorced parents.
    • What is probate court?
      Each county has a probate court that is part of the common pleas court. The probate court is generally charged with overseeing the administration of estates upon the death of an individual who dies a resident of the state. Probate courts also issue marriage licenses and have jurisdiction over adoptions, name changes, competency hearings, and involuntary civil mental health commitments. Along with county and municipal court judges, a probate judge may perform marriages
    • What are common pleas courts?
      Every county has a common pleas court consisting of one or more judges. A common pleas court hears cases involving such matters as real estate, personal injury, breach of contract, marital conflicts, probating of estates, guardianship of minors, and business relationships. This court has jurisdiction to hear all criminal felony cases. The common pleas court also has authority to hear appeals from decisions of municipal and county courts as well as state and local administrative agencies. The jurisdiction of municipal, county, and mayors’ courts is regulated by statute, but the common pleas court has countywide jurisdiction. Because this jurisdiction is established by the Ohio Constitution, it cannot be changed without a constitutional amendment.
    • What happens at a suppression hearing?
      At a hearing on a motion to suppress, your defense attorney will state the legal and factual grounds for the suppression of evidence and what evidence in particular should be suppressed. The police will usually testify, and the prosecution will elicit testimony showing what the police did and why they did it. Your criminal defense attorney then will have the opportunity to question (cross-examine) the police, to show that the officer’s behavior was unreasonable under the Constitution. You, the defendant, may be called to testify as well, but this is rarely done. More likely than not, you will exercise your right to remain silent, rather than expose yourself to cross-examination by the prosecutor. Both sides may introduce exhibits into evidence. At the conclusion of all the evidence the attorneys will make final arguments to the judge, and the judge then will make a decision on the record.
    • Who decides whether to allow or suppress the evidence?

      Following your Criminal Defense Attorney‘s filing of the motion to suppress evidence, the court will reach out to your attorney to schedule a hearing to rule on the motion to suppress. During this hearing the court will determine whether the evidence was illegally obtained, and based on the agreement of the court the judge will grant or deny the motion to suppress.

      If it is determined the evidence was illegally obtained in your case it is highly likely the judge will grant the motion to suppress and depending on the evidence this may result in the dismissal of all the charges against you. However, if the judge denies the motion to suppress the hearing will still provide your criminal defense attorney the opportunity to cross-examine the government’s witnesses. Cross-examination may reveal unknown facts or result in unexpected admissions by any of the witnesses. This also ties the witnesses to a specific version of the facts.

    • How will my criminal defense attorney determine what can be suppressed?

      Our office has multiple procedures to determine what may be suppressed and a criminal case. We will conduct extensive investigation to evaluate whether the government’s actions were unreasonable, unlawful, or in violation of your constitutional rights. The evidence regarding a criminal case is called discovery. Your criminal defense attorney will request this information from the government as early as you have retained the services of that attorney. Once discovery is received the investigation will begin.

      Our staff and attorneys will ask about the circumstances in which the government obtained any evidence in your case. In order to do this efficiently our office procedure is to allow you to review the discovery in it’s entirety and make notes based on the recollection of events which occurred. Remember you are the leading expert in your criminal case and anything that can be determined incorrect, unreasonable or unlawful will only help you and your case.

      One of our staff attorneys will review your notes as well as the discovery. Following their review the meeting will be set up between you and the lead attorney in your case. The purpose of this meeting is to give you an update on the approach we are taking, issues your attorney sees, plan of attack, proper next steps and there may be some decisions we are wanting your feedback on.

    • Why would you do a motion to suppress?

      “Why” is protected by The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which prohibits the government from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. Which means that the government cannot search you for your property without evidence also nothing may be seized unless there is probable cause to believe that criminal activity is occurring. furthermore, you cannot be placed under arrest calls. If any evidence was obtained or you were arrested during an unlawful search and seizure, then this can be “suppressed”.

      The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during any questioning that may occur. If the government ignored this right which is protected by the Fifth Amendment then any statements you made may also be suppressed.

      In nearly every criminal case, there is some piece of evidence that may be subject to a suppression. Based on this fact the “motion to suppress” evidence is one of the strongest tools available to a criminal defense attorney.

    • Can you get the evidence against me thrown out?
      Possibly…One of the strongest tools available to the defense is a “motion to suppress” evidence. It is used as a formal request to the judge to prohibit the prosecution from introducing certain evidence at trial, on the grounds that it was illegally obtained by the police, in violation of your constitutional rights.
    • How does the prosecutor decide whether they will file charges?

      The majority of the time prosecutors discretion to file charges yet many factors are considered when making their decision to file formal charges. Some factors may include:

      • Severity of allegation
      • The allegation effect on any victims
      • Any restorative steps that can be taken without formal charges
      • Victims/witnesses are cooperative and wish to proceed
      • Witnesses have credibility issues
      • There is sufficient probable cause
      • The likelihood of obtaining a conviction
      • Whether the perpetrator poses a safety threat to society
      • The perpetrator has previous contacts with the system
      • The cost associated with pursuing charges
      • Creates personnel burden at the prosecutor’s office
    • Do the police and prosecutor work together?
      The police and prosecutors work as a team on most criminal cases. Please investigate the case, and the prosecutors try the case. However, it is the prosecutors job to present the evidence to the jury at trial. Majority of the time, the officers’ testimony is a vital piece of the evidence presented.
    • What happens if I can’t make bail?
      If you are unable to make bail you will remain in custody until the next court procedure or trial. If you are unable to post bail, your attorney may be able to file a motion to reduce spell. In addition to having the bill amount reduced, your attorney may also request that you be confined to your home on an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, or that the court impose some other form of house arrest.
    • How is bail determined?

      Your bail will be set at a hearing, or immediately after your initial appearance before a judge. Your attorney will present the facts in your favor regarding employment history and status, your personal situation, your family’s need for your income and health benefits, and your ties to the community.

      If the charges against you are serious then the judge may deny bail and an order to ensure the safety of the community or a particular person. Or the judge could deny your veil by setting an amount which may be unreasonably high. If either of these conditions occur, then you will be returned to jail to await trial.

      These are the conditions which may take place if released on bond/bail:

      • Travel restrictions
      • A curfew
      • A ban against using drugs or alcohol, which may be accompanied by testing and monitoring
      • Random consented searches of your person and home
      • Psychiatric evaluation
      • An injunction against contacting witnesses or the victim.
      • Wearing an ankle monitors
  • Sex Crimes

    • How Does Sex Offender Registration Work?

      In Ohio, the length of an offender’s registration requirement is directly correlated to the offender’s classification.

      Generally:

      • Tier I: Offenders must register annually for a term of 15 years. In some cases, Tier I offenders are required to register annually for only 10 years.
      • Tier II: Offenders must register every 180 days for a term of 25 years.
      • Tier III: Offenders must register every 90 days indefinitely.

      In Ohio, if the underlying offense is a felony, an offender’s failure to register is a felony of the fifth degree; otherwise, the failure to register is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

    • Are There Specialized Units for Sex Crimes Cases?
      Law enforcement agencies and prosecutor offices in Ohio often have specialized units that are dedicated to investigating cases of a sex crime. The units often assist in collecting evidence and helping prosecutors obtain convictions.
    • Are the Consequences Harsher if My Sex Crime Involves Children?
      When the accuser is a minor, prosecutors will aggressively pursue maximum sentences. The possible penalties for a conviction can also be enhanced, depending on the specific crime that an individual has been accused of.
    • What are the Consequences of a Sex Crimes Conviction?

      In the state of Ohio, being convicted of any criminal offense carries many other penalties beyond just possible incarceration and fines. People who are convicted of a sex crime not only might have to register as a sex offender, but depending on the severity of the criminal offenses, they may also lose public housing benefits, their rights to possess firearms, and the ability to serve on a jury or hold public office.

      Sex crime convictions can also make individuals ineligible for certain kinds of employment and lead to some people having professional licenses revoked.

    • What if I’ve Been Accused of a Child Pornography Offense?
      Alleged offenders accused of child pornography offenses in Ohio can face state or federal charges. Prosecutors frequently seek maximum punishments for these crimes, making it critical for any person accused of one of these crimes to immediately seek the help of an experienced attorney.
    • What is a Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order (SOOPO)?

      Even if the accused is not charged with a sex crime, an accuser can still seek a protection order against that person by filing a petition for a Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order (SOOPO). The SOOPO process is similar to the procedure involved in many domestic violence civil protection orders, but there are some differences.

      The general division of the Common Pleas Court in which the alleged victim lives handles SOOPO petitions as opposed to the court’s domestic relations division, and SOOPOs cannot make any rulings on child custody or order the accused to pay spousal or child support. A SOOPO can still impose several different restrictions on the accused that limit their contact or the distance at which they can be within the vicinity of the accuser.

    • What Does the Court Process of a Sex Crimes Case Look Like?

      After the accused has been arrested for an alleged sex crime, they may have to make multiple court appearances.

      Some of the steps in these cases generally include:

      • Arraignment: During the accused’s first court appearance, they are informed of the criminal charges against them and asked to enter an initial plea. A judge will also determine bail and any accompanying conditions of bail.
      • Pre-trial hearings: The accused’s lawyer will have the opportunity to file a motion for discovery in order to review all of a prosecutor’s evidence. Both parties may be able to file motions relating to that evidence or other issues, and the criminal defense attorney and prosecutor will generally begin or continue to negotiate a possible plea agreement.
      • Trial: If the prosecutor and defense lawyer cannot reach any kind of plea deal, the judge will typically set a date for trial. At trial, the prosecution and the defense present their cases to a jury that decides whether the accused is guilty of the alleged sex crime.
      • Appeals: If the accused is convicted of a sex crime, they may still be able to file an appeal with a higher court. Criminal appeals must be based on some kind of error in the lower court’s handling of the sex crime case, not mere dissatisfaction with the outcome.
    • What Evidence Can Be Used for or Against Me in a Sex Crimes Case?

      Prosecutors and the State have the burden of proof. This means they need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the alleged offenders of sex crimes. In order to accomplish this, a prosecutor will often present various forms of physical evidence that a sex crime was committed.

      The most common type of evidence in most sex crime cases is the testimony of the alleged accuser, but law enforcement will typically seek DNA evidence. Other evidence may include photographs of injuries or witness statements.

    • How Does a Sex Crime Investigation Unfold?

      After the accuser has reported an alleged sex crime, law enforcement will attempt to collect any evidence from the scene of the alleged crime and make an effort to speak to the accused. Alleged accusers may submit to rape kit examinations, which allow medical professionals to collect forensic evidence.

      When police do speak to the accused, they will try to conduct an interrogation, which may include the possible use of a polygraph (lie detector) test. Anybody who is being investigated for any kind of alleged sex crime should not make any statement to law enforcement without an attorney.

    • What Defenses May I Be Able to Use for My Case?

      When you or a loved one is under investigation or has been arrested for any kind of alleged sex crime in Ohio, that individual may be able to use any one of a number of defenses to possibly have the alleged criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

      Your case will have specific details and each defense can differ, but some of the most common defenses in sex crime cases include:

      • False accusations: Some alleged offenders may be falsely accused of sex crimes by ex-spouses or former partners out of revenge or for other ulterior motives.
      • Lack of evidence: Prosecutors may be unable to convict alleged offenders for sex crimes when they do not have any or enough physical evidence to prove that a sexual offense was committed.
      • Consent: Alleged victims may claim that sex crimes were committed when they originally consented to sexual conduct with the alleged offenders.
      • Mistaken identity: In some cases of alleged sex offenses, the alleged victims may misidentify their alleged offenders and cause police to arrest innocent people.
      • Affirmative defenses: Depending on the specific sex crime a person is accused of, the alleged offender may be able to raise an affirmative defense in which they admit to the sexual conduct in question but cannot be charged with a crime because a certain fact negates the criminal charges.
    • What Sex Crimes Charges Can an Attorney Defend Me From?
      • Rape: Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 defines rape as engaging in sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender or who is the spouse of the alleged offender but is living separate and apart from the alleged offender, when the alleged offender substantially impairs the other person’s judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception; the other person is less than 13 years of age, whether or not the alleged offender knows the age of the other person; or the other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the alleged offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.
      • Sexual battery: Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03 generally defines sexual battery as engaging in sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender when the alleged offender knowingly coerces the other person to submit by any means that would prevent resistance by a person of ordinary resolution, the alleged offender knows that the other person’s ability to appraise the nature of or control the other person’s own conduct is substantially impaired, the alleged offender knows that the other person submits because the other person is unaware that the act is being committed, the other person is a minor, or other specific circumstances.
      • Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: Ohio Revised Code § 2907.04 defines unlawful sexual conduct with a minor as an alleged offender 18 years of age or older engaging in sexual conduct with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender when the alleged offender knows the other person is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, or the alleged offender is reckless in that regard.
      • Sexual imposition: Ohio Revised Code § 2907.06 defines sexual imposition as having sexual contact with another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender, causing another person who is not the spouse of the alleged offender to have sexual contact with the alleged offender, or causing two or more other persons to have sexual contact when either the alleged offender knows that either the sexual contact is offensive to the other person or one of the other persons, the other person’s or one of the other person’s ability to appraise the nature of or control the alleged offender’s or touching person’s conduct is substantially impaired, the other person or one of the other persons submits because of being unaware of the sexual contact, the other person or one of the other persons is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age and the alleged offender is at least 18 years of age and four or more years older than such other person, or the alleged offender is a mental health professional.
      • Gross sexual imposition: Ohio Revised Code § 2907.05 defines gross sexual imposition as either the alleged offender purposely compelling the other person or one of the other persons to submit by force or threat of force, substantially impairing the judgment or control of the other person or of one of the other persons by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception, or knowing that the judgment or control of the other person or of one of the other persons is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the alleged offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the ability to resist or consent of the other person or of one of the other persons is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.
      • Child pornography: Federal law and state law both prohibit the production, transportation, and possession of child pornography. The specific criminal offense an alleged offender may be charged with depends on the specific activity and material involved.
      • Prostitution: State law in Ohio establishes multiple offenses relating to prostitution. Compelling prostitution is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.21, promoting prostitution is established under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.22, procuring prostitution is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.23, and solicitation for prostitution is established under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.23.
    • What is the Legal Definition of a Sex Crime?

      Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(A) defines sexual conduct as “vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse.”

      Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(B), sexual contact is defined as “any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.” Sexual activity is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(C) as sexual conduct or sexual contact, or both.

    • What Does It Say About Sex Crimes in the Ohio Revised Code?

      Criminal offenses that are considered sex crimes are listed under Chapter 2907 of the Ohio Revised Code.

      It is a common misconception to believe that sex crimes are usually committed by complete strangers. Alleged offenders in sex cases are typically people that the alleged victims knew personally, such as friends, family, or co-workers. Individuals who are convicted of sex offenses often face severe penalties that not only include lengthy terms of incarceration and substantial fines, but also possible requirements to register as sex offenders for several years — or possibly life.

    • Why Do I Need a Sex Crimes Lawyer for My Case?

      If someone accuses you of sexual assault or some other sex crime, your reputation and future are on the line. Without legal counsel, you could severely damage your case and hurt your chances to obtain justice. Our attorneys have extensive criminal defense experience and the know-how to investigate the charges that you face. We will build a strong defense that represents your side of the story in court.

      We defend clients who are charged with many types of federal and state-level sex crimes, including those related to Chapter 2907: SEX OFFENSES and Chapter 2950: SEXUAL PREDATORS, HABITUAL SEX OFFENDERS, SEXUALLY ORIENTED OFFENDERS:

      We fight to keep our clients’ names off the sex offender registry. Registration as a sex offender can limit where you can live and may impact your civil rights. Our lawyers will work to minimize or eliminate the potential of registering as a sex offender.

  • Domestic Violence

    • What Details Do I Need to Know About Domestic Violence?

      Charges of domestic violence cover more than just physical abuse. These charges encompass many kinds of behaviors, such as making threats of bodily harm or physically harming a family pet. People in Ohio can also receive domestic violence charges for psychological abuse, such as threatening a spouse to make them feel fear and terror.

      One of the most damaging domestic violence allegations to a person’s reputation is an allegation of sexual abuse against children. Many people assume guilt when a person is accused of childhood sexual abuse, and a conviction can cause long-term damage to a person’s standing in their community. If you are accused of domestic sexual abuse, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

      In Ohio, if someone is accused of attempting to or causing physical harm, they will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. If the person threatened to harm another, they face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. If the victim suffered serious bodily harm, then the attacker may be charged with felonious assault. In felony assault cases, the defendant could face up to eight years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Serious assault includes the physical aspect of abuse, such as slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, or choking. How someone is charged will depend on the facts surrounding the case and the extent of the injuries to the victim.

    • How Can I Best Fight a Domestic Violence Charge?
      Due to the seriousness of the charges and the possibility of a DV conviction, it is highly recommended that you obtain an attorney as soon as possible. It is highly advisable that you hire an attorney prior to the first hearing. It is also advisable, with a domestic violence charge or any other criminal charge, that you do not talk to any police or detectives before obtaining an attorney.
    • What Happens if the Alleged Victim of My Charge was Pregnant?
      If the defendant is found to have known that an alleged DV victim was pregnant, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of six months to one year for a conviction. Penalties are harsher for incidents that involved actual harm to the mother and/or harm to the baby. But even threats of physical harm to a pregnant victim carry minimum jail time if convicted.
    • What if I’ve Been Charged with Domestic Violence Before?
      Defendants with a prior DV conviction face a very serious charge. After a first DV conviction, defendants will be charged with a mandatory felony for any subsequent violations.
    • What if this Is My First Domestic Violence Charge?
      Defendants who have never been charged with domestic violence charges before will often be charged with a misdemeanor, usually of the first degree (the most serious misdemeanor offense). Depending on the circumstances, a defendant is charged with a lesser offense, even a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If the harm to the alleged victim is very serious, a defendant could be charged with a felony, even on the first offense.
    • What if the Alleged Victim Wants to Drop the Charges Against Me?
      In many areas of criminal law, a prosecutor will give a great deal of weight to a victim’s request that the state withdraws criminal charges. In domestic violence cases in recent years, once the case enters the court system, the state will most likely NOT withdraw charges, even if the victim recants or decides they no longer wish to see charges pursued.
    • How is Domestic Violence Prosecuted in Ohio?

      Ohio courts and prosecutors’ offices have taken a very hard line on domestic violence cases. Great favor is given to victims of alleged domestic violence. When a person claims to be a victim of domestic violence, those charges are taken very seriously.

      Depending on the seriousness of the charge, domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor (a less serious offense) or a felony (a very serious offense). Both misdemeanors and felonies are separated into degrees, with first degree being the most serious. For an offense that has allegedly caused actual physical harm to the victim, a defendant could be charged with anything from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. For threats of physical harm against another person, an offender can be charged with anything from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor.

    • Can I Still Own or Carry a Firearm After a Domestic Violence Charge?

      When charged with domestic violence under Ohio law, your firearms are confiscated upon your being charged. Law enforcement retains all guns and ammunition for the duration of your case. If you are cleared of domestic violence charges or if you plead to a lesser offense, your guns will be returned to you, and there will likely be no permanent restrictions on your ability to possess or obtain firearms.

      If convicted of domestic violence, you face the possibility of losing firearms privileges for life. So, before pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge, understand that this may be the case. In most cases, the court is required to notify you prior to accepting your guilty plea that you face a lifelong firearms restriction across all 50 states if you are convicted of domestic violence.

    • What is a Temporary Protective Order?

      A temporary protective order, or TPO, is a type of restraining order, which requires the accused to stay away from the alleged victim during the course of the criminal domestic violence case. This may mean that the accused will have to stay away from their home and family members until the case is resolved. The accused may be restricted from communicating with the alleged victim through in-person visits, telephone, texting, or even contact through a third party.

      As difficult as this may be, it is very important that the accused not violate the conditions of the TPO. A violation of the TPO is an additional criminal offense and will result in more criminal charges against the accused.

      For the first violation of a TPO, one can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a possible $1000 fine.

      For repeated violations of the TPO, defendants may be charged with a felony of the fifth degree and may face up to one year in jail and a possible $2,500 fine.

      If placed on a protective order restriction, it is extremely important that the accused not contact the alleged victim in any manner or for any reason.

      Usually, attempts to contact the alleged victim through any means are disallowed under the protection order:

      • No texts
      • No phone calls
      • No emails
      • No voicemail messages
      • No social media contact, comments, or likes (even emojis) on anything they post
      • No contacting the alleged victim through a third party

      The accused often believe they can return phone calls or texts as long as the alleged victim reached out first, but defendants shouldn’t fall for this trap. It important to realize that these restrictions go one way, and the accused could be arrested if they make any attempt to contact the alleged victim; however, there is no restriction for the alleged victim to contact the accused. Still, the accused may not return phone calls, emails, letters, or any other form of communication, even if initiated by the alleged victim. As long as the protective order is in place, the accused may not have any contact with the alleged victim. Efforts to do so may result in the accused being arrested.

    • What Happens if I’m Charged with Domestic Violence?

      Domestic violence charges may be brought when an alleged victim makes an accusation and calls law enforcement. When the law enforcement officer arrives, he or she will make an assessment of the situation and will most likely be making an arrest on the scene. Arrests often occur when the only evidence is a statement from the alleged victim.

      Once charged, the accused can expect:

      • To spend time in jail until they are brought before the judge in the case
      • To be placed under an immediate temporary protective order (TPO), restricting access to the alleged victim
      • To have firearms privileges revoked and all firearms confiscated for the duration of the case
    • Who Can Be Considered a Victim in a Domestic Violence Case?

      In domestic violence law, family/household members include any of the following who are residing with or have resided with the alleged offender:

      • Spouse
      • Former spouse
      • Person living as an intimate partner of the offender
      • Person who has cohabited with the offender within the last five years
      • Person related by blood or affinity to a spouse
      • Former spouse
      • Person living as an intimate partner of the offender
      • Parent
      • Foster parent
      • Child of the offender
      • The natural parent of any child for whom the offender is the other parent
    • What Types of Domestic Violence Charges Can a Lawyer Help Me With?

      Assault – Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.13

      According to Ohio Rev. Code §, 2903.13 assault occurs when a person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another or another person’s unborn child or an individual recklessly causes serious physical harm to another or another person’s unborn child. The classification and penalty for assault vary depending on the facts of the case. “Simple” assault is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine.

      Aggravated Assault – Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.12

      Aggravated assault is also considered domestic violence when the offender causes serious physical harm against a family or household member or attempts to cause physical harm by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim. Aggravated assault is a felony of the fourth degree. An individual convicted of aggravated assault faces up to 18 months imprisonment and/or fines up to $5,000.

      Felonious Assault – Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.11

      Felonious assault occurs when an individual causes serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn child or causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another or another’s unborn child by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance.

      An individual can also be charged with felonious assault if that individual has knowledge that he or she has tested positive as a carrier of a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and knowingly engages in the following:

      • Sexual conduct without disclosing knowledge of the positive AIDS test
      • Sexual conduct with a person whom the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe lacks the mental capacity to appreciate the significance of the offender’s positive AIDS test
      • Sexual conduct with a person under the age of 18 who is not the spouse of the offender

      Felonious assault is a second-degree felony. An individual convicted of felonious assault faces up to eight years imprisonment and/or fines not to exceed $15,000.

      Sexual Imposition – Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.06

      Sexual imposition encompasses sexual contact that occurs against the other person’s will.

      An individual is considered to have committed the offense of sexual imposition when they have sexual contact with a person (not their spouse), caused another person (not their spouse) to have sexual contact with them, or caused two or more persons to have sexual contact when the following conditions exist:

      • Offender knew the sexual contact was offensive or conduct was reckless;
      • Offender knew the other person’s ability was substantially impaired;
      • Offender knew the other person was unaware of the sexual contact;
      • Offender was at least 18 years of age and the other person with which they had sexual contact was four or more years younger (this applies when the other person is between the ages of 13 and 16); or
      • Offender is a mental health professional who induced a client or patient to believe sexual conduct was necessary for mental health treatment.

      First-offense sexual imposition is a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable up to 60 days in jail and/or $500 in fines. An individual with previous convictions for sexual imposition may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.

      Rape – Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.02

      Ohio’s rape statute encompasses both “forcible” rape and prohibited sexual conduct with persons who are not the offender’s spouse. Generally, no person shall engage in forcible rape or sexual conduct with another when the offender purposely compels the other person by threat or force according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.02(A) (2). This statute applies irrespective of the offender and other person’s relationship.

      The general rape statute, Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.02(A)(1), prohibits an offender to engage in sexual conduct with a person, not their spouse (or if the other person is the spouse, they live separate and apart from the offender), if the following applies:

      • For the purpose of preventing resistance, the offender substantially impairs the other person’s judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, the threat of force, or deception.
      • The other person is less than 13 years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.
      • The other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.

      Like sexual battery, rape is a third-degree felony, punishable up to five years imprisonment and/or fines not to exceed $10,000.

      Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor – Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.04

      An individual, 18 years or older, may be charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor if he or she engages in sexual conduct with a person, not his or her spouse, who he or she knows is between the ages of 13 and 16 years of age. Generally, unlawful sexual conduct of a minor is a felony of the fourth degree, punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment and/or fines up to $5,000. However, if the offender is more than 10 years older than the other person, a conviction for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or fines to exceed $10,000. If the offender is less than four years older than the other person, the conviction for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Maximum punishments can include jail time up to 180 days, and/or a fine up to $1,000.

      Sexual Battery – Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.03

      Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.03 prohibits sexual conduct of another person (not the offender’s spouse) under the following circumstances:

      • Offender knowingly coerces the other person to submit by any means that would prevent resistance of a person of ordinary resolution
      • Offender knows the other person’s ability to appraise the nature or person’s own conduct is substantially impaired
      • Offender knows the other person submits because he or she is unaware the sexual conduct is being committed
      • Offender knows that the other person submits because the other person mistakenly identifies the offender as the other person’s spouse
      • Offender is the other person’s natural or adoptive parent, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the other person

      There are 13 provisions that constitute sexual battery; however, these provisions are the most common offenses that constitute domestic violence. Generally, sexual battery is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or fines not to exceed $10,000.

      Aggravated Trespass – Ohio Rev. Code § 2911.211

      All domestic violence offenses do not require the offender to cause physical harm to the victim. A crime can constitute domestic violence if the offender attempts physical harm or by threat or violence knowingly caused a family or household member to believe the offender will cause imminent physical harm. An individual may be convicted of aggravated trespass if it is proven that he or she entered or remained on the land or premises of another person with the purpose to commit a misdemeanor, which involves causing physical harm to another person or causing another person to believe the offender will cause physical harm. Aggravated trespass is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable up to 180 days imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

    • What is the Legal Definition of Domestic Violence?

      You can be charged with criminal domestic violence if you are accused of an act or threat of serious physical harm against a member of your family or household.

      Examples of domestic violence may include:

      • Intentional harm of another person
      • Acting recklessly in a manner that causes harm to another person
      • Threatening bodily injury to another
      • Using force or threats to prevent another person from obtaining help
      • Using force or threats to prevent another person from leaving the premises

      In the State of Ohio, several criminal offenses constitute domestic violence, although the specific statutes might not state an individual has committed domestic violence by committing this particular act. For example, courts have determined forcible rape constitutes domestic violence, although Ohio Revised Code § 2919.25 does not specifically state rape is domestic violence.

      Domestic violence encompasses any crime in which the perpetrator:

      • Knowingly caused or attempted to cause physical harm to a family or household member;
      • Recklessly caused serious physical harm to a family member; or
      • By threat or violence knowingly caused a family or household member to believe the offender will cause imminent physical harm.
    • What Are the Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction?

      The penalties for a DV conviction can be very serious.

      A conviction will be either a misdemeanor or felony conviction, and can potentially include:

      • Jail/prison time and heavy fines
      • Restrictions on firearms possession
      • Social stigma and a reputation as someone who is a danger to others
      • Difficulty in obtaining and retaining employment and professional licenses
      • Restrictions on access to and custody of your children

      Contact us for assistance in defending your rights if you are charged with domestic violence.

    • What Should I Do After Being Charged with Domestic Violence?

      We understand that you are in a difficult situation the moment you are charged with domestic violence. Your reputation suffers immediate harm; you will likely be arrested and placed in jail until you obtain a hearing in court; and you will likely be placed under a temporary restraining order, potentially barring you from contact with loved ones and keeping you from your home.

      This will be one of the hardest and most humiliating experiences you will go through in your life. You may be thinking the worst and that you are a “criminal,” but you are still innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to a proper defense. We represent clients in many domestic violence cases in Ohio. Many of these cases involve the alleged violence of a boyfriend or husband against a girlfriend or wife, but reverse cases are also just as common. Regardless of the circumstances, we can assist you in defending your rights.