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Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney

LIFE HAPPENS

Don’t deal with a broken system on your own.
Let a former prosecutor guide you.

Criminal charges are the last thing anyone wants to deal with, but when they do, you need a Cleveland criminal defense attorney that is not afraid to stand up and fight for your rights.

At Botnick Law Firm, we excel at providing aggressive representation in all criminal matters. Whether you are dealing with a misdemeanor, felony or fighting federal charges, you don’t have to fight this on your own. The next step is simple. Call or text now to talk to an attorney.

The prosecutor’s job is
to convict you.

Trust me, I know.

I was one.

Until I got sick of how the system attempted to intimidate and bend people with fear into taking a deal they shouldn’t.

A criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, live where you want, vote, own a gun and even foreign travel.

You need to take action. Time is not on your side.

Aggressive Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney

Top-Rated Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney

75+ Five-Stars
Google Reviews & Avvo Reviews

I’VE BEEN CHARGED.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

1. The system isn’t exactly fair...

The criminal justice system is supposed to enforce laws and protect people’s rights. However, it’s known to be rather one-sided against those who have been accused of a crime. The authoritative individuals and government agencies in the system focus on one common objective... convicting a criminal. In a criminal case, the police and the prosecutor work together to develop evidence and gather supporting documents before, during, and after an arrest. Those who attempt to take on the system alone will be significantly disadvantaged. It helps to have a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side.

2. They look for evidence against you, not evidence to defend you.

The basis of a police investigation is to search for reasons to convict someone of a crime. The police aren’t using their resources to find evidence that proves innocence… they’re looking for evidence to convict a criminal. That’s exactly what they are trained to do. Your defense attorney, on the other hand, is trained to work with your rights in mind. You can expect them to look for gaps in the case, reexamine evidence, and find any other discrepancies that could incite reasonable doubt.

3. The police aren’t above the law.

Police officers have a lot of rules and processes that must be followed during criminal investigations. But that’s not always the case. Police have often been known to overstep their duties and infringe upon the rights of the criminally accused. If the officer’s conduct during the arrest or investigation was in violation of your constitutional rights, your defense attorney may be able to have your case dropped before it even goes to trial.

4. Criminal cases are complex legal proceedings.

Not everyone’s a lawyer. Unless you regularly study the laws in your local area, you’ll probably find that the process for handling criminal cases is pretty complicated. Knowing how to defend yourself in these situations, what your rights are, and if your rights have been violated isn’t exactly obvious. Your criminal defense lawyer will act as a buffer between the government and you while asserting your rights and guarding you against harsh prosecutors.

5. The decisions made now will impact you for years in the future.

Any charge that shows up on a criminal record can cause issues later on in life. Things like applying for a new job or looking for your next home… sometimes a clean criminal record is a prerequisite. It can really hold you back. Criminal defense lawyers with experience can offer wise guidance and advice to help you navigate all the strategic decisions you will face during your criminal case.

Process step-by-step

  • 01.
    Initial Arrest
    01

    01. Initial Arrest

    The process to charge someone that’s been accused of a crime begins with an arrest. If the police have reason to believe that someone has committed a crime, the accused can be taken into custody. Police will usually start by asking basic questions like name and address to identify a person, and then they’ll often pivot to more specific questions related to the incident. At some point during this, you should have been read your “Miranda warnings.”

  • 02.
    Reading Your Rights
    02

    02. Reading Your Rights

    You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court. Those are your unwavering rights that must be recited upon taking someone into custody. Take note of when these rights are read to you, as it could be helpful information for your attorney.

  • 03.
    Booking
    03

    03. Booking

    When you’ve been taken down to the station, police will fingerprint you and get your photograph to update their records. Once this is done, you should be granted the opportunity to contact your criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a loved one to book a consultation with a lawyer on your behalf. It’s important that you do NOT disclose any details about your case over the phone with your loved ones, as those calls are monitored.

  • 04.
    Investigation
    04

    04. Investigation

    After you’ve made it through the booking process, the police may begin conducting their investigation with you. Depending on the situation, this might include a personal search, collecting samples, interviewing/interrogating, police lineups, etc.

  • 05.
    Court Appearance
    05

    05. Court Appearance

    You’ll be held at the station until you can be brought before a judge. The initial court appearance will happen within 48 hours or less of the arrest. Here, the judge will review the case and decide if there’s any reason to keep you in holding or if bail can be granted. If bail is granted, you’re allowed to be released upon certain conditions.

  • 06.
    Hearing
    06

    06. Hearing

    Depending on the seriousness of your allegations, you may have a preliminary hearing at which a judge can determine whether enough evidence exists to charge you with that level of crime. You’ll be able to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you plead not guilty, your case will be sent to trial. You may get the opportunity to enter a plea deal. That’s something your attorney will advise you on.

  • 07.
    Discovery
    07

    07. Discovery

    In the discovery stage, the case against you is made much more transparent. The prosecutor will share the evidence they have against you with your defense attorney. During this time, your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be. All of the evidence on the table will be considered, and your lawyer will work with you to form the best plan for your defense.

  • 08.
    Trial
    08

    08. Trial

    If a plea deal is unable to be reached, the case will enter trial. During the trial, the prosecutor begins by presenting the case to the jury. They share any evidence they have against you and have witnesses make their statements for the prosecution. This can be tough to sit through. Afterward, it’s your lawyer’s turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. Your lawyer can question the prosecutor’s witnesses and all of the evidence that was used against you. There are many different strategies that your lawyer will use to defend you during the trial.

  • 09.
    Sentencing
    09

    09. Sentencing

    In a best-case scenario, you will have been found not guilty by the end of the trial, and the charges against you have been dropped. If you are found guilty, the judge must determine what your sentence/penalties will be. The sentencing will happen at another hearing, usually a few weeks after your trial ends.

Ohio Felony Sentencing

Degree
Prison TIme
Maximum Fine
First Degree
3-11 years
$20,000
Second Degree
2-8 years
$15,000
Third Degree
9-36 or 12-60 months
$10,000
Fourth Degree
6-8 months
$5,000
Fifth Degree
6-12 months
$2,500

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing

Degree
Jail Time
Maximum Fine
First Degree
Up to 180 days
$1,000
Second Degree
Up to 90 days
$750
Third Degree
Up to 60 days
$500
Fourth Degree
Up to 30 days
$250
Minor Misdemeanor
None
$150

COLLATERAL EFFECTS OF A CRIMINAL CONVICTION

When you’ve paid your dues and walked away from the criminal justice system, you’ll be left with some unwanted baggage… a criminal record. A charge on file can become a roadblock for many important opportunities in life that many individuals don’t consider.

PARENTING RIGHTS

Depending on the nature of the crime and your current parenting arrangements, courts may have the authority to modify or take away custody rights to children.

GUN RIGHTS

If you’re convicted of a felony in Ohio, you will lose your right to possess and purchase firearms. Misdemeanor charges involving domestic violence, drug dependency, or mental health can also have an impact on your gun rights.

COLLEGE ADMISSION

Colleges do perform background checks. If they see that you have been convicted for a crime, even a misdemeanor, they may reject an application. Your chances of obtaining any funding for schooling may also be narrowed.

IMMIGRATION STATUS

Even a tiny misdemeanor conviction on your record puts a significant risk on your chances of obtaining a green card. Depending on the circumstances, you also risk getting deported.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES

There are a lot of good jobs that require professional licenses or will run background checks during the hiring process. Any charges showing up on a criminal record is an immediate red flag for a lot of employers.

VOTING RIGHTS

In Ohio, convicted felons lose their rights to vote while they are serving their sentence.

ADOPTION RIGHTS

If you or your partner plan to foster a child or adopt someday, the presence of a criminal record may severely hurt your chances of approval.

FINANCIAL AID

Different financial aids for things like education, housing, family welfare, etc., may no longer be accessible with a criminal charge on file.

SECURITY CLEARANCES

You may no longer be able to pass a security clearance in specific organizations or professions. Places like schools, daycares, and airports may be off-limits.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE?

The attorney-client privilege protects a lawyer’s communication with a client. Clients are encouraged to share any and all information related to their case without fear of legal repercussions or other consequences. Ultimately ensuring that lawyers can represent clients effectively because they have all of the facts.

WHAT RIGHTS DO I HAVE IN COURT?

Here are the rights that EVERY person headed to court has…

The court must:

  • Tell you the charges against you.
  • Tell you of your right to have a lawyer.
  • Appoint a lawyer to represent you if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
  • Give you adequate time to send for a lawyer.

DO I NEED A LAWYER IF I PLAN ON PLEADING GUILTY?

Absolutely. When entering court proceedings, the people handling your case are only focused on one thing… a conviction. Even once you’ve served your expected sentence, the consequences of conviction can follow up for years to come. You should always have someone in your corner to support you in these situations, explain ALL of your options, and advocate for your rights.

DOES MY CRIMINAL CHARGE STILL SHOW UP ON A BACKGROUND CHECK AFTER IT'S BEEN EXPUNGED?

Expungement laws exist to help previous offenders recover and carry on with their lives, without being held back. They cannot show up on a background check, or at least they shouldn’t. Although it’s not exactly ethical, there are some background check companies that continue to report on charges that have previously been sealed from the public.

IS IT BETTER TO PAY A TICKET OR GO TO COURT?

Remember that if you simply pay for your ticket – It’s the same as admitting guilt. 

This puts a blemish on your driving record. You’ll likely be looking at higher insurance rates. And if you drive for a living (for instance, for Uber, or if you have your CDL), then a speeding ticket may cause employment issues. You should always speak with an attorney before making any decisions.

HOW LONG DO CHARGES SHOW UP FOR ON MY CRIMINAL RECORD?

With the proper legal representation, you can win your case and have your charges dropped and sealed. Depending on the severity and nature of the crime, charges may stay on record for the rest of your life. It’s best to involve a lawyer a soon as possible, even if you are guilty, to help minimize the impacts of a criminal record.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLEA BARGAINS?

Always be careful accepting plea bargains. It’s not always the best option. Your lawyer will discuss the case with the prosecutor and weigh all of your options to determine the best course of action. Here are a few potential benefits of plea bargaining:

  • Avoid jail time
  • Reduction in sentencing
  • More minor charges show up on your record
  • Resolve cases quickly (sometimes before trial)

Ohio Courts System

We have successfully represented clients across Northern Ohio. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help you too. Don’t delay. The district attorney is building their case against you right now.

The Prosecutor will not take your charges lightly — Will you?


Experienced in all Northeast Ohio Courts and Northern District of Ohio

COUNTIES

  • Cuyahoga County
  • Geauga County
  • Lake County
  • Lorain County
  • Portage
  • Summit
  • Medina
  • Erie
  • Stark
  • Trumbull
  • Mahoning
  • Ashtabula

Major Cities

  • Cleveland
  • Parma
  • Lorain
  • Elyria
  • Lakewood
  • Euclid
  • Mentor
  • Cleveland Heights