Facing Criminal charges in Cleveland?

As your Cleveland criminal defense lawyer, we’ll fight to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your felony or misdemeanor case. We’ll prepare for trial, negotiate with prosecutors for a plea agreement, or present your case to a judge and jury.

Criminal charges are serious, and the severity depends on whether you’re being charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

What’s the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony? 

Ohio law classifies a misdemeanor as a criminal offense that can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail. The penalties for a misdemeanor will vary depending on the type of misdemeanor you’re facing:

  • Minor: $100 fine
  • Fourth-degree: $250 fine / 30 days in jail
  • Third-degree: $500 fine / 60 days in jail
  • Second-degree: $750 fine / 90 days in jail
  • First-degree: $1,000 fine / 180 days in jail

Felony convictions in Ohio have more serious consequences than a misdemeanor conviction, with the following punishments:

  • Fifth-degree: $2,500 fine / 6 – 12mo in prison
  • Fourth-degree: $5,000 fine / 18mo in prison
  • Third-degree: $10,000 fine / 9mo – 5 years in prison
  • Second-degree: $15,000 fine / 2 – 8 years in prison
  • First-degree: $20,000 fine / 3 – 11 years in prison

Murder and aggravated murder charges carry extreme sentences of 15 years to life and life with possibility of parole respectively.

Depending on the crime that you commit, you’ll also face a variety of collateral consequences. In some cases, your criminal conviction will prevent you from voting. In other cases, you may be barred from practicing your profession, or even from owning a gun. You may even face deportation if you’re not a U.S. citizen.

The charges will go on your permanent record, which may also make it difficult to get a job, receive security clearances, make you ineligible for federal aid, push your insurance rates high or require you to register as a sex offender.

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Legal Defense from a Trusted Firm 

Our criminal defense attorney knows how to navigate Ohio’s legal system to ensure that your constitutional rights are upheld. You don’t have to, nor do you want to, take on a criminal charge without an expert by your side.

We handle a wide range of criminal cases, including but not limited to:

  • Traffic offenses: Traffic offenses, such as a DUI/OVI, reckless driving, or a hit-and-run, are some of the most common criminal charges in the state of Ohio. While these offenses may seem relatively minor, they can have serious consequences if convicted, including fines, jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and more.
  • Property crimes: Property crimes involve property and may include charges for crimes such as burglary, theft, arson, or vandalism.
  • Violence: A violent crime can be severe and may include charges, such as homicide, aggravated assault, battery, domestic violence, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated battery.
  • Weapon charges: A weapons charge may include a variety of deadly weapons, including handguns, knives, or other objects that may be lethal.

We have the experience juveniles and adults need when facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Cleveland or across the state of Ohio.

Your case deserves the attention of an attorney that will use the law to protect your rights. We’ll develop a defense strategy that offers the best chances of having charges dismissed, lowered, or changed to a lesser charge.

Defending Your Case with Trusted Defenses 

Your criminal charges are serious, but they only tell a small part of the story. We’ll use the details surrounding your case to determine what the best course of action is for you.

A few of the defense arguments we may employ are:

  • Entrapment. The enticement, persuasion, or coercion of someone to commit a crime they wouldn’t normally commit.
  • Mistake of Fact. A mistake, misunderstanding, or misperception of a situation, which would render the defendant innocent.
  • Mistake of Law. The defendant’s understanding of the law was different from what the law actually stated.
  • Involuntary Intoxication. The defendant may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol due to the actions of someone else when the crime was committed.
  • Coercion. The defendant was forced to commit the crime, either through direct threats or through manipulation of the defendant’s emotions.
  • Insufficient Evidence. The evidence presented to the court is not enough to prove the defendant guilty, because it doesn’t prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Our Cleveland Criminal Defense Lawyer Has the Answers You Need

Having a criminal background can cause your life to be negatively impacted in several ways. A conviction of either a misdemeanor or a felony can impact your freedom as well as your finances, through incarceration, required probation, and court fines and fees. A felony conviction will appear on criminal background checks, impairing your ability to purchase firearms or to vote. It can also make it difficult for you to find a job or secure housing, as potential employers and landlords also have access to criminal background checks.

Let our Cleveland Criminal Defense Lawyer help you understand your legal options and provide answers to the questions you have about your case.

Contact us for a free case evaluation today.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Cleveland, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Near You

Facing criminal charges? Worried about what the criminal process will look like? If you are unsure of what to do next and need help navigating Ohio’s laws, contact The Botnick Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.

Your future is at stake. Call us now to get the help you deserve. An experienced Cleveland criminal defense lawyer can help get you through this.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation.








Process step-by-step

  • 01.
    Initial Arrest

    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. 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.

    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.

    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. 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

Prison TIme
Maximum Fine
First Degree
3-11 years
Second Degree
2-8 years
Third Degree
9-36 or 12-60 months
Fourth Degree
6-8 months
Fifth Degree
6-12 months

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing

Jail Time
Maximum Fine
First Degree
Up to 180 days
Second Degree
Up to 90 days
Third Degree
Up to 60 days
Fourth Degree
Up to 30 days
Minor Misdemeanor

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you hire a criminal defense attorney?

You should reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether you have already had charges filed against you, or if it has been made clear to you that there is an investigation under way, the sooner you can have a criminal defense attorney on your side, the better your chances at a favorable outcome in your case.

What does a criminal defense lawyer do?

A criminal defense lawyer (either a private lawyer or a public defender appointed by the court) is responsible for fighting for the rights of the accused. They will research and investigate the facts and evidence against their client, and work to find the best way to defend them against the charges.

Should I tell my lawyer the truth?

Always. In order for your criminal defense lawyer to fight for your rights, they need to know every detail of the truth surrounding the charges against you. Remember that client-attorney privilege exists and that the job of a defense attorney is to fight on your side.

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


  • 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