Facing Misdemeanor charges in Cleveland?

While misdemeanors are commonly referred to as “minor” crimes resulting in little damage or harm to others, being convicted of a misdemeanor charge can create serious consequences, including incarceration, hefty fines, and the appearance of your crime on background checks. A Cleveland misdemeanor lawyer can assist you in preventing the damage that can result from a misdemeanor conviction.

What is a Misdemeanor in Ohio?

In Ohio, crimes are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies. Crimes that result in serious physical or financial harm to others — such as murder, assault, robbery, or rape — are generally considered to be felonies and often carry stiffer financial penalties as well as longer periods of incarceration. Misdemeanor crimes generally are considered to be less harmful to others than felonies are. However, being convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes such as domestic violence or drug possession can prevent you from having certain freedoms, such as the ability to purchase firearms. Other misdemeanor convictions for crimes such as reckless driving can remain on your driving record for years and prevent you from obtaining a CDL or getting hired for a job in which you are required to drive as part of your employment.

In Ohio, there are five classes of misdemeanors, with first-degree misdemeanors providing the most serious consequences. The classes and consequences of misdemeanors in Ohio are as follows:

  • First Degree: Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Second Degree: Punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $750 in fines.
  • Third Degree: Punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
  • Fourth Degree: Punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of as much as $250.
  • Minor Misdemeanors: No jail time, but a fine of up to $150.

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Examples of Misdemeanor Crimes

Some types of misdemeanor crimes that individuals can be charged with in Cleveland include:

  • Assault, which can be a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Domestic violence. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this charge can range anywhere from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a felony. Generally, a domestic violence charge is only considered a misdemeanor if it involves threats. If the case involves physical harm to another person, it is usually upgraded to a felony.
  • Charges relating to the cultivation of marijuana or illegal drug possession. These charges can also vary widely in range, depending on the circumstances of your case.
  • Petty theft (shoplifting), which is a misdemeanor with the severity level dependent on the value of the items stolen. If more than $5,000 worth of items were taken, the charge becomes a felony.
  • Disorderly conduct.
  • Abuse of a corpse.
  • Possession of a fake, suspended, or revoked concealed carry permit.
  • Obstructing official business.
  • Reckless driving, which can also be a felony depending on whether the reckless driving caused injury to others.
  • Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Criminal mischief.
  • Criminal trespass.

How Can a Cleveland Misdemeanor Lawyer Help You?

Being charged with a misdemeanor can have major consequences on your life, including difficulty securing employment, entering college, renting a house, and purchasing firearms. Additionally, conviction of the crime will result in financial penalties and can even result in jail time. The severity level of the misdemeanor you have been charged with and the sentence you receive upon conviction is also dependent on whether you have been charged with similar crimes in the past. A Cleveland misdemeanor lawyer will provide services focused on eliminating or minimizing the impacts that a conviction will cause for you. Some of these services include:

  • A thorough review of how you were investigated and charged. If your attorney discovers that an improper procedure was used during the course of the government’s investigation of you, there is an opportunity to seek dismissal of the case or suppression of evidence that was improperly obtained.
  • The ability to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor in order to reduce the charge against you and minimize the penalties you face. While individuals are permitted to enter into a plea bargain with a prosecutor without the assistance of legal counsel, this is not recommended as the prosecutor is not concerned with your best interests but in resolving the case and ensuring a conviction. An experienced attorney can protect your rights and best interests during this process.
  • The collection and organization of evidence and witness testimony that can be used to defend you against the accusations you face.
  • Protect your right to answer to the charges if you are an immigrant without the risk of deportation.

Don’t let the conviction of a minor crime cause major disruptions in your life. For more information about misdemeanors in Ohio, contact a Cleveland misdemeanor lawyer for a free case evaluation.

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Our Cleveland Misdemeanor Lawyer Has the Answers You Need

Having a criminal background can cause your life to be negatively impacted in several ways. A conviction of a misdemeanor can impact your freedom as well as your finances, through incarceration, required probation, and court fines and fees. 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 Misdemeanor 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.

Cleveland, Ohio Misdemeanor Attorney Near You

Facing misdemeanor 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 misdemeanor lawyer can help get you through this.

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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

Does a misdemeanor ruin your life?

No, a misdemeanor does not ruin your life. That being said, there are still penalties and repercussions involved when someone is convicted of a misdemeanor. In order to have the best possible outcome in your misdemeanor case, you should reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible once charges have been filed against you.

What is the most common misdemeanor?

Some of the most common misdemeanors in Ohio include:

Do employers ask about misdemeanors?

Whether or not an employer will ask about misdemeanors depends on the employer and the role they are hiring for. Some employers only look at felonies, but some might look at misdemeanors as well. Generally, minor misdemeanors (particularly anything non-violent), will not have much of an impact on job prospects, but more serious misdemeanors could.

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