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