November 3, 2020 | Criminal Defense
Like every other state, Ohio has clear laws and guidelines related to misdemeanors and the penalties a person receives if they are convicted of one. While misdemeanors are certainly less serious than felonies which carry longer prison sentences and heavier fines, if convicted of a misdemeanor you could still face significant jail time and have to pay costly fines.
What Crimes are Misdemeanors in Ohio?
Crimes that constitute a misdemeanor in Ohio include:
- Petty theft (meaning the value of the items stolen does not exceed $500)
- Disorderly Conduct
There are also four different levels of misdemeanors in Ohio. These include:
- Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor: the least serious offense, carrying a maximum of $250 in fines and 30 days in day
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor: maximum penalty is $500 in fines and 60 days in jail
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: punishable by up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: the most serious misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
While it is helpful to know the above information about what constitutes a misdemeanor and what type of punishment you could receive if convicted of one, that knowledge alone isn’t enough to represent you before a judge
Why You Might Want to Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney if Charged with a Misdemeanor
In order to be properly represented and have the best chance of minimizing your charges and sentence, you should consider hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney.
Of course, one option any defendant has is to be represented by a public defender. This option, however, is not ideal as public defenders are notoriously overworked and hardly have the time to effectively represent someone with a misdemeanor charge against them.
If, instead of representing yourself or choosing to have the public defender represent you, you opt for hiring your own criminal defense attorney, you will have several advantages throughout your proceedings.
Those advantages include:
The possibility that your charges will be reduced
A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to analyze the circumstances of your case and identify reasons your charges should be reduced or dropped altogether. Perhaps the arresting officer forgot to read you your rights, or perhaps evidence against you was obtained unlawfully. Either way, your lawyer will know how to file the motions necessary to reduce your charges.
A criminal defense attorney could help reduce the time you spend in jail or the amount of your fine
There are a variety of strategies and ways a lawyer can persuasively argue before a judge that your sentence should be as light as possible. This could include exposing holes in the case against you or even citing your history as a model citizen.
A criminal defense attorney can work to get your record expunged
For many, having a criminal record can hurt them when they apply for jobs or seek housing. Expungement is the legal process of having one’s criminal convictions and record sealed, making it possible to apply for jobs and housing without the baggage of a criminal record. A good criminal defense attorney will know the state-specific rules for expungement and work to get your criminal record sealed.
Hiring the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
One of the keys to any good legal defense is making sure you hire the right criminal defense attorney. You want to find a lawyer who has plenty of experience, has good relationships in the courthouse and with other lawyers, and is ready and willing to devote significant attention to your case.
In Ohio and every other state for that matter, misdemeanors are not something to take lightly. They can carry significant jail time, heavy fines, and disrupt your life for years. Only with the help of quality legal representation can you minimize the negative impact a misdemeanor can have on your life.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202