March 2021 - Groth & Associates
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March 2021

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What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor in Ohio?

By | Criminal Defense, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Ohio generally divides criminal violations into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Of the two, felonies are more serious and typically garner a defendant more time behind bars as well as larger fines. Felonies also carry a more serious loss of civil rights, which can be particularly difficult for defendants to bear.

Both felonies and misdemeanors are serious, and we encourage anyone suspected of a crime to quickly reach out to a Toledo criminal defense attorney. You do not want to delay pulling together a defense.

Maximum Punishments for Misdemeanors

Ohio classifies misdemeanors by degree, with First Degree being the most serious and Fourth Degree and minor misdemeanors being the least. You can find the maximum punishment in Ohio Revised Code  §§ 2929.24 and 2929.28.  To summarize:

  • Minor misdemeanor: No jail time and a maximum $150 fine
  • Fourth-degree misdemeanor: maximum of 30 days in jail and $250 fine
  • Third-degree misdemeanor: maximum 60 days in jail and $500 fine
  • Second-degree misdemeanor: maximum 90 days in jail and $750 fine
  • First-degree misdemeanor: maximum 180 days in jail and $1,000 fine

Felony Sentencing in Ohio

Because felonies are more serious, they will result in more serious penalties. Ohio has revised the penalties, which go into effect in April 2021:

  • Fifth-degree felony: 6-12 months in prison and maximum $2,500 fine
  • Fourth-degree felony: 6-18 months in prison and maximum $5,000 fine
  • Third-degree felony: 9-60 months in prison and maximum $10,000 fine
  • Second-degree felony: minimum of 2 years in prison and maximum $15,000 fine
  • First-degree felony: minimum of 3 years in prison and maximum of $20,000 fine

You will need to check the charges brought against you to determine what penalties you are facing. Remember that murder is a separate crime with its own penalties not discussed in this article.

A word of caution: maximums are just that. Most defendants will not receive the maximum unless they have a lengthy criminal history or there were aggravating circumstances present.

A Felon’s Loss of Civil Rights

Unfortunately, felons will also lose important civil rights once convicted. These are listed in Ohio Revised Code § 2961.01(A). For example, felons will lose the ability to vote while incarcerated, though they are restored on release.

Convicted felons also cannot serve on a jury or hold public office. Both are generally restored when the defendant completes his or her sentences; however, the disqualification from public office might be permanent for offenses that involved official misconduct.

Most significantly, a felon will lose firearm rights for certain violence and drug convictions. A court can restore these when the defendant completes his or her sentence. Otherwise, being caught with a firearm when your rights have not been restored will result in additional criminal penalties.

Speak with an Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Groth & Associates has the experience you need in a criminal defense attorney. Too many people quickly accept the prosecutor’s plea deal without meeting with an attorney. We can review your charges and discuss the most likely resolution to your case. Call us today.

how long does a divorce take in Toledo, Ohio

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Ohio?

By | Divorce, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

This is a common question. The short answer is, “It takes longer to get divorced than it does to get married.” This might seem unfair, but there are so many issues that a divorce must resolve that Ohio does not offer “quick” divorces. Instead, the amount of time will depend on whether you have children or not and whether you can reach an agreement with your spouse on the key issues involved.

Generally, you are looking at 3-4 months at a minimum. For longer, contested divorces, you could be waiting a couple of years before you finally receive your divorce decree. Consult a Toledo divorce lawyer for more information.

Is Dissolution Faster?

Ohio allows couples to seek dissolution or divorce. With dissolution, the couple has negotiated an agreement on all key issues, such as child custody, child support, division of marital property, and spousal support. But that doesn’t necessarily mean dissolution is faster than divorce.

For one thing, you might need to negotiate. The longer you have been married, the more property you will have, for example. Couples might passionately disagree about the terms of the divorce. So although the dissolution process can be quick once you file, the groundwork can be lengthy.

There Is No Separation Requirement

Some states require that divorce couples must live apart for a certain amount of time before they can divorce. Ohio does not have this requirement. True, you can seek a no-fault divorce if you have lived apart for at least a year. But there are other grounds for divorce you can seek.

Have You Met the Residency Requirements?

If you just moved to Ohio, you’ll need to wait before you can get divorced. Ohio courts do not have the power to hear a divorce case (called “jurisdiction”) unless you have lived in the state for six months. There is also a county-level residency requirement: you or your spouse must have lived for at least 90 days in the county where you file for divorce.

As you can see, Ohio does not let people jet into the state and seek a quick divorce. Instead, you need to have laid down some roots first.

Pregnancy Will Slow a Divorce

Judges do not want to finalize a divorce decree until a child is born so that they can deal with child support and other issues. You can file, but you will need to wait for the child’s birth before completing the divorce process.

Why Divorce Takes So Long

We are not joking that your divorce could take up to two years, especially if you are fighting tooth and nail for custody of the kids. There are many steps to a custody fight, including psychological evaluations and pre-trial discovery. These steps take quite a bit of time. Because so much is at stake, we encourage our clients to be deliberate about the process.

Contact Groth & Associates Today

We can discuss ways to speed up your divorce but protecting your rights must be at the forefront. To begin the discussion, please call us or send us an online message.

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