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Criminal Defense

charged with a crime in Toledo

What Does it Mean to Be Charged with a Crime?

By | Criminal Defense, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

When a person is charged with a crime in Ohio, they are no longer merely a suspect. A suspect is someone the government “thinks” might have committed a crime and could be the subject of an investigation. Crimes often have a long list of suspects, which the police try to winnow down using detective work.

But when the government “charges” someone with a crime, they are formally accusing them of being a criminal. Criminal charges are very serious, and the accused must obtain competent legal help, otherwise, they could very easily find themselves in jail. Many criminal cases are won or lost in the days following an arrest, so contact Groth & Associates today.

Being Arrested and Held

Although the government can arrest a suspect, they cannot hold them indefinitely. Instead, they typically need to present evidence to a judge in a preliminary hearing. The prosecutor can question witnesses and present physical evidence. The defendant can als0 cross-examine witnesses and present their own if they wish. The judge must find that there is enough evidence to justify holding the defendant.

After the hearing, the judge has many options:

  •         Hold the defendant to appear in court pending a grand jury indictment on the originally filed charges
  •         Find probable cause on a different charge supported by the evidence and hold the defendant to appear in court
  •         Find a probable cause to support a misdemeanor charge
  •         Order that the defendant be discharged from custody

Formal Indictment

Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution states that a person cannot stand trial for a felony unless they are indicted by a grand jury. This jury is composed of members of the community who receive evidence from the prosecutor. They deliberate and then decide whether to issue the indictment

Lower-level crimes might be charged by information or complaint and do not require an indictment. If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, for example, the prosecutor does not necessarily need a grand jury to indict you.

Charging documents have many technical requirements, and some complaints or indictments are defective. A seasoned criminal defense attorney should always review a charging document to check whether the case can be dismissed due to a defect.

Defending Yourself

As soon as you are charged with a crime, you must begin building a defense. There is no confusion about the fact that the state believes you are guilty, and they will dedicate considerable resources to getting a conviction. Now is not the time to try and “talk your way” out of a charge, so there is no incentive to answer the police officer’s questions.

When the charges are serious, you might be held in jail awaiting trial or offered bail. It can be hard for a defendant to build a defense when their movement is restricted. This is just another reason to reach out to a criminal defense attorney.

At Groth & Associates, we have represented men and women charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. You can contact us to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our lawyers.

expungement in Toledo

How to File for Expungement in Ohio

By | Criminal Defense, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

A criminal conviction can pop up at the most inconvenient time, such as when applying to the job of your dreams or when seeking an apartment. Many people are shocked that they need to disclose criminal records that are years, possibly decades, old.

Fortunately, many people can expunge their criminal histories in Ohio. This article explains how, but we encourage you to reach out to an Ohio expungement attorney for a consultation.

Check if You Can Expunge Your Conviction

Not all crimes are eligible. For example, you cannot expunge a conviction for sexual imposition, rape, sexual battery, public indecency, and other sex crimes. Felonies in the first-, second-, and third-degree cannot be expunged, either. Speak with an attorney if you have questions.

Satisfy the Waiting Period

Ohio law sets a waiting period before a person can apply for expungement. The amount of time will depend on whether you were convicted and the specific crime.

The clock does not begin to run until you have received a termination of the case or a final discharge. For example, you will need to complete all probation, pay all fines, and satisfy any restitution order.

Here are some sample waiting periods:

  • Unclassified misdemeanor: 1 year
  • Misdemeanor: 1 year from termination of the case
  • A single felony conviction: 3 years

A person can also expunge non-convictions, such as dismissals or acquittals, and there is no waiting period.

Obtain a Copy of Your Conviction

Visit the Clerk of Court where you were sentenced. Ask for a certified copy of “Judgment Order of Conviction.” You will have to pay a small fee. You cannot request expungement with a certified judgment.

Draft an Application

You need to draft an application asking the judge to expunge your record. Your attorney knows how to do this, but if you are representing yourself you should look for printed forms to complete. In Ohio, public libraries have fill-in-the-blank forms you can use. There are two forms you need:

  • Application for Sealing of a Criminal Record Pursuant to ORC §2953.32
  • Judgment Entry for Sealing

The “Application” will request information such as the charges and case numbers for the convictions you hope to expunge. You will also need the date of convictions and the date of termination.

The “Judgment Entry” is something the judge will sign at the hearing. However, you must provide the requested information in the appropriate lines.

Assemble the Packet

Attach the “Judgment Order of Conviction” to the “Application for Sealing of a Criminal Record.” You need 3 copies of this combined document. This is what you will file with the Clerk of Court.

Key: You are not filing the Judgment Entry for Sealing. Instead, you take that to the court hearing with you for the judge.

File at the Clerk of Court

Visit the Clerk of Court to file. The clerk should stamp all your copies and give one back to you. This is for your records.

You must pay a fee to file. Call ahead and ask the clerk for the amount and acceptable methods of payment. The amount of the fee can change over time. If you can’t afford the fee, you should complete a “Poverty Affidavit” at the clerk’s office.

Schedule a Hearing

The clerk should schedule a hearing date before the judge. Remember, you need the judge to sign off on your request only after he or she is convinced that you will not commit another crime. One advantage of working with an attorney is that we can discuss what facts to highlight that show you have been rehabilitated.

Need Assistance? Speak with an Ohio Expungement Attorney

Expungement is not a slam dunk, and many people are denied. Contact a lawyer at Groth & Associates today to discuss your case. Our consultations are free.

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