SKILLED MISDEMEANOR DEFENSE LAWYERS
MISDEMEANOR DEFENSE ATTORNEY SERVING CLIENTS THROUGHOUT THE TOLEDO, OHIO AREA
Facing a misdemeanor charge in Toledo can be a frustrating and anxiety-inducing process. Under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 29, misdemeanor crimes include both criminal charges and traffic offenses. In other words, even if you are pulled over for speeding or for running a red light, you may be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Even though you may not face jail time if convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the immediate fines you may be required to pay can be steep. In addition, there are repercussions to a misdemeanor conviction that can alter your life, even years later.
Do you recall recently filling out a job application or learning that a current employer wants to run a background check on you in order to grant you a promotion? A background
check is likely to provide information about a misdemeanor offense on your record. In addition, a misdemeanor conviction can prevent you from obtaining federal student loans, as well as numerous forms of government assistance. In some cases, you may not be eligible for certain healthcare programs as a result of a misdemeanor conviction. And if you are an immigrant living in Toledo, what might seem like a very minor crime can lead to deportation. According to an article in Slate Magazine, more than 10 million misdemeanor cases are filed in the United States every year, and many of them result in convictions.
There are many defenses to misdemeanor charges, and an experienced Toledo criminal defense lawyer can begin discussing strategies with you today.
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TYPES OF MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES IN TOLEDO, OH
While misdemeanor charges often are thought of as more minor offenses in comparison with felonies, a misdemeanor conviction still can have a substantial impact on your life. What kinds of crimes are classified as misdemeanor offenses? Under Ohio law, some of the following offenses are commonly charged misdemeanors:
- Petty theft, which is defined as theft involving items with a value of less than $500;
- Trespassing, or knowingly entering onto the property of another person without permission;
- Assault, which can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the specific facts of the situation;
- Disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor charge that can occur in a number of situations, including if you got into a physical fight with another person, incited another person to violence, and even created an unreasonable level of noise or behaved in an offense manner in public;
- Damaging property, which can include vandalism and arson;
- Drug possession or possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a “minor drug possession offense” under Ohio law when charged as a misdemeanor (whether drug possession is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends largely on the amount of the substance in the defendant’s possession); and
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), which is a misdemeanor offense if you have a blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent or are driving while under the influence of a controlled substance.
Generally speaking, several of the crimes listed above can also be classified as felony offenses if there are aggravating factors or other issues that could result in a more severe charge. In addition to the crimes listed above, traffic offenses in Ohio actually are classified as misdemeanors, as well. Traffic offense convictions include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to yield;
- Turn signal violations;
- Marked lane violations;
- Equipment violations; and
- Reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
OTHER PRACTICE AREA CASES
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PENALTIES FOR MISDEMEANORS IN TOLEDO
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If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, what kinds of penalties are you facing? Ohio law classifies misdemeanor offenses according to degree, with a 1st degree offense being the most severe, and a “minor” misdemeanor offense being the least severe. The latter is typically the misdemeanor charge in traffic offense cases. The following explain the ways in which offenses are classified and the possible penalties:
- 1st Degree Misdemeanor: up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000;
- 2nd Degree Misdemeanor: up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $750;
- 3rd Degree Misdemeanor: up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500;
- 4th Degree Misdemeanor: up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $250; and
- Minor Misdemeanor: fines of up to $150 (and no jail time).
Depending on the type of misdemeanor offense, you can also be subject to a driver’s license suspension, required treatment programs, community service work, and sometimes probation. For example, if you are convicted of a DUI or driving on a suspended license, you can lose your driver’s license and you may have to serve a mandatory jail sentence.
Since all misdemeanor charges involve a financial penalty, and many involve the possibility of jail time, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Toledo criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. One of the dedicated advocates at our firm can examine your case closely and build a defense strategy that is tailored specifically to your case.
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EXPUNGING A MINOR MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION
If you have already been convicted of a minor misdemeanor offense, you may be wondering whether you can have the conviction expunged. Given that even minor misdemeanor convictions can seriously impact your ability to get a job, to be approved for loans, and to be eligible for certain
benefits, it is important to consider your options for expunging the conviction. Under Ohio Revised Code 2953.31, it may be possible to have your record of conviction sealed. A dedicated criminal defense attorney can explore your record and can help to determine whether you may be an eligible to have your conviction expunged.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED MISDEMEANOR DEFENSE LAWYER IN TOLEDO
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense or have questions about how to expunge a minor misdemeanor conviction, an experienced misdemeanor defense lawyer in Toledo can assist with your case today. At our firm, we work closely with our clients and develop personalized defense strategies that take into account the particular facts involved in your case. Contact Groth & Associates today to learn more about how we can assist you in building a strong defense.