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Robust, Diligent Defense When You Are Facing State And Local Criminal Charges

A criminal charge can derail your life. It can halt your professional career, stop your advanced education and affect your ability to parent, get a job and find housing. Too many people hope that the courts will have mercy on them. This is rarely, if ever, the case. The purpose and goal of both law enforcement and the prosecution are to get a guilty charge. I can help. I have significant experience with Ohio criminal cases. As the principal of my own firm, The Stavroff Law Firm in Columbus, I offer one-on-one criminal defense counsel.

A Primer On The State Court System

Ohio’s trial courts are the court of common pleas, which hears felony cases and civil actions when over $15,000 is at issue, and the municipal court and county court, which hear mostly misdemeanor cases and civil actions when $15,000 or less is at issue.

Every county in Ohio has its own court of common pleas. All counties have municipal courts or a county court that covers their respective jurisdictional borders. Unlike federal district courts, which preside over cases involving federal criminal laws, Ohio’s state and local courts preside over cases involving Ohio state criminal laws and local ordinances.

Types Of Cases I Represent

I represent people charged with criminal offenses in central Ohio’s state courts. I’ve defended people charged with a range of offenses, including but not limited to:

  • OVI / DUI: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Offenses of violence: burglary, assault, robbery, and domestic violence
  • Theft and fraud offenses: shoplifting, workers’ compensation fraud, Medicaid and Medicare fraud, insurance fraud
  • Drug offenses: trafficking, possession, cultivation, false prescription documents
  • Weapons offenses: carrying concealed weapon, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, having a weapon under disability
  • Traffic tickets: speeding, accidents, hit skips
  • Underage alcohol offenses
  • Sex offenses: rape, sexual battery, soliciting, prostitution

Felony Vs. Misdemeanor

Under Ohio law, a felony is a crime that is punishable but at least six months’ incarceration in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Penalties for felony offenses vary based on the specific offense and could include mandatory penalties (prison time and fines) or discretionary penalties (for example, probation instead of prison time).

In contrast to a felony, a misdemeanor is a crime punishable by not more than six months’ incarceration at a county jail. However, in some circumstances, the jail sentence can increase to 18 months.

Potential Penalties And Mandatory Lock-Up

Certain state and local criminal offenses carry mandatory prison or jail time. Other offenses do not have mandatory sentencing penalties, leaving it in the discretion of the trial judge to impose penalties that “protect the public from future crime by the offender and others, to punish the offender, and to promote the effective rehabilitation of the offender using the minimum sanctions that the court determines accomplish those purposes without imposing an unnecessary burden on state or local government resources.”

What Makes A Crime A Felony Or Misdemeanor?

It depends. For example, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (known as OVI in Ohio and more commonly known as DUI or driving under the influence), is generally a misdemeanor offense. However, an OVI can become a felony based on the number of prior OVI convictions. Additionally, theft and fraud-based crimes are driven by the dollar amount of loss. If the loss was $1,000 or less, it’s generally a misdemeanor; if more than $1,000, it’s generally a felony.

Expungement And Restoration Of Firearm Rights

In addition to represent people and businesses charged with Ohio state criminal offenses, I also handle sealing of records (sometimes known as expungement), restoration of firearm rights, and certificates for qualifications of employment.

Whether you’re facing a traffic ticket or serious felony offense, or trying to seal your criminal record, it is critical to have an attorney by your side every step of the way. I leverage both my state and federal criminal defense practice and extensive experience and knowledge of the central Ohio criminal justice system to make sure you’re treated fairly.

The Defense Representation You Need Is Here

The Ohio courts system can be an absolute nightmare for the uninitiated. It’s important to understand the scope of the charges and your options. I can help. Call me, attorney Jeffrey Stavroff, to arrange a consultation: 614-964-5390. I can also be reached at my Columbus office via my confidential online inquiry form.