Every Person Accused Of An Offense Is Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, And The Burden Of Proof For All Elements Of The Offense Is On The Prosecution
--Section 2901.05(A) of the Ohio Revised Code
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are reading this, you, or someone you care about, have been contacted by the police or another member of law enforcement regarding a criminal investigation that seems to be focused on you or the person you care about. Likewise, it is possible that you are reading this because you have been informed that a criminal charge has already been filed against you. In either case you should be very concerned, however, your concern should take into consideration the criminal process and the rights you have as an accused or a suspect under investigation.
The Police Want to Talk to You
You just received notification that a member of law enforcement would like to speak with you about a criminal matter. You may have received a telephone call, or a business card left at your residence or your place of employment, from a detective or another member of law enforcement requesting information. If you believe in any way that your requested cooperation may implicate you in a crime you are well advised to speak with a criminal defense attorney before responding to the request. At this stage of the investigation law enforcement does not have to share with you the knowledge it possesses and puts you at a great disadvantage when answering questions. If the police inform you that you are a suspect in a crime and request that you answer questions, or give a statement, it is always advisable to inform the officer that you would be happy to speak with them after speaking with your criminal defense attorney. Chances are, if you are a suspect in a crime and law enforcement has enough evidence to charge you, they will do so with or without your statement or cooperation. If charged, you will have an opportunity to give your statement, or tell your side of the story, later and after you obtain all of the information that they possess. You are entitled to this information which your criminal defense attorney should request through the mechanism of discovery. If law enforcement does not have enough evidence to charge you with a crime your statement or cooperation may very well provide the additional evidence needed to officially charge you. As a suspect, or an accused, you have the right to remain silent whether you are informed of that right or not. Many citizens are of the belief that law enforcement have a duty to inform an accused of "their right to remain silent" before questioning, however, those "rights", commonly referred to as Miranda Warnings, only apply in certain situations where the questioning or interrogation occurs when the suspect or accused is in custody. If the decision is made to officially charge you with a crime you should always exercise your right to remain silent and seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you.
Misdemeanors and Felonies
Crimes are usually categorized as misdemeanors or felonies. In the State of Ohio, a misdemeanor, with the exception of a minor misdemeanor, can result in a jail sentence of up to 6 months if convicted of a first degree misdemeanor. A felony can result in a prison sentence. A misdemeanor is charged by the filing of a complaint, whereas, a felony can be charged initially by the filing of a complaint, a bill of information or an indictment. If charged by a complaint, a felony will afford an accused an opportunity to have a preliminary hearing in a municipal court. At a preliminary hearing the prosecution must prove that probable cause exists that a crime has been committed and that the accused committed the crime. If probable cause exists that the accused committed a felony the case will be transferred to the Common Pleas Court of the county with jurisdiction and the matter will be presented to the grand jury. If the judge at a preliminary hearing does not find probable cause that the accused committed a felony but decides that probable cause exists that a misdemeanor was committed, the matter may stay with the municipal court and will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Of course, if no probable cause exists as to either a misdemeanor or a felony the accused should be discharged. The prosecution may elect to charge a felony by presenting the case directly to the grand jury of the county having jurisdiction and requesting a true bill on the charge thereby bypassing the right to a preliminary hearing.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony the prosecution must prove you guilty of each and every essential element of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If incarceration in a jail or prison facility is a possible sentence, the accused has a right to have his or her case decided by a jury, or he or she may elect to have the case decided by a judge. In either case the burden on the prosecution is the same.
Instead of going to trial, or sometimes during trial, it may be advisable to enter into a plea negotiation or plea bargain depending on the facts and circumstances. Usually plea bargains are entered into when the prosecution perceives some weakness in its ability to obtain a conviction and the accused perceives some weakness in his or her ability to obtain an acquittal or a not guilty verdict. The result is a compromise where the prosecution obtains a conviction on a lessor charge and the accused avoids a conviction of a more serious charge and penalty.
WHY YOU NEED A criminal defense ATTORNEY
It should go without saying that a criminal conviction can be a life changing event. The government, which brought the charge against you, has attorneys and law enforcement personal employed to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. Unless you are an attorney, they know the law and the rules better than you. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney when accused of a crime.
At W. Randall Rock, Attorney at Law, we know how the criminal justice system works. For over 33 years we have successfully defended the rights of the accused in almost every court in the greater Dayton, Ohio area and throughout the State of Ohio. We are proud of our accomplishments and understand that the pursuit of justice can never be achieved without a vigorous defense.
If you are accused of a crime CONTACT US NOW and schedule a FREE INITIAL CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION to discuss your case. Our FEES ARE REASONABLE AND AGREEABLE PAYMENT PLANS CAN BE ARRANGED.
Call us at (937)224-7625(ROCK), or at (937)855-7628 or complete the form below to receive a FREE INITIAL and CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION.
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