Cleveland Felony Defense Lawyer
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Ohio divides criminal charges into categories that designate their severity and how they should be punished. Less serious offenses are misdemeanors. Ohio separates misdemeanors into four degrees, each with its own maximum allowable jail time and fines. Felonies are reserved for more significant crimes with harsher penalties and consequences, like state prison sentences and lasting damage to your criminal record.
If you have been charged with a felony in Cleveland or its surrounding areas, a felony defense lawyer at The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC can help. As an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Daniel Margolis will thoroughly review your case, evaluate your situation, and determine the appropriate next steps. This includes implementing a strong defense strategy and fighting for the best possible result.
If you are facing felony charges in Cleveland, call The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC today at (216) 533-9533 for a no-cost and confidential consultation.
Ohio Felony Offenses
Felony crimes are aggressively pursued under Ohio law. In virtually any scenario, a highly skilled felony defense lawyer is your best option if you’re charged with offenses like:
Arson and aggravated arson are outlined in Chapters 2909.01 – 2909.03 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). Arson involving property valued at $1,000 or more is typically a fourth or third-degree felony, whereas aggravated arson is a second or first-degree felony, depending on the structure involved and whether anyone was hurt or killed.
Ohio’s drug offenses are laid out in ORC Chapter 2925. Minor offenses like possessing a small amount of marijuana are misdemeanors. However, many drug possession and trafficking crimes can rise to the felony level depending on the circumstances, some with harsh mandatory penalties.
ORC Chapter 2907 defines Ohio’s sex crimes. Due to the violent and sensitive nature of these offenses, very few are misdemeanors. Most sex crimes – including rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and gross sexual imposition are felonies. The penalties for felony sex crimes are long-lasting and unsympathetic, including public sex offender registration.
Many violent crimes under ORC Chapters 2903 (Homicide and Assault), 2905 (Kidnapping and Extortion), and 2919 (Offenses Against the Family) are charged as felonies. Upon conviction, they result in statutory penalties, like mandatory prison time, and collateral consequences.
Many Ohio weapon and firearm crimes, including the improper handling of a gun in a vehicle and improper discharge are listed under ORC Chapter 2923. Depending on the facts, these can be charged as felonies.
The unlawful taking of another’s property or services is outlined in ORC Chapters 2913 (Theft and Fraud) and 2911 (Robbery, Burglary, and Trespass). Theft and fraud charges are often based on the value involved. Some call for misdemeanor charges; however, many are felonies. A felony theft conviction can have a long and damning impact, even if time in custody is avoided.
Penalties for Felony Convictions in Ohio
The most basic punishments for a felony crime are incarceration in state prison and fines. Sometimes, both are utilized. Its level of severity dictates the duration and amount:
- Fifth-degree felony – punishable by between six and 12 months in prison, and a fine up to $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony – punishable by between six and 18 months in prison, and a fine up to $5,000
- Third-degree felony – punishable by between nine months and five years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony – punishable by between two and eight years in prison, and a fine up to $15,000
- First-degree felony – punishable by between three and 11 years in prison, and a fine up to $20,000
- Second-degree murder – punishable by between 15 years and life in prison, with or without the possibility of parole
- First-degree murder – punishable by up to life imprisonment without parole, or the death penalty
In addition to the statutory penalties, new laws in Ohio are making it easier to impose even stricter sentences for felonies involving violence. For example, in March 2019, new guidelines went into effect that allows judges to give broad sentences with minimum and maximum ranges for individuals convicted of violent first or second-degree felonies.
In these cases, your term of imprisonment would be determined by your conduct while incarcerated. Under the new law, an exemplary record while in custody could lead to having your sentence reduced by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Conversely, if you are disorderly while imprisoned, your sentence could be pushed to 150 percent of what was prescribed by the court.
Unfortunately, your incarceration may not end there. While you may expect to move on with your life once you’ve served your sentence, it is usually not that simple. The same law mentioned above also has a provision that allows the state to keep prisoners incarcerated if they will be homeless when released.
Factors That May Influence Sentencing
Factors a judge may consider when determining an appropriate sentencing range include:
- The physical, psychological, and economic harm suffered by the victim
- Whether you held an office or position of trust and the crime related to this position
- Whether your occupation created a duty to prevent such an offense
- Whether your reputation, occupation, or office facilitated the offense
- Whether your relationship with the victim(s) facilitated the offense
- Whether you acted for hire or as part of a criminal organization
- Whether your actions were motivated by discrimination
- Whether an act of domestic violence was committed in the vicinity of children
- Whether you acted under strong provocation
- Whether you expected to cause or not cause physical harm
- Your criminal history
- Any pattern of alcohol or drug abuse, and your acknowledgment of addiction or refusal to seek treatment
- Whether you show genuine remorse
- Whether you are a veteran of the armed forces
Any amount of time in prison can greatly alter your life and make things difficult for you and your family. If you are accused or arrested for any felony in Cuyahoga County, it’s vital that you contact a lawyer with extensive felony experience from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis.
Additional Felony Consequences
Incarceration and fines are not the only penalties if you are convicted of a felony. For instance,
if you are convicted of a felony sex crime, you will be required to register as a sex offender for between 15 years to life.
You could also be required to reside in a community-based correctional facility, an alternative residential facility, or a halfway house for a specific or unspecific duration. You could be placed on house arrest or subjected to electronic monitoring. In place of some prison time, you may be sentenced to a period of probation, during which you will be supervised by a probation officer and the court while adhering to various conditions.
You may have to complete community service, pay restitution to the victims of the crime, complete counseling, complete drug or alcohol rehabilitation, and go through education or work training. You could also lose your professional license.
The Collateral Impact of a Felony Conviction
Being convicted of a felony will also result in various collateral consequences that make it hard to settle into a community, function in society, succeed in your education or career, and avoid re-offending. Some of the ways your life will become more challenging after a felony conviction include:
- Difficulty gaining admission to a college or graduate program
- Difficulty obtaining or ineligibility for certain professional licenses
- Difficulty getting and maintaining a job
- Ineligibility for public office or certain government positions
- Difficulty renting housing
- Loss of certain government assistance such as food stamps or assisted housing
- Loss of or decrease in child custody or visitation
- Immigration issues
- Loss of voting rights during incarceration
- Loss of gun ownership rights
Let a Cleveland Felony Attorney Help You
It can be almost impossible to overcome a felony conviction. It is a haunting mark on anyone’s permanent criminal record and securing gainful employment becomes a serious challenge. To preserve your freedom and to build a future for you and your family, consult a felony defense lawyer immediately. As a former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, attorney Daniel M. Margolis understands how the criminal justice system works and what it takes to aggressively defend against felony charges.
Contact Dan Margolis Today
Attorney Margolis will fiercely defend you at every stage and implement a strategy to minimize any negative consequences of a conviction. Call (216) 533-9533 to learn more about how a felony lawyer can help you or a loved one.