Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your misdemeanor offense case.
What is a Misdemeanor?
The state of Ohio classifies misdemeanor offenses in five distinct categories: 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, 4th degree and minor misdemeanor. 1st degree misdemeanors are considered the most serious and minor misdemeanors the least.
Misdemeanor offenses can range from speeding tickets and traffic offenses to assault and drug offenses. Many feel that a misdemeanor charge is not a serious criminal matter. However, this is not true. These offenses carry real jail time and real fines are levied. Moreover, lengthy (and expensive) terms of probation can be imposed.
Misdemeanor Court Process
A person that is charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense is called a defendant. After a person is charged with a crime, an arraignment is held to allow the defendant to make an initial pleading. The following pleas are available to the criminal misdemeanor defendant:
- Not Guilty – The defendant disputes the facts of the case and the charge itself. The court will set the case for a subsequent hearing, called a pre-trial.
- Guilty – The judge must explain the offense and the facts, and after doing so, will impose a sentence befitting the offense.
- No Contest – The judge may make a finding of guilt from the circumstances of the case, but no admission of guilty or fact is made. This plea cannot be used at a later civil proceeding against the defendant.
After the arraignment, a pre-trial hearing will be set. This hearing allows the prosecutor and defense attorney to discuss the facts of the case and the evidence that may be presented. Plea agreements are negotiated and, if the defendant wishes to accept the plea agreement, a plea is entered at the pre-trial hearing and a sentence is imposed. If the defendant does not wish to enter into a plea agreement, a trial will be scheduled.
At trial, both the prosecutor and defense attorney will present testimony and evidence supporting their theories of the case, and the judge or jury will make a finding of guilty or not guilty. If a finding of guilty is made, a sentence will be imposed on the defendant. If the defendant is found not guilty, the defendant will be free to go.
Ohio Misdemeanor Classifications
1st degree misdemeanors are offenses that carry a maximum 6 months in jail and $1000 fine. Examples include:
2nd degree misdemeanors are offenses that carry a maximum 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Examples include:
3rd degree misdemeanors are offenses that carry a maximum 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Examples include:
- Negligent Assault
4th degree misdemeanors are offenses that carry a maximum 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. Examples include:
Minor misdemeanors are offenses that carry a maximum $150 fine and no jail time. Examples include:
- Marijuana Possession (under 100 grams)
- Marijuana Drug Paraphernalia
- Disorderly Conduct
- Certain Traffic Violations (e.g., speeding).
In addition to a fine other penalties can be imposed, such as points on your license (for traffic violations) and a suspended license (for certain drug offenses).
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Misdemeanor Attorney
Being charged with a misdemeanor in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio is a serious criminal matter. If you are charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, contact Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 and speak with Attorney David Johnson. Attorney Johnson will discuss your case, investigate the prosecution’s evidence, and aggressively defend you and your rights.