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A Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You With Your Criminal Case

At Jay Perez Law, we handle the criminal defense of various crimes for local, national, state, and even international clients. A Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney understands criminal law and can help if you’ve been arrested.

Drug Charges: Federal and State

State and federal drug laws prohibit the possession, manufacture, and sale of controlled substances, including but not limited to marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin.

Sometimes, whether or not a drug is considered legal or illegal depends on its usage. Medical marijuana, for example, can be used to treat cancer-causing nausea. However, the unprescribed use is thought to pose a danger to individuals and society and has been classified as illegal. 

The primary difference between state and federal drug crimes is the severity of punishment and the jurisdiction. Federal drug charges can commonly carry more strict punishments and longer prison sentences. On the other hand, state drug charges for possession without the intent to distribute can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors and can carry lighter sentences.

Traffic Matters in Columbus

Most traffic violations, also called moving violations, result in fines and points. A fine is the money you will be required to pay for your violation and generally increases according to the severity of the traffic offense.  Points have a longer-lasting effect; they are marked against your driving record, which the state tracks by your driver’s license number. Like fines, the number of points you get for each driving offense depends on its seriousness. If you accumulate 12 points within a 12 month period you can lose your driver’s license.

If you face penalties due to a traffic violation in Ohio, contact a Columbus criminal defense attorney at Jay Perez Law for immediate assistance.

OVI (also known as DUI)

Driving under the influence, or “DUI,” is a criminal offense in the State of Ohio. In most states, this crime is referred to as either DUI or DWI. In Ohio, if you operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you will be charged with an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired).

Under Ohio law, there are three ways you may be charged with an OVI:

  1. Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater (with even lower levels for certain drivers),
  2. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance, alcohol, or combination of the two, such that it has an adverse effect on your driving ability, and
  3. Operating a vehicle with a certain concentration of specified controlled substances in your body.

Depending on the amount of a substance in your system and the number of previous OVIs you’ve had, the penalties for OVI in Ohio can be quite severe, including substantial fines and substantial jail time. 

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is more complicated than other areas of criminal law. Accusations are often based on hearsay or various interpretations of the facts. Ohio law recognizes various types of domestic violence, such as recklessly or knowingly inflicting physical harm on a victim. However, Ohio law also recognizes the threat of violence as a form of domestic violence. The charges may be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending mainly on your specific circumstances, your prior criminal history, and the injuries, if any.  Penalties upon conviction depend largely on whether it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.

Assault and Battery

In Ohio, criminal law includes the offenses of both “assault” and “battery.” An assault is causing or attempting to cause harm to another person or an unborn child, while a battery is to intentionally or negligently cause offensive physical contact or bodily injury.

The crime of assault is further broken down into degrees: “simple” assault and “aggravated” assault. Simple and negligent assault are misdemeanor crimes, while aggravated assault can be a felony.

Robbery

To be charged with robbery in Ohio, you must attempt to commit a theft, commit a theft, or commit theft as well as flee the scene, along with any one of the following:

  • Possess a deadly weapon,
  • Cause harm, threaten or attempt to cause harm on another person, or
  • Use or threaten to use force immediately against the victim.

Homicide 

The unlawful taking of another’s life can fall into several categories.  Penalties can vary dramatically depending on the specific set of circumstances surrounding the death.  Various charges include:

  • Aggravated murder
  • Murder
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
  • Reckless homicide
  • Negligent homicide
  • Vehicular homicide aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter.

Sex Crimes

There are a number of sex offenses in Ohio. A number of factors contribute to the classification of the sex offense and the potential penalties.  If you are convicted of a sex offense, you may be required to register as a sex offender. Sex offenders fall into a tier system.  

Tier I: You must register every year for 15 years, or 10 years, if you were a minor when convicted. Community notification is not required.

Tier II: You must register every 180 days for 25 years, or 20 years, if you were a minor when convicted. Community notification is not required.

Tier III: You must register every 90 days for life, and community notification is required.

Examples of Tier I sex offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual imposition
  • Importuning
  • Voyeurism
  • Promoting prostitution
  • Pandering obscenity

Examples of Tier II sex offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Compelling prostitution
  • Pandering obscenity involving a minor or impaired person
  • Pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor or impaired person
  • Gross sexual imposition

Examples of Tier III sex offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Rape
  • Sexual battery
  • Gross sexual imposition

Theft

In Ohio, a person commits theft when they deprive the owner of the property or service by obtaining or exerting control over the property or service by the following means:

  • Without the consent of the owner or a person authorized to give consent,
  • Beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent, or
  • By deception, threat, or intimidation.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

In federal court, The United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines apply to those convicted of felonies and Class A misdemeanors. The guidelines determine sentences based on two factors: the conduct associated with the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. There are 43 offense levels and six criminal history categories. There are four sentencing Zones that determine incarceration length.  The offense level and the criminal history category will determine which  Zone your matter will fall in. There can be modifications to this which are called Adjustments, and further during sentencing, there can be Departures, meaning deviations upward or downward from the guidelines depending on a number of circumstances.  Therefore, it is very important that you have a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate through this system.  

Ohio Sentencing Guidelines

Ohio classifies Misdemeanors into 5 levels: M1, M2, M3, M4, and MM.  M1 is the most serious and MM (Minor misdemeanor) is the least serious. Felony offenses call into 5 levels as well: F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5. First-degree felonies are the most serious category, while fifth-degree felonies are the least serious. With both misdemeanors and felonies, there are numerous factors that can determine a sentence.  

Felony Level    Prison Time   Maximum Fine

F1

3-11 years

$20,000

F2

2-8 years

$15,000

F3

12-60 months** or

9-36 months

$10,000

F4

6-18 months

$5,000

F5

6-12 months

$2,500

**Longer sentence range applies to aggravated vehicular homicide and assaults, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, sex with a minor, and robbery and burglary with two or more separate aggravated or non-aggravated robberies or burglaries as well as certain F-3 drug offenses

Misdemeanor Level                  Jail Time    Maximum Fine

M1

Up to 180 days

$1,000

M2

Up to 90 days

$750

M3

Up to 60 days

$500

M4

Up to 30 days

$250

MM

None

$150

The sentencing guidelines in Ohio are quite complex and subject to many different factors; therefore, if you are facing sentencing, let an experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney at Jay Perez Law help. They understand the law and will help you minimize your sentence to the extent possible.

Contact A Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney Today for Help if You Are Facing a Criminal Charge

Make a Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney at Jay Perez Law your first call if you’ve been arrested. We understand that it can be an extremely stressful time; however, it is imperative that you have quality representation and a strong advocate from the inception of your matter in order to put you in a position to get the best possible result for your matter.  

Contact us to schedule your consultation.