Skip to Content

At Jay Perez Law, our team of Columbus criminal defense lawyers handle the defense of various crimes for local, national, state, and even international clients, especially those in the District Court of the Southern District of Ohio. Drawing from decades of experience in Federal and State criminal law, our law office has absolute confidence that we can help if you’ve been arrested. When faced with criminal charges in Central Ohio, it’s vital you find an attorney you can trust. And our track record of results speaks for itself. Learn more about Jay Perez Law and then give us a call to schedule your consultation.

All our criminal defense lawyers are Columbus-based and passionate about offering strong legal representation to the people of Ohio. We take pride in offering you exceptional legal representation at an affordable rate. 

Jay Perez Law is available to take your phone call or appointment 24/7 and we have a same-day policy for returning messages. Schedule a consultation, and a skilled legal representative will get back to you.

Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer Specializations & Locations

While Jay Perez Law has practice areas that span immigration law, domestic matters and appeals, our Columbus criminal defense attorneys offer deep specializations in a range of aspects of state and federal criminal law, including the following:

  • Drug Charge Attorney, specializing in both Columbus, Ohio law and federal law.
  • Traffic Lawyer, offering legal representation for traffic violations in Ohio.
  • Columbus OVI and DUI Lawyer, helping with driving offenses related to controlled substances.
  • Domestic violence attorney, drawing from over two decades’ experience in domestic and family law cases.
  • A former police officer and a Columbus criminal defense attorney with over 25 years of experience, Jay Perez is also uniquely qualified to offer strong legal defense for allegations of assault and battery, robbery, homicide, sex crimes, and theft. 

You can learn more about each of these specializations below.

Federal & Columbus, Ohio Drug Charge Lawyer

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. 

However, criminal drug law is complex and nuanced. A Columbus drug charge attorney will work with a client to gather critical information pertinent to a case, including context to establish usage and jurisdiction. 

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, its 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.

By working with a Jay Perez Columbus drug charge attorney, you gain access to the expertise you need to build as strong a defense case as possible.

Columbus Traffic Criminal Defense Lawyer

Most traffic violations, also called moving violations, result in fines and points. Your fine 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 24 month period you can lose your driver’s license.

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

Columbus DUI or OVI Lawyer

Driving under the influence, or “DUI,” is a criminal offense in the State of Ohio. State law relating to driving a vehicle while impaired is differently formulated from that of legislation you’ll encounter in most other states. When faced with Ohio’s Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) charges, it’s important to engage a Columbus DUI lawyer who understands how OVI charges apply and who possesses a solid grounding in Ohio vehicular law generally.

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. As a local practice with years of criminal law experience, Jay Perez Law can equip your DUI defense with a DUI lawyer in Columbus who is deeply familiar with local legislation and its implications for your case.

Columbus Domestic Violence Attorney

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.

Attorney Jay Perez has over 20 years of experience handling domestic and family law cases in court. A Columbus criminal defense lawyer with this breadth of knowledge gives you a critical inside edge when dealing with domestic violence defense cases.

Columbus Assault & Battery Criminal Defense Lawyer

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 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.

Assault and battery law is nuanced. Negligence, in particular, is a difficult concept to legally defend. If you’re confronted with assault and battery charges in Ohio and feel unsure of whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or a felony, our FAQ can give you useful insight on whether you should seek the representation of a criminal defense attorney. Generally speaking, the best rule of thumb is to promptly seek legal advice if you find yourself facing these charges.

Robbery & Theft Legal Representation in Columbus

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 to another person, or
  • Use or threaten to use force immediately against the victim.

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.

For both robbery and theft, Jay Perez Law will work with you to establish the unique particulars of your case and will seek to minimize your sentence with vigorous and seasoned legal representation.

Columbus Homicide Criminal Defense Attorney

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.

The stakes are high for any criminal case involving a death. Seeking the representation of a skilled lawyer is a crucial early step in defending yourself against homicide charges. A unique strength that Jay Perez Law can bring to bear in these cases is Perez’s years of work in law enforcement. He and his team can offer unique insights and perspectives on how the system works. 

Columbus Sex Crimes Attorney

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 3 tier system.  

Examples of Tier 1 sex offenses include but are not limited to sexual imposition, importuning, voyeurism, promoting prostitution, and pandering obscenity. For tier 1 offenses, you must register every year for 15 years, or 10 years, if you were a minor when convicted. Community notification is not required.

Examples of Tier 2 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, and gross sexual imposition. For tier 2 offenses, you must register every 180 days for 25 years, or 20 years, if you were a minor when convicted. Community notification is not required.

Examples of Tier 3 sex offenses include but are not limited to rape, sexual battery, and gross sexual imposition. For tier 3 offenses, you must register every 90 days for life, and community notification is required.

Sentencing Guidelines


When it comes to criminal cases in Columbus, 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. 

Federal law is multifaceted, and being found guilty under federal law typically involves strict punishments and long prison terms. If you’re facing federal charges, it’s critical that you hire a criminal defense lawyer with considerable experience in navigating the federal system.


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


3-11 years



2-8 years



12-60 months** or

9-36 months



6-18 months



6-12 months


**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


Up to 180 days



Up to 90 days



Up to 60 days



Up to 30 days





The sentencing guidelines in Ohio are complex and subject to many different factors. If you are facing any sentence in the Ohio legal system, a Columbus criminal defense attorney at Jay Perez Law has the requisite experience, passion, and insight to help you minimize your sentence to the greatest extent possible.

A Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

If you’ve been arrested, make sure your first call is to reach out to Jay Perez Law. It’s imperative that you gain quality representation and a strong legal advocate as early as possible. Acting without delay places you in the best position to reach a favorable outcome.

Attorney Jay Perez has years of experience handling criminal defense cases and the positive case results to prove his efficacy. Contact us 24/7 to schedule your consultation.