Criminal Defense

What To Expect in Traffic Court

Q.: I received a traffic citation. What will happen when I appear in court?

A.: Your first appearance in court is called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge will ask if you have received a copy of the ticket and understand the charge(s) against you. The judge also will also explain the potential penalties for each offense and then ask what plea you wish to enter. You do not need to have an attorney appear with you at this stage, but you may have your attorney with you if you wish.

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Understanding How Criminal Records Are Sealed (Expunged)

Q.: What, exactly, is sealing of the records, or expungement?

A.: First-time offenders convicted of certain types of crimes can have their records “expunged” or sealed after their cases have been resolved. This means that these prior convictions are no longer in the public record. Records are expunged so that those who have not previously been in trouble with the law and have paid their debt for particular crimes can go on with their lives as though the convictions had never occurred.

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Understand Risks When Drinking and Driving

Q.: My husband and I just shared a bottle of wine at dinner.  Should we drive home or call a cab?

A.: Do not drive if you believe your ability to drive is impaired, no matter how little alcohol you may have consumed.  Also, remember that, while your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may well be under the legal limit after having shared a bottle of wine at dinner, driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is risky.  Many factors affect the BAC, and, in the absence of accurate chemical testing, your best guess may prove incorrect.

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Understand OVI Laws Before Taking the Wheel

Q.: Can I be convicted of OVI if I am not actually driving my car?

A.: If you are under the influence and the prosecution can prove that you “operated” your car and were not simply in “physical control” of your car, you can be convicted of OVI (Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated) even if you are not actually observed driving the car.

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"SYO" Sentences Combine Juvenile and Adult Penalties for Serious Crimes

Q.:  What is an “SYO” sentence and who is eligible?

A.: An “SYO,” or “serious youthful offender” sentence combines a sentence typically given to a juvenile offender with a sentence typically given to an adult.  A child’s eligibility for an SYO sentence depends on a variety of factors:  age of the child; degree and type of offense; previous commitment to an Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) facility; and use of a firearm. An SYO sentence cannot be given to any child under 10 years of age.

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