MICHAEL P. MALONEY
Attorney at Law

Offenses

There are four levels of misdemeanor criminal offenses in Ohio, plus a category referred to as minor misdemeanor, which is usually not considered a criminal offense.  As with traffic offenses, misdemeanors can have serious results.  A misdemeanor of the first degree carries a possible six months in jail.  Additional consequences can include, for example, a driver’s license suspension for certain misdemeanor drug offenses.   It is well advised to talk to an attorney with experience in this area when confronted with a misdemeanor offense.

There are five levels of felonies in Ohio.  A person can be sentenced up to eleven years in prison for a felony of the first degree, and longer if there is a firearm involved.  Even the lowest level felony, a felony of the fifth degree, can result in a person being sentenced up to twelve months in prison. In felony cases, the person charged simply must consult legal counsel. Early in the case, important events occur such as the setting of bail.  A lawyer can help to obtain a reasonable bail.  At another stage, pretrial discovery and motion practice take place with regard to the evidence in the case.  “Discovery” means receiving information from the prosecutor about the case.  “Motion practice” means formal requests to the court such as legal challenges to the evidence.  These are usually made before trial by way of formal written legal motions to the court.  A person charged with a crime needs a lawyer to analyze whether there are grounds for any such motions or challenges.
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