Cincinnati Criminal Process
Being charged with a crime is always a serious matter that cannot be ignored. If you have pending criminal charges, then it is recommended that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Going through the Ohio criminal process without a lawyer can leave you lost, confused, and facing significant jail time. Hiring a lawyer will give you the best chance at securing a favorable outcome, and it can also give you peace of mind in knowing that someone is on your side fighting for your rights under the law. Brian Joslyn and the attorneys at Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm will take the time to make sure that you understand the criminal process and represent your interests inside and outside of the courtroom. Call Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm today for a consultation at (513) 399-6289.
- Cincinnati Criminal Booking
- Arraignment In Cincinnati
- Plea Bargaining
- Cincinnati Preliminary Hearing
- Pre-Trial Hearing
- The Criminal Trial
- Cincinnati Appeals Process
If you are arrested in Ohio, the police will likely take you to the station to be processed. This means that you will likely have to submit to fingerprinting, supplying identification, and being asked to provide routine information, like your name and date of birth. Any personal belongings on you may also be filed away and cataloged.
Typically, after you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you will then need to make what is known as a first appearance, also known as an arraignment. Your arraignment will likely occur in the courtroom in front of a judge. You will be made aware of the charges against you and told some of your rights under the law. You will also be allowed to enter your plea. Your plea is how you intend on responding to the charges against you. You can respond with:
- Guilty: You admit that you committed the crime that you have been charged with.
- Not Guilty: You deny the charges against you.
- No Contest: You do not admit or deny the charges but agree not to contest them.
At your arraignment, the judge may also determine if bail is necessary and, if so, decide what the conditions of your bail will be.
When you have been charged with a crime, the police and the prosecutor have evidence that they intend to use against you if your case goes to trial. The law requires that the prosecutor give your attorney that evidence for review to effectively defend against the charges. This evidence typically includes witness statements, police interviews, and physical evidence.
The prosecutor may try to get you to enter into a plea bargain to resolve criminal charges. A plea bargain is an agreement between you and the prosecutor on how your criminal charges will be handled. Just because you enter into a plea agreement with the prosecutor does not mean it will be made official by the judge. While the judge will agree with the plea bargain most of the time, there is no guarantee that will happen. You should always consult with your lawyer on whether you should take a plea bargain, and weigh the pros and cons.
Typically, you will be presented with two different types of plea bargains. A charge plea bargain is when the more serious charges will be dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser charge. A sentence bargain is when you plead guilty to a charge in exchange for the prosecutor recommending a specific sentence to the judge. Again, in both types of plea bargains, the ultimate decision to accept the deal and make it official is up to the judge. While it’s uncommon, judges do have the power to reject your agreement.
Both you and the prosecutor are bound to the terms of the agreement if it is approved. This means that if the prosecutor doesn’t follow through on the agreement, then you may be able to withdraw your plea of not guilty and take the case to trial. Similarly, if you do not uphold your end of the bargain, the prosecutor can terminate the agreement and re-file the dismissed charges. Most criminal cases are resolved through a plea bargain. While admitting to a crime may not be the preferred outcome, it may be best to quickly resolve the matter and save the time and expense of going to trial. Additionally, a plea bargain can help you avoid more serious charges on your record, which can help maintain your employment and result in less public exposure.
If you have been charged with a crime in Ohio, it is likely either a felony or misdemeanor. If it is a felony, you have the right to a preliminary hearing. This hearing is done in front of a judge, where the prosecutor must put on evidence to show that there is enough probable cause for the case to go to trial. Your lawyer will have the chance to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. If the prosecutor cannot show through the evidence presented that the case should head for trial, then the case against you may be dismissed. Still, even if your case is held for trial, the preliminary hearing can give your lawyer a preview of how the prosecution intends to prove their case against you, allowing your lawyer to develop an effective defense.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor and have a preliminary hearing, your case will likely stay in the municipal court if the judge finds probable cause exists. For felonies headed to trial, they will be heard at the common pleas court.
Before your case heads to trial, your lawyer and the prosecutor will have an opportunity to meet and discuss potential issues surrounding the case and file motions. A motion is a request made by your lawyer to the judge to do something in your case. Usually, a motion is filed to exclude certain evidence or ask the judge to dismiss a charge not supported by the evidence. During the pre-trial hearing, both your lawyer and the prosecutor will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their cases to come to a resolution. This usually involves a plea agreement. If a plea agreement is reached at the pre-trial hearing, the next step will be sentencing. In most felonies, the probation department will conduct a pre-sentence examination, and a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. In a misdemeanor case, if there is a plea agreement, the judge will usually issue a sentence right then and there.
The laws of the U.S. and Ohio say that your trial must be held within a certain number of days after you have been charged. These laws are in place to avoid long delays that can prevent a successful defense, limit the uncertainty and stress surrounding your case, and prevent you from sitting in jail for an extended period while you await your trial.
In Ohio, the number of days that a trial must be held after charges are filed depends on the type of criminal charge you face.
- Minor misdemeanors or trials in Mayor’s court – 30 days
- Misdemeanors that could result in 60 days in jail – 45 days
- Preliminary hearings in felonies – 15 days
- Felony trials – 270 days
Under Ohio law, each day you spend in jail equals three days in prison. As a result, if you cannot make bail on a felony case, you must be given a preliminary hearing within five days of your arrest, and you must be given a trial within 90 days.
If you have been convicted of a criminal offense, that may not be the end of the road. Under the law, you have a right to appeal a sentence or conviction that you believe was improper. Still, you should know that appeals are not often successful, and they may result in an increased sentence. But if you believe you are innocent or that the court made an error, a successful appeal could get your conviction reversed and get you a new trial. When your freedom and reputation are on the line, do not hesitate to contact Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm. Get a free consultation today by calling (513) 399-6289.