Criminal Sentencing In Cincinnati
Unfortunately, not all criminal cases end with an acquittal or dismissal of the charges. Sometimes pleading guilty makes sense, and other times the judge or jury simply will not agree that you are innocent of what you’ve been charged with. When this happens, you will face sentencing. Sentencing can go one of two ways; the judge can give you your sentence immediately following your trial or can schedule a pre-sentence investigation and sentencing hearing.
Ohio Criminal Sentencing Lawyer
If you have been convicted of a crime in Ohio, you will likely have questions about your sentencing options. Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm has handled thousands of criminal cases and is here to help you throughout the sentencing process. We have extensive experience in Cincinnati and throughout Hamilton County.
Brian Joslyn, our founder, is knowledgeable about all facets of Cincinnati criminal law and will do whatever it takes to help you avoid the most serious sentences and secure the most favorable outcome. Call Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 or contact us online.
- Types Of Punishment In Ohio
- Penalties And Sentencing
- Ohio Sentencing Discretion
- Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm – Criminal Defense Attorneys In Ohio
While a prison term is one of the more serious punishments that you can receive if convicted of a crime in Ohio, there are several other punishments you may face. The following is a description of all the various forms of punishment you may face if convicted of a crime in Ohio:
Restitution – typically reserved for financial crimes, this form of punishment will require you to pay money to the victim. If you cannot afford to pay the entire balance, a payment arrangement may be worked out.
Probation – This punishment is usually done in cases where a prison term is not appropriate. With probation, you are released into the community with certain restrictions and conditions. If you violate those conditions, then you may be sent to prison.
Fines – A payment made to the court as a punishment for misdemeanors and some felonies. Fines may also be ordered in addition to jail time.
Jail Or Prison – A sentence for a period of confinement inside a jail or prison. Except for minor misdemeanors, incarceration is possible for any felony and some misdemeanors.
Death Penalty – the most severe punishment, where the government will end the life of a person convicted of a capital offense.
The law in Ohio says that penalties and sentences will depend on what type of crime has been committed. The court will also consider your criminal history when sentencing, typically giving more severe sentences to repeat offenders. Crimes involving violence or a weapon also generally receive a harsher sentence than non-violent offenses.
In Ohio, you will serve the sentence that the judge announces in court. The judge will give a sentence of the actual amount of time you will serve, minus any time you have already spent incarcerated. The sentencing judge has complete control over your sentence instead of a Parole Board. The Parole Board cannot release you from prison if the sentencing judge has given you a non-life sentence. However, a judge can reduce your sentence through what is known as a judicial release or allow you to enter a boot camp or treatment program.
Notably, for every day that you complete in an official school, treatment program, or training program, you can earn credit toward shortening your sentence.
The judge assigned to your case may have what is known as discretion in handing down your sentence. This means that based on a variety of factors, the judge may give you a lesser or more severe punishment. While the law in Ohio allows for some discretion, there are still guidelines that the judge must follow. If the judge in your felony case decides that prison may be an appropriate sentence, then the following factors must be considered:
- Did you possess a gun?
- Was the crime for hire or connected to organized crime?
- Was the crime a sex offense?
- Do you have a prior criminal record?
- Was the crime committed while you were under indictment or under community control?
- Did you cause physical harm to any person?
- Did the crime involve an attempted or actual threat of harm with a weapon?
The law in Ohio says that if any of the above factors are present, the judge must issue a sentence of incarceration, assuming that you are not otherwise eligible for community sanctions. If none of the factors are present, the judge must give a sentence of community sanctions.
Still, it is important to understand that the judge may use the Ohio Criminal Code guidelines or simply ignore them. But a judge who does not use the guidelines must provide reasons for that decision.
For misdemeanors, the judge must also look at factors like those for felonies, including the risk of repeat offenses, the threat to public safety, your character and reputation, statements from the victim, whether rehabilitation would be effective, and your ability to pay a fine if imposed. Just as in felony cases, a judge who deviates from the guidelines must give specific reasons.
If the judge in your case orders a pre-sentence investigation, the judge considers the findings of that investigation when handing down the sentence. This investigation usually will include information about your background, criminal history, substance abuse issues, employment record, financial picture, family status, and mental state. In addition, the investigation may also include a statement from the victim on how the crime has impacted them.
After reviewing the information provided in the pre-sentence investigation, the judge will impose a sentence. Judges often follow the report’s recommendation but are not bound to it. Generally, violent repeat offenders will receive a harsher sentence than first-time, non-violent offenders.
If you are sentenced to incarceration and have not previously served a prison term, then the judge must impose a minimum term that you must serve. The judge has the power to issuer a longer sentence, but it must fall in line with sentencing guidelines.
Not all cases end with a sentence of incarceration. Alternatives to a prison term are probation or community control. A judge can place you on community control if you have already served a part of your sentence. Judicial release may also be available to you for certain offenses. Probation and community control are not an option if you serve a mandatory prison sentence.
Many crimes do not require mandatory prison terms. For non-mandatory crimes, the judge’s discretion may include:
- If you are mentally ill or have a substance abuse problem – ordering commitment or treatment.
- Ordering fines or monthly installment payments.
- Ordering your sentence to be completed at a local jail on nights or weekends.
A criminal conviction is a serious matter. Depending on the crime, you may lose your freedom, livelihood, and good name. That is why it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you secure the most favorable outcome. Contact Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm today for a free consultation by calling (513) 399-6289 or by contacting us online.