Murder Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati

There are no stakes higher than when you are charged with murder. You or your loved one could receive the death penalty or life imprisonment. A murder charge demands a strong legal defense that is designed to minimize or avoid the harsh penalties of a lengthy prison term, hefty fines, and loss of certain rights. 

A murder defense lawyer in Cincinnati can pursue the most favorable outcome. The legal team at Joslyn Law Firm carefully examines your case, including the events that led to your arrest. In some cases, we can make a plea bargain to have your charges reduced or dropped. 

Head attorney Brian Joslyn is an award-winning lawyer with dedication, experience, and compassion, and he and his firm will bring these characteristics to every case they represent.

Awards from Super Lawyers (Rising Stars Selectee) and memberships to organizations like The National Trial Lawyers Association and local Chambers of Commerce demonstrate Brian’s devotion to seeking justice for you and others in the community.

Our firm has a proven record of winning challenging cases. While past results do not guarantee future outcomes, Joslyn Law Firm is committed to doing all we can to protect and preserve your life and liberty.

Our legal victories include:

  • Not guilty verdict on charges of murder, attempted murder, and felonious assault for a devoted husband who was protecting his wife from an armed stranger
  • Not guilty by reason of insanity verdict for a mentally impaired young man charged with two counts of felonious assault
  • Felonious assault charges reduced to misdemeanor assault for an individual charged with attacking his roommate while intoxicated 

If you or a loved one is facing a murder charge, our legal team can help. We can build a defense that is designed to put you in the best possible position to reduce the impact of these charges on you, your family, and your future.

Lawyer for Murder Defense in Cincinnati, OH

A murder charge can have devastating effects on you and your loved ones. Our firm’s founder, attorney Brian Joslyn, understands from a personal perspective how important it is to fight for your freedom and liberty. A criminal record can stop you from pursuing certain career choices, and you could lose your right to own a firearm or vote. 

Joslyn Law Firm is committed to helping clients who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time or are the victim of police misconduct. The first and most important step in your defense is protecting your legal rights from the beginning.

We recommend that you do not say anything to the police until you have an attorney with you. Our firm has handled 20,000 cases for clients in similar situations as yours. We understand the complexities surrounding murder charges.

If you or a loved one is convicted of murder: 

  • You could be imprisoned for a long time or face Ohio’s death penalty
  • You could pay steep fines
  • You could lose valuable educational and career opportunities
  • You could lose certain rights, including the right to vote and to own a firearm
  • You would be labeled as a former offender, which may prevent you from certain jobs or from receiving some forms of financial or educational assistance

Your life and liberty are at stake. We know what to do to help you. Call Joslyn Law Firm today for a free case evaluation at (614) 444-1900.

Cincinnati Murder Defense Information Center


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Murder Definitions in Ohio

Murder (or homicide) is broadly defined by the Legal Information Institute (LII) as a person who unlawfully takes the life of another person. Ohio equates the unlawful termination of a pregnancy as taking the life of another person.

There are several classifications of murder charges, including the following: 

  • Aggravated murder – Also known as first-degree murder, this is the most serious charge for homicide under the Ohio Revised Code § 2903.01 because it involves “prior calculation and design” and other aggravating circumstances.
  • Felony murder – This second-degree felony is defined by the Ohio Revised Code § 2903.02 as a murder that is committed while engaging in another crime, such as armed robbery.
  • Voluntary manslaughter – According to the Ohio Revised Code § 2903.03, voluntary manslaughter is a first-degree murder that is attributed to a “sudden fit of rage” or passion.
  • Involuntary manslaughter – Under Ohio Revised Code § 2903.04, involuntary manslaughter (also called criminally negligent homicide) occurs when someone is committing a crime and takes the life of another person without intent or design.
  • Reckless homicide – Reckless homicide is a third-degree felony under the Ohio Revised Code § 2903.041 and occurs when someone ignores the possibility and risk that their action may result in the death of another human being.
  • Negligent homicide – According to the Ohio Revised Code § 2903.05, an individual can be charged with this first-degree misdemeanor with failing to take preventative measures for a firearm (such as leaving a gun cabinet unlocked and causing a child’s accidental death).
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide – This crime has many subcategories under Ohio Revised Code § 2903.06, depending on the circumstances that caused the death of another person while an individual was operating a car or other motorized apparatus.

Our Firm Is Ready to Help 

We know that sometimes circumstances can get out of control. Our lawyers also have seen how overzealous policing or mishandled investigations can harm innocent people.

A murder defense lawyer with Joslyn Law Firm will keep you informed at each stage of your case. Let us provide you with exceptional legal services that can help you and your loved ones through these difficult circumstances.


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Penalties for Murder in Cincinnati 

Ohio has mandatory sentencing guidelines for degrees and classifications of murder. The following are the maximum penalties for seven murder charges:

  • Aggravated (first-degree) murder – Death penalty, life imprisonment, up to $25,000 fine
  • Felony murder – Indefinite prison term ranging from 15 years to life; $15,000 maximum fine, suspension of driver’s license (depending on circumstances)
  • Voluntary manslaughter - Up to 11 years imprisonment; up to $20,000 fine
  • Involuntary manslaughter – If the crime or attempted crime that resulted in murder is a felony, the maximum penalty is 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; if the crime is a misdemeanor, five years maximum imprisonment and up to $10,000 fine
  • Reckless homicide – Up to five years in prison and $10,000 maximum fine
  • Negligent homicide – Up to six months in jail and $1,000 maximum fine
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide - If charged as a first-degree felony, the maximum prison sentence of 11 years and up to $20,000 fine; if charged as a second-degree felony, the maximum prison sentence of eight years and $15,000 maximum fine; suspension of driving privileges for up to 3 years

Factors That Influence Penalties

The court has some flexibility for sentencing, fines, and other punitive actions. There are other factors that can influence penalties for murder charges, including:

  • Previously clean record
  • Age of the defendant
  • Standing in the community
  • Willingness to make restitution

A murder defense lawyer with our firm will do everything possible to reduce the impact of a prison sentence, fines, and other potential consequences.


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Evidence in Cincinnati Murder Cases

Through the process of discovery, both the prosecution and the defense share information about evidence and witnesses that they will present to the court. Evidence may not be used at trial unless it is admissible according to legal standards.

There are four categories of evidence that may be used in a murder case: 

  • Real evidence (physical evidence) – This may include the murder weapon, fingerprints, clothing, narcotics, fibers, damaged vehicles, DNA, and other tangible evidence.
  • Testimonial evidence – Both sides may present testimony from police officers, subject matter experts, eyewitnesses, and other individuals who have facts to share about the case.
  • Demonstrative evidence – This type of evidence includes crime scene photos and/or videos, charts, illustrations, and diagrams.
  • Documentary evidence – This type of evidence may include bank records, emails, letters, phone records, and texts. 

We Will Question All Evidence

Our defense team carefully examines the other side’s evidence. A murder defense attorney understands that even the most serious of charges may be reduced or dropped if evidence is obtained illegally or is inadmissible. 

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, admissible evidence cannot:

  • Be presented simply for shock value
  • Create unfair prejudice
  • Be obtained from an illegal search or seizure

We can produce evidence of our own, but another effective defense strategy is to suppress as much of the prosecution’s evidence as possible. 


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Defenses to Cincinnati Murder Charges

A murder defense lawyer in Cincinnati has several tactics to build a strong defense. Some of our effective defense strategies include:

  • Fighting for your life (self-defense)
  • Protecting another person
  • Protecting your home or property
  • Illegally obtained evidence
  • Improper arrest
  • Improper chain of custody for evidence
  • Unreliable witnesses
  • False accusation
  • Wrongly identified
  • Lack of evidence
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Cognitive impairment from medication or a medical condition

Each case is different. We create a custom defense designed to highlight our case strengths and professionally discredit the prosecution. 

We Conduct a Thorough Investigation

Our firm can conduct a thorough investigation to give you the best possible defense. 

During this process, we may:

  • Gather additional evidence
  • Scrutinize the evidence shared in discovery
  • Secure and interview witnesses who can speak to both your character and in support of an alibi

Our lawyers often team with subject matter experts to give the court a different perspective on evidence, testimony, and documentation. This may cast enough doubt on the prosecution’s evidence or testimony to overcome their burden of proof. 

We may enlist help from:

  • Crime scene reconstruction experts
  • Mental health and medical professionals
  • Forensic specialists
  • Fingerprint experts
  • Handwriting analysts
  • Ballistic specialists
  • Information technology experts

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Ohio Murder Defense Resources

You may find these resources helpful if you or a loved one is facing a murder charge. Joslyn Law Firm can take care of the legal details, but you may have additional needs for yourself or your family.

  • Hamilton County Job and Family Services – You can find access to local, state, and federal programs designed to help those in need, including public assistance, child support, childcare, medical assistance, food assistance, adult protection, and workforce development programs.
  • Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board – This community agency provides services including mental counseling for adults, teens, and children; alcohol and drug abuse detoxification programs; addiction treatment and counseling; crisis and emergency services; and peer support systems.
  • Office of Criminal Justice Services – This state agency oversees Ohio law enforcement agencies, policies, research, and statistics and has links to additional social and justice resources at the state and federal level.
  • Family Violence Prevention Center – Murder charges can create a highly-charged home environment, and the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Center offers proactive support, access to safe houses, and intervention programs. 

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Cincinnati Murder Defense News

Here are relevant news articles that may be of interest to you: 

  • Defense Asks for Suppression of Some Evidence in Montalvo Murder Case– A circuit court judge may suppress evidence in an Osceola County, Florida murder case, according to Spectrum News 13. Murder defense lawyers for Christopher Otero-Rivera and Angel Rivera told Judge Jon Morgan that police officers exceeded their authority when collecting evidence at the Rivera home.
  • Defense Asks Judge to Throw Out Conspiracy Charge Against Murder Suspect– The defense attorney for a 22-year-old Nebraska man accused of conspiracy in a deadly robbery argued that the prosecution has insufficient evidence, according to The Hastings Tribune. Daniel B. Harden is facing charges of conspiracy by calling to arrange a drug deal, but records show that he did not have a cell phone at the time.
  • Dreion Dearing Case Underway: A Deliberate Murder or Self-Defense? – Criminal defense attorneys argue that a Colorado man accused of murdering a deputy sheriff acted in self-defense, according to KDVR-FOX31 News. Dreion Dearing, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, but his lawyers claim that the victim feared for his life when the deputy shot first.

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FAQs for Murder Charges in Cincinnati

Q: What are the penalties for murder?

A: Penalties for a murder charge depend on the type of offense and the unique circumstances of your case. There are also minimum penalties that must be imposed according to state and federal laws. Aggravated murder, or murder in the first-degree, is punishable by death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and a fine of up to $25,000. A lesser charge, such as negligent homicide, may carry a sentence of six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Q: Is it possible to have a murder charge reduced or dismissed?

A: Yes, it is possible to have a murder charge reduced or dismissed. A murder defense lawyer will look for mistakes or holes in the prosecution’s case, such as illegally obtained evidence. We will examine the circumstances of your arrest to have your charges dismissed, such as police officers failing to read you your Miranda rights.

Q: Will I have to serve time for a murder charge?

A: Imprisonment, fines, and suspension of your driving and other privileges are possible, depending on the specific charges against you. An attorney with Joslyn Law Firm may be able to negotiate (plea bargain) with the prosecution to reduce or eliminate imprisonment. 

Q: What is the difference between aggravated murder and murder, and which is more serious?

A: A person charged with aggravated murder deliberately and consciously planned the crime with the sole purpose of killing another human being. If a person kills another individual while committing a felony crime, such as armed robbery, rape, or kidnapping, he or she may be charged with murder in the second-degree. Aggravated murder is a capital crime in Ohio, meaning that you could be sentenced to death by the state. Felony murder is not typically elevated to the status of a capital crime. 

Q: What are some defenses that could apply to a murder charge?

A: Each murder case is different. There are often opportunities for a skilled murder defense lawyer in Cincinnati to cast reasonable doubt, which may result in a lesser charge or a not-guilty verdict. These opportunities for defense include unlawful search and seizure, false accusations, self-defense, and misidentification.

Q: What should I do if I am arrested for murder?

A: You should take advantage of your right to remain silent during police questioning and to have an attorney by your side. No matter how friendly the officer may appear or how casual the environment, everything you say could be used by the prosecution. It is in your best interest to politely refuse to answer any questions until your lawyer arrives. 


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Connect with a Murder Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati Today

A murder defense lawyer in Cincinnati can be by your side throughout your case. Your legal rights will be protected, and we will vigorously pursue a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. If your case goes to trial, you have the peace of mind that one of the most recognized criminal defense law firms in Ohio is your legal advocate.

If you or a loved one have been charged with murder, there is no time to waste. Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a free case evaluation with a member of our team.


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