who investigates federal crimes

The federal government authorizes multiple agencies to investigate several areas of federal crime.  An enormous quantity of federal crimes exist. Thus, one agency would get overwhelmed if it were responsible for investigating every single allegation of wrongdoing. Instead, various agencies head federal crime investigations for offenses within their expertise. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigates allegations of tax fraud, tax evasion, and other violations of federal tax codes. If you tasked a group of IRS federal crime investigators with finding a suspected drug smuggler, they would likely not know where to start.  Even if you are under investigation by a federal agency, you still have the right to effective legal counsel. Federal criminal charges can result in steep fines, a stiff prison sentence, and a significant stint on probation. Contact one of our federal criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA today to represent you. Which Agencies Investigate Federal Crimes? As stated above, several agencies investigate allegations of federal law violations. The various federal agencies hold responsibility for different types of crimes. Federal Bureau of Investigation If you watch law enforcement dramas on television, you have likely heard of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI essentially acts as the police for the federal government, making up the largest federal law enforcement agency. It is tasked with investigating a broad range of crimes, including: Drug trafficking, Financial wrongdoing, Kidnapping, Counterterrorism, and Criminals who cross state lines. Additionally, the FBI frequently assists local law enforcement with their investigations, providing lots of additional resources and expertise when needed. Drug Enforcement Agency The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) carries responsibility for investigating and enforcing federal drug laws. The DEA primarily focuses on large-scale drug operations that transport the products across state lines or deal in international drug trafficking. In many cases, the DEA and FBI partner with local agencies to take down large drug trafficking rings and prevent smuggling. The DEA also seizes and forfeits any assets that are derived from, traceable to, or intended to be used for drug trafficking. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is often not as recognizable as some other federal agencies that make appearances across nighttime television programs. However, ATF is responsible for some of the largest investigations. ATF specializes in the enforcement of federal weapons charges, which can include anything from firearms trafficking to the illegal use and storage of explosives. The ATF also investigates arson, bombings, and acts of terrorism. Securities and Exchange Commission The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates and enforces federal securities laws to protect investors and improve transparency in the investing process. The SEC oversees participants involved in securities markets and brings civil enforcement actions against parties accused of crimes like insider trading, fraud, or false and misleading statements to investors.  Many of the crimes investigated by the SEC are referred to as white collar crimes. In some cases, the FBI assists the SEC in its investigation of white collar criminal activity. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing immigration laws as well as investigating criminal and terrorist activity of foreign nationals that reside within the United States. ICE was formed after 9/11 and is the primary investigative and law enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Fish and Wildlife Service The law enforcement division of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) investigates crimes involving wildlife, regulates wildlife trade, helps conserve wildlife resources, and educates everyday Americans about wildlife protection laws. This is who investigates crimes like poaching or hunting an endangered animal. U.S. Postal Inspection Service The Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) enforces the laws that defend the United States mail system from illegal or dangerous uses. The Postal Inspection Service also supports and protects the USPS and its employees, infrastructure, and customers in whatever ways it can.  Does It Matter Who Investigates Federal Crimes? Regardless of which agency investigates the federal crime, the accused party still has the same constitutional rights. It might seem scarier to go into an interview with an FBI agent as opposed to a local police officer. However, the FBI agent has to respect your constitutional rights the same way. Regardless of whether you are facing allegations at the federal or state level, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Are You the Subject of a Federal Crime Investigation? Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA Today Our team of federal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA has over 50 years of combined experience representing individuals with criminal accusations against them. If you or a loved one is facing allegations that you committed a federal offense, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can. Even in the most challenging cases, we pride ourselves on offering aggressive and courageous advocacy for our clients. Contact our office at 937-222-1515, so we can start reviewing your case.

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miranda rights

If you have watched a television show about police officers or crime, you have likely heard of Miranda rights. However, most people do not know when Miranda rights actually come into play and what happens if law enforcement violates them. Unfortunately, a Miranda rights violation is not an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card. In some situations, a Miranda violation can result in getting pieces of evidence excluded from trial. While this may not result in an automatic dismissal, it can make your defense stronger and leave more room to negotiate a favorable plea agreement.  If you have concerns over whether law enforcement officials violated your Miranda rights, contact a criminal defense lawyer with Gounaris Abboud, LPA as soon as possible. We can review the circumstances of your case and help determine whether your Miranda rights were violated.   What Are Miranda Rights? As the basis for Miranda rights, the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees accused criminal defendants the right to an attorney, and the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right to be free from self-incrimination. Once law enforcement officials have you in custody and plan to interrogate you for suspected criminal misconduct, they must advise you of these rights before they proceed. Most police officers will read the same Miranda rights script: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me? Some versions of this script might vary from place to place. However, they all give you the same information. Slight variations of the same information do not generally constitute a violation of your Miranda rights. When Do Miranda Rights Become Relevant? Some people believe that a police officer must read your Miranda rights as soon as they make contact with you. However, this is not the case. Miranda rights do not come into play until officers conduct an in-custody interrogation.  For example, if you are arrested at the scene of an alleged crime and transported to the police station, the officers do not have to read your Miranda rights during the entirety of that period as long as they do not ask you any questions. If they later interrogate you about the crime you were arrested for, then they are required to read your Miranda rights first. If you make voluntary statements during the transport without prompting, those statements will be used against you in court.  Alternatively, if you voluntarily come in for an interview with police, they likely do not need to read your Miranda rights. However, if you are not free to leave the interview upon your own request, that is considered “in custody” for purposes of Miranda.  How Do I Invoke My Miranda Rights? After authorities read your Miranda rights, you can simply state that you do not wish to speak without an attorney present to invoke your rights. You should explicitly state that you are invoking your rights instead of relying on nonverbal communication like shaking your head. If you verbally state that you want an attorney, the interrogation should stop until you get a chance to consult with one. If you invoke your Miranda rights but later ask to talk to authorities, you can waive your rights. That means anything you say is admissible in court. Sometimes authorities will try to convince you to waive your Miranda rights by feigning a potential deal if you speak to them. Remember, the authorities are not on your side and are interested only in proving your guilt. Consult with an attorney before you waive your Miranda rights. What If My Miranda Rights Are Violated? If you invoke your Miranda rights and a police officer continues to interrogate you, your subsequent confessions are inadmissible in court. However, any prior evidence collected against you can still be used for the prosecution’s case. For example, police officers do not collect a lot of information by means of interrogation from the suspected driver at the time of a DUI arrest. Instead, law enforcement uses tools like breath or blood tests to determine the alcohol concentration in one’s blood. As a result, an excluded confession in a DUI case will likely not result in the dismissal of your case. Alternatively, if the prosecution’s entire case rests on a confession that was obtained in violation of your Miranda rights, that could lead to a case dismissal. The legal issues that surround Miranda rights violations often require an in-depth understanding of criminal defense law. Contact an attorney at Gounaris Abboud, LPA today so we can discuss your case. If You Have Other Questions About Miranda Rights, Contact Gounaris Abboud Today Many people treat Miranda rights violations as a cut-and-dried legal issue that can result in a quick, easy dismissal. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Understanding the nuances of Miranda rights can take years, even decades. Luckily, our team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA has over 50 years of collective experience fighting for those facing criminal accusations. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with aggressive and reliable legal representation.  Do not make the mistake of trying to handle your own legal defense. Our team has decades of experience navigating the criminal justice process. Let us put that experience to work for you. Contact our office today at 937-222-1515, so we can start reviewing your case.

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gun restoration ohio

Have you been convicted of a felony in Ohio and have lost your right to own and carry a firearm?  The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution provides the right of the people to “keep and bear arms.”  However, a felony conviction can take that right away.  If you are interested in restoring your right to own and bear arms, then contact the Ohio criminal defense lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA. Our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have the skills you need to work with you to restore your gun rights.   How Does an Ohio Resident Lose Their Gun Rights? A person can lose their 2nd Amendment right to own and bear arms in a number of ways, including: Committing a felony; If you’re found to be drug or alcohol dependent, or in danger of becoming drug or alcohol dependent;  Determined by a Court to be mentally incompetent; Are subject to certain restraining orders. How Does an Ohio Citizen Restore Their Gun Rights? If you’ve lost your right to own and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment because of a felony conviction, there is a mechanism under Ohio law to restore those rights.  A person must first have completed their sentence, including being discharged from probation, parole and not be under any court supervision; A person must be a “fit subject” for relief by leading a law-abiding life;; A person must NOT have had any new convictions since the conviction that led to the loss of their gun rights. If all of these factors have been met, then it is important to contact the Ohio criminal defense lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA.  Our lawyers are knowledgeable and can assist you in filing the necessary paperwork.  Even after filing, you will have to convince a court that you are not a danger to the community, and you deserve the right to own and bear arms.   Get the Help You Need to Help Restore Your Gun Rights If you have more questions or need help in working to restore your gun rights, call Gounaris Abboud, LPA, right away at 937-222-1515. Our award-winning and reputable criminal defense lawyers can work with you to help restore your 2nd Amendment rights. We have more than 50 years of combined experience, and we enjoy a great professional reputation in the legal community. We’ve won numerous recognitions and awards, including being named in the Ohio Super Lawyers List, making the Top 100 Trial Lawyers List from the National Trial Lawyers Association, and we enjoy an excellent 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO. So don’t hesitate. Contact us today for more information.

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dissolution vs divorce

Divorce is notorious for being a draining and confusing process. In states like Ohio, even differentiating between certain legal terminology becomes confusing to people new to it all. If you are unfamiliar with the topics of divorce and dissolution of marriage, let’s start with understanding the basics.  Dissolution vs Divorce Ohio law establishes that there are two ways to end a marriage: dissolution vs divorce. Many people have grown accustomed to using the terms interchangeably, but they, in fact, describe two very different processes.  So what is a dissolution of marriage? Ohio procedure provides that the dissolution process is for spouses that reach an agreement on all issues concerning the divorce. This is similar to an uncontested divorce in other states.  On the other hand, the process of divorce is an adversarial process. This means you will have to attend some hearings for the judge on your case to make an official decision on disputed issues.  Dissolution of Marriage More and more people seek to end their marriage in the most amicable way possible. Rather than going to court and potentially subjecting themselves to years of litigation, people are opting to come to an agreement on the way their marriage ends. This way, both spouses control the terms of the divorce without much court intervention. Naturally, both parties may have to compromise on certain issues. However, they gain the benefit of saving time and money by not continuously going to court.  Divorce If there are any issues that you and your spouse cannot agree on, you will need to get a divorce rather than a dissolution of marriage. A judge will hear your evidence and decide any issues you cannot agree to.  In general, before granting a divorce, there must be a resolution on: Parental rights and responsibilities, Child support, The division of assets and debts, and Spousal support. Of course, specific issues vary for each family. For example, for families that have young children involved and a large amount of assets, the divorce decree must account for that. Couples that do not have children will likely only need to focus on assets and spousal support. If spouses did not acquire any assets during the marriage, they may not have many assets to divide, but they may still need to decide how they will pay debts they acquired during the marriage. An attorney can evaluate your situation and help you understand the issues that are most significant in your case. “No Fault” Grounds for Divorce Most reasons for granting a divorce center around the fault or wrongdoing of another party. Under Ohio law, there are only two “no-fault” reasons for divorce: The parties habitually reside in separate residences for at least a year; and Incompatibility.  Most couples seek divorce on the no-fault ground of incompatibility. If you seek a dissolution rather than a divorce, you will not have to identify grounds. What to Expect During Divorce After meeting with your attorney a few times, they will begin drafting the complaint for your divorce. Filing the complaint begins the legal process of divorce. Once your attorney initiates the case, prepare yourself to provide them with additional information concerning your finances. The other party has a right to disclosure of your financial information, so your attorney may ask that you prepare some of your documents in line with the other party’s requests. Some of these documents may include financial documents like tax returns or pay stubs. The other party may also request information about property you may own, insurance information, or anything else affecting your financial status.  If both parties reach an agreement at any point that resolves all issues in the case, the divorce action may be converted to a dissolution of marriage. Ohio law provides that this can be done without the requirement of either party expending additional fees for the conversion. If the parties do not come to an agreement, the case eventually makes it to trial.  Temporary Orders Finances can take a huge hit while you are going through the process of divorce. An experienced family law attorney knows that this is one of the most crucial stages in a divorce since the parties are becoming acclimated to their new financial state. Your attorney can help you request temporary orders from the court while the case is pending. Temporary orders typically concern spousal support, child support, and child custody. Our Dayton Divorce Lawyers Can Help We understand the emotional toll that this process puts on your well-being. Our attorneys aim to provide our clients with legal representation that will make this process as stress-free as possible. Gounaris Abboud, LPA has more than 50 years of collective experience providing high-quality legal services to clients. You can rest assured that you will receive the quality representation that your case needs. Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA today at 937-222-1515 for a free evaluation.

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  • July 08, 2022
  • OVI
are breathalyzer tests court admissable ohio

There is a big difference between a standard breathalyzer and a portable breath test—also called a PBT test or portable breathalyzer. Although both tests measure a person’s blood-alcohol level, the results from the PBT test are not admissible in court. The results from a standard breathalyzer may be admissible in court if the prosecutor satisfies the legal requirements. Successfully defending a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) often starts with challenging the validity of the prosecutor’s evidence. Having an OVI defense lawyer who knows the law and understands how to challenge breathalyzer results successfully could mean the difference between a conviction and an opportunity to walk away without penalties. In the Dayton area, Gounaris Abboud, LPA, is the team you can trust to help protect your rights and your future. Admissibility of Breathalyzer Results in Ohio The Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 is the State’s OVI statute. The statute says a person cannot drive a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Notice that this law states that you must be experiencing the effects of alcohol and actually be impaired. However, the “per se” OVI rule states that if you have a .08% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) you are breaking the law—whether you are actually impaired by the alcohol. More specifically, the .08% BAC means that the ethanol in your system meets or exceeds .08 grams in 100 milliliters of blood or .08 grams in 210 liters of breath. It is illegal to drive with that much alcohol in your system, regardless of its impact on your ability to drive. Ohio’s OVI law allows for the analysis of breath, urine, whole blood, blood serum, or plasma to determine if the person is OVI per se.   Admissibility of Breath Tests in Court A prosecutor cannot simply discuss the breathalyzer test in court without meeting the legal requirements to introduce the results into evidence. Unlike in television shows or movies where the characters freely talk about evidence, Ohio law imposes strict rules that the parties must meet before the judge or jury can hear the evidence. In court, the judge calls that process “laying a foundation.”  Foundation for admissibility The prosecutor must lay the proper foundation before the judge allows the breathalyzer results into evidence. The OVI law explicitly states that a breathalyzer test taken within three hours may be admitted into evidence at trial to prove the accused’s blood-alcohol level. Any breath sample taken more than three hours after the arrest is not admissible. Ohio’s OVI law states that the arresting police officer must ask the person under arrest for OVI to take a chemical test. Next, the officer must warn the person about the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test. Finally, the breath test must meet the methods approved by the Ohio Director of Health.  Requirements for test admissibility The director of health publishes the requirements for breathalyzer tests. The requirements include: Setting guidelines for testing methods; Establishing qualifications of individuals authorized to administer the tests; and Certifying each person allowed to administer the breathalyzer. The director also has the authority to revoke any certification issued. Before the prosecution can offer the breathalyzer test results in evidence, the prosecutor has to show that the breathalyzer machine worked adequately and that a certified breath test operator administered the test. Part of this process is proving that the testing officer followed the checklists and recorded the data on the right forms. This process also includes testing the solution in the breathalyzer every seven days.  What Can Happen If the Police Do Not Follow the Breathalyzer Rules? The judge can exclude the breathalyzer test results if the prosecutor fails to lay the proper foundation to admit the test results in evidence. The judge can also exclude the results if the machine was not in working order or the officer who gave the test was not certified.  Without the test results in evidence, you stand a better chance of winning the case.  Are PBT Results Admissible in Ohio Courts? A police officer who pulls you over can administer a portable breath test at the scene. The officer might be able to use that test result to help determine whether probable cause exists to arrest you for OVI. But that’s as far as this evidence can go. Courts in Ohio do not allow PBT evidence at trial. The officer cannot testify to the result or even state that the officer gave you the test. And unlike the refusal of a proper breathalyzer, the refusal to take a PBT cannot be used against you in court.  The reason these tests are inadmissible is that courts have determined that PBT machines are highly inaccurate. Unlike breathalyzer machines, there are no reliable methods for testing a PBT’s accuracy. Additionally, there are no testing or certification requirements for a PBT device, unlike a breathalyzer test installed in a police station.  Fight the Breathalyzer Results In Your Case with Experienced OVI Defense Lawyers  The OVI defense attorneys with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, have tremendous experience fighting OVI cases successfully by challenging the breath test results. Their knowledge, skill, and experience can help you when you need it most. Contact our firm today at 937-222-1515 to speak with an award-winning OVI attorney. We will listen to your needs and help you achieve a successful outcome.

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18 usc 2260

Some Federal criminal laws reach outside the boundaries of the country. Section 2260 of Title 18 of the United States Code is one such law. This statute seeks to punish anyone who exploits or imports media showing sexually explicit depictions of a minor. Exploiting children—especially concerning child pornography production or importation—is a severe crime that usually results in federal prosecutors fighting for harsh punishments. You need a criminal defense attorney who will fight equally hard for you. The criminal defense lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA, are ready to provide aggressive and reliable representation to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.   What Constitutes a Crime Under 18 U.S.C. § 2260? Title 18, section 2260 of the U.S. Code criminalizes various acts committed outside the U.S. involving minors used or depicted in sexually explicit conduct. Section 2260 has two sections that describe acts prohibited by the statute. The first discusses the crime of using a minor, and the second involves using visual depictions. Use of a Minor Section 2260(a) makes it a crime to commit certain acts outside the U.S. with the intent to have a minor engage in sexually explicit acts. The thrust of 2260(a) relates to using, persuading, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit acts with the intent to produce a visual recording or a live production. Similarly, this section criminalizes the transport of a minor with the intent to have them participate in a sexually explicit act that will be recorded or transmitted live. However, no crime exists for using a minor outside the country unless you intend to import or transmit the depictions into the U.S. Use of Visual Depiction Section 2260(b) outlaws importing sexually explicit visual depictions into this country. According to 2260(b), a person located outside the U.S. who either ships or possesses with the intent to ship a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct has committed a crime. Under subsection (b), however, there is no crime unless the visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Additionally, there is no crime unless the person shipping the depiction intends to import it into the U.S.  Penalties Under 18 U.S.C. § 2206 The potential penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 2206 are stiff. However, the penalties vary between 2260(a) and (b). A violation of 2260(a) carries a minimum prison sentence of 15 years, according to 18 U.S.C. § 2251. The maximum sentence is 30 years. The minimum penalty increases to 25 years with a maximum of 50 years if the person has a prior conviction under this statute or similar law. A third conviction could result in a life sentence. The law also indicates that a person could receive the death penalty if a person died during the commission of the crime.  The minimum penalty for a violation of 2260(b) is a five-year prison sentence. The maximum is 20 years. A person with a prior qualifying conviction faces between 15 and 40 years behind bars. Call Gounaris Abboud Today With your life in the balance, you will need a defense team ready to meet your challenges head-on. You can rest assured that we will be with you every step of the way. Remember that you are not automatically guilty because the government charged you with a crime. The law presumes that you are innocent. That means the burden of proof rests solely on the government to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  When you work with Gounaris Abboud, you will receive representation from award-winning attorneys who have won accolades for our work in criminal defense. We have received industry recognition in many ways, including earning a spot in the 2021 Top 100 Ohio Super Lawyers list and the Top 50 2021 Cincinnati Super Lawyers roster. We also have five-star reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google. We invite you to take a look at what our clients have said about us, and when you are ready, contact us online or give us a call at 937-222-1515. We look forward to speaking with you about how we can help you get your life back on track.

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federal conspiracy charge

The federal authorities never let go when they sink their teeth into someone in a criminal investigation. They will use all of the criminal laws found in the U.S. Code to the fullest extent to break up criminal enterprises. One of their favorite tactics involves slapping a federal conspiracy charge on anyone even remotely involved with the target of the investigation. The feds do this because they know they can get a co-conspirator to testify against the people they really want to secure a conviction on. A conviction for conspiracy, or any federal charge, can have devastating consequences for you and your family. You need to speak with a skilled federal defense lawyer right away if a federal law enforcement agency involves you in their investigation. The experienced federal defense attorneys with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, understand what you’re up against. They are willing and ready to help you get the best result for your federal conspiracy charge. What Is the Federal Conspiracy Law? The primary federal conspiracy statute is 18 U.S.C. 371. It says that a conspiracy against the United States occurs when two or more people conspire to commit an act that is a crime under the U.S. Code. It is also a crime to conspire to defraud the United States. However, the crime of conspiracy is not complete unless one of the co-conspirators does an overt act to further the conspiracy. What does it mean to conspire with someone? A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an act. The essence of conspiracy is the unlawful agreement. Even if you and your partner never committed the crime you planned, you are still part of a conspiracy. For example, you and a partner hatch a plan to rob a federally insured bank. Talking about it does not amount to the crime of conspiracy. However, taking a step toward completing the goal forms the crime of conspiracy. Therefore, casing the bank you want to rob—either alone or with your co-conspirator—forms the basis of the crime of conspiracy under federal law. Other Examples of Federal Conspiracy Charges The U.S. Code contains several other conspiracy charges as well. Some examples of additional federal conspiracy charges include conspiring against: Impeding the free exercise of rights (18 USC 241); Defrauding the Government concerning claims (18 USC 286); Impeding or injuring an officer (18 USC 372); Aiding prisoners of war or enemy aliens (18 USC 757); Gathering or delivering defense information to assist a foreign government (18 USC 794); Drug trafficking and other drug offenses (21 USC 846): Injuring a person or property in a foreign country while under U.S. jurisdiction (18 USC 956); Kidnapping (18 USC 1201); Destroying a boat to defraud an insurance company (18 USC 2271); Sedition (18 USC 2384); Interfering with armed forces during a time of war (18 USC 2388); Destruction of war material (18 USC 2153); and Interfering with the production of war material (18 USC 2154). The U.S. Code contains many other instances of conspiracy. It’s important to note that the general conspiracy charge found in 18 USC 371 requires an overt act to form the conspiracy, but many of the others do not.  What Are the Federal Conspiracy Penalties? A federal conspiracy sentence depends on the crime that is the object of the conspiracy. The penalty for conspiring to commit a crime against the United States is a prison sentence of no more than five years. Section 371 also indicates that the court may levy a fine in addition to sending the conspirator to federal prison. However, the maximum sentence for a conspiracy whose object is a misdemeanor carries the same penalty as the misdemeanor.  The potential consequences of conspiracy will depend on the conspiracy charge the government files. Some conspiracy statutes specify a penalty, while others state that the penalty is the same for conspiracy as it would be for the completed crime. For instance, conspiracy to commit drug trafficking carries the same prison sentence as drug trafficking.  What Rights Do You Have If the Feds Charged You with Conspiracy? You always have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during police questioning. The Miranda warning applies to federal law enforcement just as it does to local police. Ask for an attorney before giving a statement.  The Department of Justice prosecutes federal crimes. Their lawyers work closely with federal agents to make airtight cases. The chances are good that they have a lot of evidence against you if they file criminal charges. However, that does not mean you are automatically guilty.  You have Due Process rights to a fair trial judged by a jury of your peers. You also have the right to confront witnesses who testify against you and call witnesses on your behalf. However, prosecutors often build cases against low-level conspirators to get to the top of the criminal enterprise. Federal prosecutors may “proffer” you to find out what information you have that can help them. In exchange for your information and testimony, they would likely give you a good plea deal for your role in the conspiracy. Your lawyer will negotiate the terms of your agreement with the prosecutor on your behalf.  Contact an Experienced Federal Defense Attorney in Dayton, OH Today Fighting a case in the U.S. District Court takes a tremendous amount of knowledge, skill, and experience. The federal defense attorneys with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, have the experience you need to help defend against your federal conspiracy charges successfully. Do not wait and see what happens before calling. Contact our office today at 937-222-1515. We have more than 50 years of collective experience fighting for our client’s rights. We will give you the time and attention you need to handle your legal issues successfully.

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We all forget things from time to time; it’s part of life. But sometimes we even forget really important things—including court appearances. If you’ve missed your court appearance, you might be wondering if you have a bench warrant out for your arrest. You might also worry that you could go to jail because you missed court.  Not addressing a missed court date because you’re afraid of going to jail will only make matters worse. Instead, contact the Ohio criminal defense lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA. Our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have the skills you need to help keep you out of jail. What Is a Bench Warrant? You may have heard the term and wondered, What is a bench warrant? The bench warrant meaning is unfamiliar to many people. A bench warrant is a warrant for your arrest issued by a judge rather than at the request of the police. Despite the distinction between the issuing authority, there is no fundamental difference between an arrest warrant and a bench warrant in Ohio. Both authorize law enforcement to take the wanted person into custody and bring that person before the judge. In fact, a police officer has no discretion but to arrest you once the officer learns there is a warrant out for your arrest.  What Happens If You Forget Your Court Date? Every person who has a case pending before an Ohio criminal court must go to court as scheduled. The judge can and likely will issue a bench warrant if you miss criminal court dates. The court clerk enters the bench warrant into the court’s computer system, and that system alerts the local police. The warrant may also appear in the state DMV database.  The police can come to your home, or workplace, or stop you in public to arrest you on a warrant. People with warrants often get arrested when police stop them for a motor vehicle infraction. When the officer runs the driver’s information, the arrest warrant pops up, giving the officer no choice but to arrest you. What Happens After Your Arrest on a Bench Warrant? The Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure set out the process that police and courts follow after your arrest. The officer in charge of the booking facility must obey the orders on the warrant. Some warrants are not bailable, while others might order you to post a high bond. If your charges are misdemeanors, the officer in charge can issue a summons if they believe you will appear in court instead of holding you in jail. The officer can clear the warrant from the system after issuing the summons. Otherwise, you have to wait until the judge cancels the warrant when you go to court. The officer in charge does not have the authority to release you with a summons if you have felony charges.  How to Clear a Bench Warrant Without Going to Jail People miss court for a variety of reasons. Sometimes people simply forget. Other times, people intentionally skip court because they’re afraid of what could happen if they go.  Conflicts can also arise in people’s lives. Even though going to court is the right thing to do, life doesn’t always make that easy. You might have child care issues, car troubles, or a sick parent who needs care on the same day you have to go to court. Also, your court notice might have gone to your old address without you knowing about it.  Whatever the reason for missing court, the next steps you take determine what could happen when you ultimately appear before a judge. You cannot hide from a warrant forever. So the question is, do you want to walk into court to remove the warrant voluntarily or be forced to appear after getting arrested?  If you appear with your lawyer voluntarily, you have a greater chance of not going to jail. Your lawyer could present arguments and successfully argue that the court should not remand you to jail or have you post a high bail. A good lawyer can explain that you had a valid excuse for missing court and assure the judge that you will appear as ordered going forward. Additionally, having a competent and respected criminal lawyer shows that you respect the court and are serious about making the rest of your court dates.   On the other hand, remaining on the run and hoping the case never catches up to you shows that you are a flight risk. So if you continue to try to elude law enforcement, a judge can raise your bail, hold you in jail without bail, or add conditions of release to make sure you return to court. Remove Your Bench Warrant with Confidence If you have more questions regarding missed court dates or your criminal case in general, call Gounaris Abboud, LPA, right away at 937-222-1515. Our award-winning and reputable criminal defense lawyers can work with you to remove your warrant and help you stay out of jail. We have more than 50 years of combined experience, and we enjoy a great professional reputation in the legal community. We’ve won numerous recognitions and awards, including being named in the Ohio Super Lawyers List, making the Top 100 Trial Lawyers List from the National Trial Lawyers Association, and we enjoy an excellent 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO. Not acting on a bench warrant and waiting to see what happens next only makes matters worse. So don’t hesitate. Contact us today for more information.

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Ohio shoplifting laws

Shoplifting crimes may seem like minor offenses. However, the shoplifting laws in Ohio fall under the general category of theft. Since theft crimes can either be misdemeanors or felonies, you should be aware of the negative consequences a theft conviction could have on your life. Having a dedicated and experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer by your side can help you resolve your case favorably. The Dayton criminal defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, do more than aggressively defend your case. When you work with our firm, you will experience the difference a trustworthy, empathetic, honest, and supportive attorney can make in your life.  Shoplifting Charges in Ohio Shoplifting in Ohio has two meanings. You might think that shoplifting only takes place when someone conceals an item and walks out of a store without paying. However, deceiving the store owner to pay less for an item is also shoplifting. You might not realize it, but changing the price on an item by either altering the price tag or by switching the price tag from one item to another is shoplifting. That’s harder to do these days when most stores don’t use price tags and rely on UPC barcodes for pricing. But switching packaging is also shoplifting when you pay less for the item than indicated for that specific item.  Ohio Shoplifting Penalties  Shoplifting penalties range in severity depending on the value of the stolen items. Although the term shoplifting implies that the stolen items are small and easily concealed, the theft statute in Ohio allows someone to serve up to 10 years in prison, depending on the situation.  Under the Ohio theft law, a conviction for stealing property valued at less than $1,000 is petty theft and is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The punishments become more serious as the value of the stolen property increases. Stolen merchandise valued between $1,000 and $7,500 constitutes a fifth-degree felony. You could serve between six months to one year in jail and have to pay a $2,500 fine.  Stealing property valued between $7,500 and $150,000 is a fourth-degree felony. The punishment ranges from 6 to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. You face third-degree felony charges for theft of property worth $150,000 up to $750,000. The punishment for this charge is a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of no more than $10,000. Second-degree felony theft is the appropriate charge for property stolen that has a value of at least $750,000 but less than $1,500,000. The prison term for this sentence falls between two and eight years, along with a fine of $15,000.  Stealing property worth more than $1,500,000 is a first-degree felony. The sentence for this offense is 3 to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Additional Shoplifting Penalties You could face civil liability for shoplifting in addition to criminal sanctions. As a result, the judge may order you to make restitution to the store owner for the value of the goods stolen. Also, you are liable for any damages the store incurred beyond the value of the stolen property. For instance, the court could find that you damaged property while fleeing the store. If so, the judge may order you to pay for those losses as well. You should understand that civil liability could entail paying the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and court costs as well. A felony conviction carries collateral consequences on top of the penalties described above. A felony conviction for theft could be impossible to seal or expunge from your record. You might also have a difficult time finding work or keeping your job if your employer considers theft to be a crime of dishonesty. A theft conviction may hamper your pursuit of educational opportunities as well. A felony theft conviction could endanger your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen. Additionally, you could lose your ability to become a naturalized citizen or be refused re-entry into the country. You could also lose the right to vote and your right to possess a firearm.  Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Shoplifting Charge? The shoplifting laws in Ohio are strict. You could go to jail even after a conviction for petty theft. Moreover, as the value of the stolen property increases, so does the likelihood that you will go to prison. Having a skilled Ohio criminal defense attorney fight for you can protect your rights. You have only one chance to defend your case successfully. Making a mistake while trying to defend yourself—even from misdemeanor shoplifting charges—can hurt you in the long run. Seeking advice from a skilled attorney with extensive experience defending the rights of the accused gives you the best chance to minimize the impact your charges will have on your life. Work with a Dayton Law Firm That Cares About Your Future Call Gounaris Abboud, LPA, today at 937-222-1515 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced and compassionate criminal defense lawyers. Our award-winning attorneys will explain your options and plot a course of action that can help you get the best results for the circumstances surrounding your case. We may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to a favorable plea, reduce your charges, or possibly even dismiss your case altogether. With our extensive legal knowledge and dedication to your well-being, we can make a difference for you. 

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Ohio embezzlement laws and penalties

Embezzlement is one of the most commonly prosecuted white-collar crimes in America’s state and federal courts. However, the laws surrounding embezzlement are complex, and those who face these serious charges often lack a full understanding of how they allegedly broke the law. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our dedicated team of white-collar criminal defense attorneys has a long history of successfully defending clients facing embezzlement charges in Ohio. We can help you identify the best possible defense and effectively present it to the judge or jury. Contact us today to get started.  What Is Embezzlement? Many who face embezzlement charges wonder, What is embezzlement? Essentially, embezzlement is a property crime involving a breach of trust. It happens when a person has lawful control over someone else’s assets, but they don’t own those assets. If they convert those assets over to themselves for their own enrichment, they have likely embezzled the assets. A common example would be employee theft. Under Ohio embezzlement laws, someone commits this offense if they have possession or control over someone else’s property or money, and they use it for their own enrichment in any of the following ways: Without the consent of the property’s owner; Beyond the scope under which they are authorized to act; By deception; By threat; or By intimidation. Embezzlement is a type of theft crime. Thus, the punishment for embezzlement depends, in part, on the value of the property at issue. Is Embezzlement a Felony? Depending on the circumstances, embezzlement is either a misdemeanor or felony offense. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02, if the amount embezzled is less than $1,000, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. However, the seriousness of an embezzlement offense increases along with the value of the alleged property. $1,000 to $7,499—Fifth-degree felony $7,500 to $149,999—Fourth-degree felony $150,000 to $749,999—Third-degree felony $750,000 to $1,499,999—Second-degree felony More than $1.5 million—First-degree felony Protected Class In addition, an embezzlement offense committed against a protected class of people becomes a more serious crime. Under Ohio embezzlement laws, the following are protected classes: Elderly people; Disabled adults; and Active-duty service members and their spouses. An embezzlement offense against a protected class is at least a felony of the fifth degree. $1,000 to $7,499—Fourth-degree felony $7,500 to $37,499—Third-degree felony $37,500 to $149,999—Second-degree felony More than $150,000—First-degree felony Other Factors in Seriousness Level There are also other situations in which embezzlement penalties become more serious. For example, Embezzlement of a firearm is considered a felony of the third degree; Embezzlement of a motor vehicle is a felony of the fourth degree; Embezzlement of a dangerous drug is a felony of the fourth degree unless you have a prior conviction for a drug offense, in which case it is a felony of the third degree; and Embezzlement of a police dog or horse is a felony of the third degree. The seriousness levels for embezzlement can be confusing. So it is best to consult with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney to better understand the allegations against you and the possible punishments you face. Punishments for Embezzlement Ohio law provides for ranges of punishment based on the seriousness of the offense. Below is a list of the various penalties an embezzlement conviction may carry: First-degree felony: 3 to 11 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $20,000; Second-degree felony: 2 to 8 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $15,000; Third-degree felony: 9 to 36 months in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000; Fourth-degree felony: 6 to 18 months in prison, plus a fine of up to $5,000; and Fifth-degree felony: 6 to 12 months in prison, plus a fine of up to $2,500. In most cases, a judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant to probation; however, this is not a guarantee. Typically, judges are more likely to consider probation in lieu of incarceration for those who express remorse for their actions, have a verifiable employment history, and are able to present other mitigating evidence showing that incarceration is not appropriate. Do You Face Embezzlement Charges in Ohio? If you or a loved one faces embezzlement charges in Ohio, it is essential that you work with an attorney who has experience handling these complex cases. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our dedicated team of defense lawyers has decades of experience litigating a wide range of white-collar crimes, including embezzlement offenses. As skilled negotiators, we are often able to resolve cases favorably without the need for a trial. However, we are also seasoned litigators—meaning we will not hesitate to take your case to trial in front of the judge or jury if the prosecution isn’t willing to fairly resolve the case. We also make ourselves available 24/7 to answer your questions or discuss your case. To learn more and to schedule, a free consultation with a Dayton, Ohio criminal defense lawyer, call us at 937-222-1515. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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