ohio felony sentencing

Ohio felony sentencing laws classify felony crimes into five categories, or degrees, ranging from most serious to least serious. Felonies can be first, second, third, fourth, or fifth-degree offenses. Felonies can be first, second, third, fourth, or fifth-degree offenses. First-degree felonies are the most serious class of felony, and fifth-degree felonies are the least serious. Felony sentencing laws in Ohio also include unclassified felony offenses. Unclassified felonies are not categorized by degree. These are very serious offenses. Learn how we can help you during your free consultation. Call (937) 222-1515 or reach us online today. Felony Crimes by Class & Sentence Each felony category corresponds to a specific sentencing range. The sentence is proportional to the seriousness of the offense. More serious felonies get longer prison sentences. Ohio felony sentencing laws may also require mandatory minimum sentences for certain felony offenses. First- and Second-Degree Felonies First-degree felonies are the most severe category of offenses. For example, first-degree felonies include: The minimum Ohio felony sentences for a first-degree felony range from three to 11 years in prison. Second-degree felonies are the next most serious level of offenses. These offenses include, for example: Second-degree felonies can result in minimum prison sentences from two to eight years. Indefinite Sentences for First- and Second-Degree Felonies A new Ohio felony sentencing law requires indefinite sentencing for certain first- and second-degree felony offenses. First- and second-degree felonies committed on or after March 22, 2019, and that are not subject to life in prison are punishable by indefinite sentencing. Indefinite sentencing means that a judge will select a minimum sentence from the specified range of penalties. The judge will then determine the maximum term by adding 50% of the minimum term. For example, if a defendant is convicted of kidnapping, a first-degree felony, the judge may select a minimum term of six from the specified sentencing range. The maximum term, in this case, would be nine years. Find Out More Information From Our Blog This is because 50% of the minimum term of six years is three years, which is then added to the minimum term for a total of nine years. The defendant, thus, will serve six to nine years in prison. Third-Degree Felonies Some third-degree felonies are subject to longer sentences ranging between one and five years. Offenses subject to the longer sentencing include, for example: However, most third-degree felonies are punishable by shorter sentences ranging between nine months and three years. Are You Being Charged with a Felony? Fill out the confidential form below describing the details of what you are being charged for and then we can begin to evaluate your case. Fourth-Degree Felonies Crimes classified as fourth-degree felonies include, for example: Felony sentencing in Ohio for fourth-degree felonies can range between six and 18 months in prison. Fifth Degree Felonies Fifth-degree felonies are considered the least serious felonies. Examples of fifth-degree felony offenses include: In Ohio, felony sentences for fifth-degree offenses range between six and 12 months in prison. Unclassified Felonies Unclassified felonies are felonies that are not classified by degree. Unclassified felonies include, for example: Ohio law supplies specific sentences for unclassified felonies. Sentences for aggravated murder, for instance, can include death, life without the possibility of parole, or life with the possibility of parole after 20 years. In Ohio, felony sentences for murder range from 15 years in prison to life in prison. Mandatory Sentences Ohio felony sentencing laws may also impose mandatory prison terms in some cases. For example, Ohio requires mandatory sentences for aggravated murder, murder, rape, or attempted rape of a child under the age of 13, and first- or second-degree felony drug trafficking. In these cases, a court must impose a sentence or sentence range specified for the offense. Contact an Experienced Ohio Felony Sentencing Lawyer Ohio felony sentencing is complicated and depends on the specific circumstances of each case. If you face a felony charge, it is imperative to your defense that you speak with a lawyer experienced in felony sentencing in Ohio. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have over 50 years of combined experience in criminal defense. The defense lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can help you understand your case and can discuss possible defenses to overcome your charges. We offer a free initial case consultation. To schedule yours, contact our legal team today at (937) 222-1515. TLDR; Quick Reference Section First-degree felonies include: Second-degree felonies include: Third-degree felonies can include: Fourth-degree felonies can include: Fifth-degree felonies can include:

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Driving Without a Valid Operator’s License in Ohio

Every state within the United States controls driving privileges by requiring anyone operating a motor vehicle to have a valid driver’s license. Further, drivers are required to abide by laws and restrictions when driving. Should a motor vehicle operator break the law one too many times, they may have their driving privileges revoked. This means they no longer have a valid driver’s license and cannot lawfully operate a car. Each state has its own particular requirements and penalties. If you were caught driving without a valid operator’s license in Ohio, there are a few different charges you could face depending on the specific circumstances. The penalties can range from minor fines to license suspension and even incarceration. Reach out to our experienced Ohio attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, to discuss your case and defense. Ohio Law In Ohio, no person is allowed to operate any motor vehicle on a public road or highway or any public or private property used by the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking unless the person has a valid driver’s license.  Is it Illegal to Drive Without Your License on You? Even if you have a valid license, it is still against the law to drive without having your license in your possession. So you might be wondering, What happens if you get pulled over without your license on you? Drivers are required to have their license on them anytime they are operating a motor vehicle. If the police catch you driving without your license on you, but you have a valid driver’s license, this is still a violation of Ohio law.  Specifically, you may be issued a ticket for driving without proof of license in Ohio. If found guilty, you could face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Expired Drivers’ License If you are convicted of driving without a valid driver’s license in Ohio because your license is expired, you will be charged with a minor misdemeanor and face a fine of $150. No Operator’s License: Ohio Fine and Penalties We are often asked, What happens if you get caught driving without a license but with a permit in Ohio? A learner’s permit is not a driver’s license and does not allow operators to drive carte blanche. There are restrictions during the learning and provisional process that must be followed. Drivers with a temporary instruction permit under the age of 16 must have a parent, guardian, or licensed driving instructor in the passenger seat while driving. If the learner is 16 or older, they are bound by this restriction only between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. Otherwise, they must be accompanied by a driver over the age of 21. In both scenarios, the supervising driver cannot be intoxicated. If you violate these provisions, it could result in an extended probationary period. Penalties It may not be the crime of the century, but driving without a license can result in significant consequences. Two of the most common penalties are fines and further license revocation or suspension. Can you go to jail for driving without a license in Ohio? Depending on the specific offense and your prior driving record, you can potentially face jail time for driving without a license. First Offense Generally, a first offense for driving without a license in Ohio will result in only fines and fees. You may also be sentenced to a community residential sanction, otherwise known as community service. If you are convicted of driving without a valid driver’s license and have never been licensed, your charge would be an unclassified misdemeanor. In addition to a fine of up to $1,000, you could be ordered to complete up to 500 community service hours. Second or Subsequent Offense If you are convicted for second or subsequent driving without a valid driver’s license offense, your charge would be a first-degree misdemeanor. The punishment now increases to up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Three-Year Rule The court may impose a license suspension of up to one year if, within three years of the current offense: The offender previously was convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section, and  The offender’s license has expired for more than six months at the time of the offense.  Under such circumstances, you’d be wise to consult an attorney. Help Is Here At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have more than 50 years of collective experience in criminal defense and motor vehicle violations. Driving without a license in Ohio can have serious consequences and even negatively impact your ability to earn a living. We understand things happen at all hours of the day, not just during business hours. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we are always available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our premier attorneys.

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  • September 21, 2022
  • OVI
OVI resources

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the United States saw 11,654 fatalities in alcohol-involved car accidents in 2020. In fact, the number of fatalities in alcohol-involved crashes increased by 14.3% from 2019 to 2020. In Ohio, approximately 36% of all traffic fatalities occurred in alcohol-involved accidents. If you are facing charges for operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) in Dayton, contact an OVI attorney at Gounaris Abboud, LPA today. We offer all of our clients the one-on-one attention they deserve. Our attorneys take the time to listen to your needs and address all your concerns about your case. A Dayton OVI lawyer can help you navigate your criminal proceedings and advocate on your behalf. Contact the team at Gounaris Abboud to start your free initial consultation. What Is OVI in Dayton?  Ohio law prohibits motorists from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the two. Ohio refers to this violation as OVI or DUI. For drivers age 21 or older, the legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08%. If you are under 21, the legal limit is .02%. Ohio considers a first-time OVI conviction a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor carries a minimum 3-day jail sentence, a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,075, and mandatory attendance of a driver’s intervention program for three days. A second OVI conviction within ten years is still considered a first-degree misdemeanor. However, the mandatory jail time increases to ten days, and the maximum possible fine increases to $1,625.  The third OVI conviction carries the following potential penalties: Between 30 days and one year in jail, A fine of up to $2,750, Vehicle forfeiture, and Mandatory participation in a community addiction program. Only OVI convictions received within the past ten years count to enhance your penalty. OVI Resources: Ohio Driver Intervention Program The Ohio Driver Intervention Program (DIP) offers individuals arrested for OVI an alternative to the mandatory three-day jail sentence, at the court’s discretion. The DIP includes small group discussions and traffic safety education on alcohol, drug abuse, and addiction. The educational curriculum offered by the DIP includes the following information: Physical, psychological, and social consequences of alcohol and other drug use; Physiological and psychological effects of alcohol and other drugs on driving performance; BAC, drugs, and the definition of legal impairment; Symptoms of alcohol and other drug abuse; Progressive nature of alcohol and other drug dependence; Levels of license suspension and revocation; Fines and levels of incarceration; and Treatment and self-help resources for alcohol and other drug addiction. DIPs involve a two- or three-day process of education and screening. All DIPs are certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and they are usually held at hotels. Locations, dates, and hours of operation are available at most courthouses. A list of DIP locations in Ohio is available online. How Can an OVI Attorney Help My Case?  Hiring an attorney to defend yourself against OVI charges can make a significant difference in your case. We have decades of experience defending OVI cases and have picked up a lot of knowledge and experience along the way. You can rest assured that we will: Prepare a strong legal strategy to present to the prosecutor; Advocate to have your charges reduced or dismissed; Investigate the circumstances of your case and ensure we have a thorough understanding of what occurred; and Offer the highest level of legal representation that we can achieve.  Do not accept an unfavorable plea agreement before you have a chance to consult with an OVI lawyer. Otherwise, you might face stiffer penalties. Instead, consult with an experienced attorney at Gounaris Abboud, LPA for OVI help in Dayton. Contact Gounaris Abboud Today to Learn About More OVI Resources An OVI conviction can result in serious consequences. Of course, each case is different. However, in many situations, it will be beneficial to obtain an attorney to help you defend your case.  Collectively, our team has more than 30 years of experience in the courtroom. One of our managing partners, Nicolas G. Gounaris, is a seasoned attorney with experience as a prosecutor, magistrate, and acting judge—a background that gives him a unique outlook on defending criminal cases. Additionally, Mr. Gounaris received nominations from his peers to the Super Lawyers list for ten consecutive years, from 2012 through 2021. Further, Mr. Gounaris has been recognized by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA) as a “Nationally Ranked Top 10” in 2014 and 2015 and was named a recipient of the “10 Best Client Satisfaction” Award for Criminal Law by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys in 2014 and 2015. When it comes to fighting OVI charges in court, no case is too complex for our skilled defenders. From start to finish, the experienced and awarded Dayton DUI attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA can help you preserve your liberties.

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post decree motion

Once your divorce is finalized, you might assume it’s over, and you won’t have any further dealings with your ex-spouse. However, that is not always the case—especially if you have minor children and are co-parenting. Sometimes one party’s circumstances change, or someone is not abiding by the divorce terms and needs to be held accountable. In these situations, you may need to start the legal process of enforcing or modifying a court order. This process is known as filing a post-decree motion, which can be rather complicated. Hiring an experienced post-decree motions attorney is crucial if you want to ensure that you get the best result possible. Filing for a post-decree modification means going back to court to resolve something after the court has finalized the divorce. The attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, understand the frustration and stress associated with pursuing a post-decree modification. But don’t worry. We can help you fight to enforce or modify an existing court order. Examples of Post-Decree Modifications You might need a post-decree modification for many reasons. The three main topics that could require filing a post-decree motion are spousal support, child support, and custody agreements. A significant change might have happened since the divorce was final. For instance: One party’s income could have significantly decreased,  One party might have lost their job entirely, A party might have gotten a promotion and a big raise, One party’s living situation might have changed, or they might have gotten remarried, One of your children might have turned 18 and no longer requires support, or  Perhaps you found something that was not handled correctly in the original division of your marital property.  These and other significant changes might occur after your divorce is final. If so, Gournaris Abboud, LPA, is here to help if you need to file a post-decree motion. Here is a more in-depth look at each of the common post-decree modifications. Spousal Support Spousal support can be a hotly-debated issue in a divorce, especially when the court orders one partner to pay support. If one spouse experiences a significant change in circumstances, the court may consider modifying the existing award. Usually, a significant change must be something like either party’s involuntary loss of their job. When the payor spouse (the one who pays) loses their job but has diligently paid previous spousal support, the court could change the payment amount or duration of payments. But be prepared for the court to scrutinize whether the situation is a valid hardship.   Child Custody Child custody is routinely discussed in post-decree modifications when it’s necessary to change visitation or the allocation of parental responsibilities. Courts do not take modifications to child custody lightly. Before the judge agrees to any changes in the current custody agreement, the parent asking for a change needs to show the following: There’s a substantial change in circumstances since the active custody agreement, Changing the custody agreement is in your child’s best interests, and Changing the existing agreement will benefit the child more than leaving the current one intact. Child custody modifications are some of the most complicated post-decree motions. It’s essential to hire an experienced post-decree matters attorney. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your chances of getting the modification you need.   Child Support Child support is something else you might need to address in a post-decree motion. The recipient parent might need to return to court to ask for additional funds because the child’s situation has changed. Perhaps your child needs emergency medical care, has been diagnosed with a severe illness or disease, or has unexpected new school-related costs. These scenarios can point to a significant change in circumstances that requires the court’s review to determine whether additional child support is necessary. It’s also common to address child support in a post-decree modification when something is changing with the custody arrangement. If the parent ordered to pay support now has taken on more parental responsibility and visitation time, they may not need to pay the same amount of support. How a Post-Decree Motion Works You will need to go back to court to enforce or modify a court order from your divorce. Your post-decree motions attorney will file the motion describing what you want and the facts that support your modification request. You will need to serve your ex and give them a chance to respond. Then, you will both go to court on a specified date to discuss the motion and issues in dispute.  Before the hearing date, both sides can conduct their own investigation and gather evidence. This is known as discovery. You might use written questions (interrogatories), oral depositions, requests for the production of documents, and more. The time to resolve post-decree motions varies. In specific scenarios, the resolution could be quick. If both parties can agree on a new arrangement, you may not need to go to court for the trial date. Your attorney will let the court know you’ve reached an agreement, and the judge will review that it’s fair and legal before signing off. Other modifications may require more time, such as reconsidering child custody arrangements. If your ex disputes the motion, you must go to trial, present your evidence, and let the court decide. During the hearing, your attorney will submit your evidence, and you will very likely need to testify. Contact Our Post-Decree Modification Attorneys If you are searching for a post-decree motions attorney, contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA. With more than 50 years of collective experience, we provide high-quality, dedicated legal assistance when you need it most. We understand that going back to court after a divorce can be daunting—but you don’t have to face it alone. Our skilled legal team will be there with you every step of the way. Contact our office today at 937-222-1515 to schedule an initial consultation. No matter what type of post-decree motion you need assistance with, Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can help.

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social network and sex crimes

The explosion of social networking, online dating, and smartphone apps in recent years has brought along with it a new onslaught of sex crimes. While most interactions on social media are harmless banter between family, friends, and even strangers, some interactions have a darker side. If you have been accused of an online sex crime, you need to seek the immediate guidance of a skilled online sex crime lawyer.  Apps such as Tinder, OnlyFans, Bumble, and Plenty of Fish all have one thing in common: sex. The purpose of these apps might be to unite individuals looking for a relationship, to just have fun, or to simply promote sexy pictures. And most users go onto these platforms with good intentions. However, there will always be users who harbor nefarious intentions.  Unfortunately, even when your intentions are good, you may find yourself on the wrong side of an accusation.  If you have been accused of a sex crime that stemmed from social networking, you should seek the immediate assistance of an online sex crime attorney. Even a mere allegation can damage your reputation and wreak havoc on your life. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our experienced online sex crime lawyer can help you defend your name and freedom. Sex Crimes Online Sex crimes online are taken just as seriously as sex crimes that happen in the real world. Social networking makes it possible for individuals to do or say things they might not otherwise be inclined to do. It is also an arena that allows people to post pictures or videos of themselves with the intention of attracting a date or partner. The nature of these photos and forward actions can sometimes make it confusing for law enforcement to determine what is consensual and what is not. Misbehavior on one of these apps could lead to these common charges: Unlawful sexual contact with a minor, Pandering obscenity, Importuning or solicitation of an adult, Solicitation of a minor, Importuning or solicitation of illegal sexual materials, Possession of child pornography, Gross sexual imposition, Sexual battery, and Public indecency. A sex crime online can lead to significant, life-altering consequences. Often, what begins online evolves into a physical altercation.  Unlawful Sexual Contact With Minor What often begins as chatting online through social media or an app can lead to a physical meeting. Unlawful sexual contact with a minor is one such instance. Before meeting up with an individual you are chatting with over the internet, it is crucial to know the identity of this person and that it is, in fact, a consenting adult.  In Ohio, the mere showing of intent to have contact with an underage individual is a crime.  Pandering Obscenity Pandering obscenity is a cybercrime you can be charged with if you aren’t careful when engaging in online activity.  In Ohio, you can be charged with pandering obscenity if you are accused of creating, reproducing, publishing, buying, selling, advertising for sale, publicly distributing, or publicly displaying any obscene material. And if the material involves a minor, the charge is even more serious. A person can even be charged with this crime for merely possessing such material. Pandering obscenity involves knowing the nature of the pictures or performance depicted in the material. If an individual panders obscenity involving a minor, they may face very serious charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. This is why it is so crucial to understand the age of consent and be sure you are conversing and engaging with adults. Solicitation Importuning, otherwise known as a solicitation, is when an individual solicits illegal sexual materials over the internet. Solicitation can take many forms through chat rooms, messaging, and sharing files.  Sex Offender Registry A conviction for any of these sex crimes will most certainly result in mandatory sex offender registration. The degree and severity of the crime will determine how long the court may require you to remain on the sex offender registry. Any length of time on the sex offender registry can be extremely damaging to your reputation. It can prohibit you from finding and maintaining gainful employment or securing a mortgage. Don’t risk your reputation; hire a knowledgeable online sex crime attorney the minute you are accused of a crime.   How Do I Avoid Trouble with Social Networking? Unfornatutely, there is no advice or tip that can guarantee you are never charged with a sex crime from using social media or a dating app. However, you can take certain precautions to protect yourself from unwanted allegations. Only use dating apps intended for adults. Confirm the individual on the other side of the phone or computer is, in fact, an adult. Once that person verbally confirms they are an adult, do a little digging for yourself and check their Facebook and social media presence for signs they may actually be underage. For example, if the person claims they are an adult but does not have a driver’s license or work experience—it can be a red flag.  If all else fails, trust your gut. If it seems like the person might be a minor, it is better to err on the side of caution. Social Networking and Sex Crime Defense Attorneys At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have dedicated our career to helping individuals facing the toughest situations. You will always receive one-on-one attention from our attorneys. If you have been accused of a sex crime online, you need sharp representation. Some of our lawyers are former prosecutors. This experience provides them with unique insight and perspective into defending clients accused of a crime. Meet with us today to discuss a tailor-made defense for your case. We are here to take your call.

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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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Dissolution of Marriage in Ohio

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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Probation Violation in Ohio

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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bail and bonds

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. Call (937) 222-1515 or send us an online message today for a free consultation. 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 online or call (937) 222-1515 today for a free consultation.

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is embezzlement a felony

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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