violation of protection order ohio

A protection order, which is also known as a restraining order, restricts many of the freedoms you take for granted. Protection orders can be difficult to obey because they can prevent you from seeing or even talking to your loved ones. A violation of a protection order further complicates an already difficult time in your life. Knowing what to do if you violate a protective order in Ohio is not easy. Understanding your legal rights is necessary to navigating a violation of a protective order successfully. Speaking with Gouraris Abboud’s protective order violation defense lawyers is your first step toward regaining your freedom. Types of Protective Orders Ohio law recognizes four types of protective orders. Ohio courts have authority to issue: Domestic violence temporary protective orders, Civil protection orders, Criminal protection orders, and Anti-stalking or sexually oriented offense protection orders. Courts issue domestic violence temporary protective orders to prevent further abuse or violence for a limited time until a permanent order issues. Judges also issue criminal protective orders to prevent violence between a person accused of certain crimes and the victim. Domestic relations judges issue civil protective orders during a divorce or other family law matters. Civil protective orders apply to people of the same family or household. Penalties for Violation of a Protection Order in Ohio Prosecutors and judges in Ohio take violations of protection orders seriously. Prosecutors ask for long jail or prison sentences and stiff terms of probation. Also, judges sentence people to long prison terms and strict probation terms for violating a protective order. Ohio law defines violating a protection order as a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction for a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio carries a six-month maximum jail sentence and a fine up to $1,000.  A person who violates a protection order might face felony charges if aggravating factors apply. Violating a protection order is a fifth-degree felony if the person was previously convicted of: Violating a protection order that protects a minor, a criminal protection order, a stalking protection order, a domestic violence protection order, or a temporary order;  Having two or more convictions for menacing, stalking, or trespassing with the same victim as specified in the order; or Having at least one prior conviction for violating a protection order.  Violating a protection order escalates to a third-degree felony if the violation occurred during the commission of a felony.  Possible Defenses Ohio courts have jurisdiction to convict a person if they violate a protection order in Ohio even though another state issued it. However, an Ohio court cannot convict a person for violating a protection order issued by another state if the order does not comply with federal law.  Other defenses depend on the nature of the alleged violation because each situation is unique. Some alleged victims might report an offense that never happened. Still other alleged victims could contact the defendant and report that the accused initiated the contact. Alternatively, the contact between the two parties could be accidental or insignificant.  Arguing that you did not have sufficient notice of the protective order is another viable option in the right case. You could not be held responsible for violating an order if you did not receive proper notice. Should I Hire an Attorney If I Violated a Protection Order? Shouldering the burden of representing yourself is a dangerous proposition.  The prospect of going to jail or prison is high if found guilty of violating a restraining order. Also, the court could order you to complete probation and wear a monitoring device.  There are other implications, as well. Violating a protective order remains on your record and cannot be erased. Additionally, you could experience difficulty finding sufficient housing and exploring educational or career opportunities, and you will not be able to possess a firearm. Meeting with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney is the most crucial step you can take when deciding to represent yourself. The future consequences significantly outweigh any money you save representing yourself. Contact Us Right Away with Any Questions You Have Gounaris Abboud’s violation of protective order defense lawyers will use their tremendous experience to guide you through this challenging time in your life. Our former prosecutors use their vast courtroom knowledge to develop successful defense strategies. Contact us today at 937-222-1515 for a free consultation.

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disorderly conduct ohio

Disorderly conduct is a significant offense in Ohio. Although the charge is either a minor misdemeanor or a fourth-degree misdemeanor, a conviction carries severe implications for the accused.  Many people only consider the sanctions imposed by a judge when they think about penalties for violating Ohio’s criminal law. But convictions for criminal charges could also have other devastating consequences.  Speaking with a highly qualified Ohio criminal defense attorney from Gounaris Abboud could help you better comprehend your rights and develop a defense plan that minimizes the impact of an Ohio disorderly conduct charge. Disorderly Conduct in Ohio Disorderly conduct is a charge police often use to end a potentially dangerous or tumultuous situation. Ohio’s legislature wrote the disorderly conduct law broadly so that police could use their arrest powers to preserve the peace as circumstances dictate. The difference between protected speech and disorderly conduct is sometimes a narrow margin. A person can exercise their rights to free expression. However, Ohio’s disorderly conduct statute limits freedom of expression when the behavior alarms, annoys, or threatens public order.  Different Types of Disorderly Conduct Ohio law considers a variety of behaviors to be disorderly. Law enforcement officers can charge a person for disorderly conduct for inconveniencing, annoying, or alarming another person by recklessly Threatening harm to another person or property, fighting, or engaging in turbulent behavior; Being unreasonably noisy, uttering an offensive or coarse gesture, or communicating grossly abusive language; Provoking a violent response by insulting, challenging, or taunting another; Blocking roads or access to property; or Creating a situation that could physically harm another person by acting without a lawful or reasonable purpose. The person charged for disorderly conduct in Ohio need not be intoxicated or impaired under these circumstances.  Disorderly Conduct in Ohio While Intoxicated Ohio’s disorderly conduct law also pertains to situations when people are voluntarily intoxicated, which is sometimes called “drunk and disorderly.” The police need not prove the person under arrest for disorderly while intoxicated had a blood alcohol limit of 0.08 or above. Instead, the police have probable cause to arrest if the person appeared intoxicated according to the ordinary person. Police in Ohio could charge drunk and disorderly when: The person is in a public place or with two or more people engaging in conduct that is inconvenient, alarming, or annoying; or  The person created a condition that risks physical harm to others or to property. Operating a vehicle or watercraft under the influence does not violate the disorderly conduct law in Ohio, though you may be subject to other charges for doing so. Penalties for Disorderly Conduct in Ohio Ohio disorderly conduct penalties depend on the circumstances of your arrest.  Disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of $150 unless aggravating factors apply.  Aggravated disorderly conduct is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. A person convicted of a fourth-degree misdemeanor in Ohio faces up to 30 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $250.  Ohio law defines aggravating factors under the disorderly conduct statute as: Persistent disorderly conduct after receiving a warning to stop the disorderly behavior; Committing the offense in the vicinity of a school or within a school safety zone; Acting disorderly during an emergency such as a fire, disaster, riot, accident, or another emergency while in the presence of police of other emergency personnel performing their duties at the scene; Acting disorderly at an emergency facility such as a hospital in the presence of emergency personnel while the emergency personnel attends to their duties; and Having three convictions of disorderly conduct while intoxicated. Discussing the allegations with a dedicated Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you better understand the charges filed against you. Disorderly Conduct and College Students Acting like a fool while drunk in a dorm room is one thing; doing the same in public is entirely different. College students should be wary about losing total control over their faculties while drinking or in situations where peaceful actions could turn riotous.  A college student found guilty of disorderly conduct could receive a suspension from school, suffer removal from college programs, or face other disciplinary action from their institution. The school’s disciplinary action could reflect poorly on the student when pursuing a professional career or furthering their education. Possible Defenses to Disorderly Conduct Charges Negotiating a favorable disposition of the case might be the best course of action in the circumstances. A skilled criminal defense lawyer knows how to negotiate disorderly conduct from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor or negotiate a dismissal altogether. Individuals charged with disorderly conduct have the absolute right to proceed to trial. They could argue the First Amendment protected their actions.  Contact Gounaris Abboud Immediately With Any Question You Have About Disorderly Conduct in Ohio Gounaris Abboud’s criminal defense lawyers understand that you or your loved one is in a tough spot. Speaking with a passionate, dedicated, and experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney about your charges of disorderly conduct in Ohio could give you the confidence you need to make the best decision for you. Our criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors who use their experience to their clients’ advantage. Call Gounaris Abboud today at 937-222-1515 to learn more. 

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sexting laws for adults

Sexting is a dangerous activity, even if fun or flirtatious. Photos, commentary, video, and other electronically distributed sexual material do not necessarily disappear after selecting the delete button. A digital record remains intact anytime anyone uses the internet or electronic devices to transmit information.  The law often lags behind technology. To date, there are no laws prohibiting sexting in Ohio. Existing laws could fill the gaps to protect children from viewing, creating, and distributing obscene materials.   You must act swiftly if you or a loved one is under investigation for or charged with a crime involving sexting in Ohio. The Ohio sex crimes defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud are former prosecutors with a wealth of knowledge and experience to defend sexting crimes in Ohio. Sexting Between Consenting Adults Sexting laws for adults in Ohio are virtually non-existent, except for one statute. The Ohio legislature passed the law to protect people from becoming victims of revenge porn. The Ohio law criminalizes distributing images of other people by electronic means without that person’s consent. The law applies to images of anyone aged 18 or older shown nude or in a sexual act. The crime is complete if the subject can be identified. Sexting Involving Minors  Unlike sexting between adults, sexting that involves a minor can have serious consequences. A number of crimes relating to sexting can be committed by both adults and teenagers. Juveniles seldom realize you can get in trouble for sexting. Teenagers notoriously yield to impulses without thinking about the consequences. When in the moment, they would hardly believe that it is illegal to send nudes to each other even if shared by significant others. A teen might also find it hard to believe that receiving a nude photo of another is a crime when they received it by accident. Unfortunately, many teenagers are now realizing distributing private or even unsolicited sext messages could be criminal.  Child Pornography As a society, we are just beginning to appreciate the possible harm that sending nudes might do to the person in the photo. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors at the state and federal levels aggressively pursue purveyors of child pornogrpahy. In Ohio, possession of child pornogrpahy is a felony called pandering obscentiy. Ohio’s pandering obscenity law prohibits creating, publishing, reproducing, or possessing obscene material depicting people under 18. Thus, two 17-year-old teens involved in an intimate relationship who sext could be prosecuted for possession of child pornography in Ohio. Moreover, the law would apply to an adult sending or receiving a photo of a person under 18. Child Endangerment Parents and guardians have a duty to protect minor children in their care. Their duty extends to protecting their minor children from appearing in obscene material, including being depicted in nude photographs. Ohio law punishes parents and guardians who allow the minor children in their care to appear in nude or obscene material. Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles Ohio law provides that no person shall sell, give, or send obscene or harmful materials to a juvenile. Ohio’s legislature wrote the law broadly to cover a wide range of behavior. The law applies to teens sending obscene matter to each other, like intimate photos or videos. The law also applies to anyone 18 or older sending nude photos or sexting with a person younger than 18. Punishments in Ohio Punishments for sexting in Ohio vary depending on the severity of the allegations. Most crimes in Ohio that apply to sexting are felonies. Punishments for felony convictions in Ohio include lengthy prison terms, fines, and probation.  The sentencing judge can impose strict probationary terms to protect victimized children and help reform the offender. Probationary terms might include: Forfeiting cell phones or other electronic devices; Staying away from and having no contact with the alleged victim in the case, even if that person is a friend or significant other; Sex-offender treament or counseling; and Other provisions designed to protect children.  The potential sanctions a court could impose are severe. The collateral consequences of sexting are severe as well. A conviction or delinquency for a sexting crime in Ohio can hinder educational and career advancement and restrict personal freedoms for a felony conviction. Sex Offender Registration Ohio law requires people convicted of certain sex crimes to register with the state’s sex offender registry. An adult convicted or a juvenile adjudicated a delinquent child for a sex crime involving a child must register as a convicted sex offender. A person on the sex offender registry must re-register his or her address every year. Ohio’s sex offender registry will classify the offender. The public has access to information about a convicted sex offender depending on the person’s classification level. Possible Defenses Anyone facing charges relating to sexting in Ohio might not see any way out of the situation. However, a dedicated Ohio criminal defense attorney will evaluate your case to determine any defenses that could help you avoid a conviction or minimize the severity of the punishment. A skilled Ohio criminal defense lawyer with experience defending sexting charges in Ohio could pursue options such as: Filing a motion to suppress evidence illegally seized by police, such as cell phone data and downloads; Arguing temporary or unintentional possession of obscene material depticing a child, especially if you did not solicit the material; Arguing entrapment if you were charged based on a police sting operation; or Negotiating a sentence reduction. The types of defenses argued depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Defenses such as consent do not apply when sexting with a minor. Your Ohio sexting defense lawyer will explain all your options to guide you toward the decision that is best for you. Come to Us With All Your Questions Our Ohio criminal defense lawyers are always available to answer any question you have concerning sexting or any other criminal matter. Call or text Gounaris Abboud today at 937-222-1515 to learn how our aggressive, compassionate, and dedicated criminal defense lawyers could help you preserve your freedom.

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how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost

If you or a loved one faces criminal charges in Ohio, you are probably weighing your options. Hiring the right Ohio criminal defense lawyers is one of the most important choices a person facing criminal charges must make. However, you might be wondering, How much does a criminal defense lawyer in Ohio cost? As experienced and compassionate Ohio criminal defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we understand that deciding who should defend you or your loved one is a significant and complicated decision. The decision is not one you should take lightly. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we offer free consultations so you can evaluate your options and make the best decision for you and your family. How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost? A criminal defense lawyer’s cost in Ohio varies. Something about each case makes it unique. Thus, consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer with vast experience in Ohio criminal law is the only appropriate method of determining a case’s cost.  We encourage you to ask all the questions you want when talking with us about our attorney fees.  Factors That Affect the Cost of a Lawyer Setting criminal defense attorney fees requires consideration of many factors. A lawyer’s experience defending criminal matters is but one factor.  The most significant factors that determine how much does a criminal lawyer cost are particular to the case. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer will take into account factors such as: The overall complexity of the charges; The severity of the charges; The potential penalties involved; The amount of investigation and research required; The number of pre-trial motions to file; and The possibility that the case could go to trial or resolve short of trial. An experienced criminal defense lawyer might want to know this information before discussing how much does a criminal defense lawyer in Ohio cost. How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Misdemeanor or Felony? The severity of the charges is one of the most critical factors a defense attorney should consider when discussing the criminal defense attorney cost. However, the seriousness of crimes between misdemeanors and felonies is not always clear cut.  Misdemeanors are typically less serious crimes. However, a conviction for a misdemeanor still carries the potential to serve jail time, pay large fines, and be on probation.  For example, most DUI or OVI charges in Ohio are misdemeanor offenses. However, a DUI or OVI conviction in Ohio requires mandatory license suspension, a potential jail sentence, and fines. A court cannot expunge a DUI or OVI conviction, and it will be on your record forever. DUI or OVI cases could be quite complicated. DUI or OVI cases require tremendous skill and dedicated advocacy to obtain a just result. A person facing felony charges typically has more at stake than a person facing misdemeanor charges. Convictions for felony charges in Ohio allow a judge to sentence the offender to state prison. Felony offenses are incredibly severe because they involve the potential for death or serious bodily harm to another.  How Will a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help My Case? Criminal defense lawyers have to represent a person charged with a crime vigorously. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Ohio who puts the client’s needs first will design a defense consistent with the accused’s best interests. A criminal defense attorney with significant experience will advocate for their client by arguing to reduce or dismiss the charges, negotiating a favorable result, or fighting the case at trial.  Is Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer Worth It? Occasionally people try to represent themselves in court. The result could be disastrous. Even though self-representation is a right, it is not advisable. Having an attorney who understands the Ohio criminal justice system’s nuances could help you either avoid a conviction altogether or receive a reduction in penalties.  The public defender in Ohio can accept cases when the accused cannot afford a lawyer and the court finds the person indigent. Public defenders are commonly overworked and have access to meager resources. You might not receive the attention or dedication you deserve from the public defender’s office if you qualify for counsel.  By hiring a superb Ohio criminal defense lawyer with a reputation for excellence, you will have access to resources and have attorneys dedicated to serving you. Our Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyers Have Answers To Any Questions You Have We design our average criminal defense attorney fees with our clients’ best interests at heart. At Gounaris Abboud, our criminal defense lawyers have over 50 years of combined legal experience fighting in Ohio courts. As former prosecutors, they can anticipate the state’s strategy and create a strong defense. Call 937-222-1515 today to speak with our Ohio criminal defense lawyers during a free and strictly confidential consultation.

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resisting arrest charge

Resisting arrest, also known as obstruction, can result in significant consequences. If you face resisting arrest charges, you are in need of an experienced attorney to help you fight for your rights.  What Is Resisting Arrest? In Ohio, it is illegal to resist or interfere with a police officer’s ability to make a lawful arrest. Prosecutors can charge resisting arrest as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. An individual who runs or hides from a law enforcement officer will likely be charged with a misdemeanor offense, while more aggressive forms of resistance, such as violent or threatening behavior, will likely result in felony resisting arrest charges.  Proving Resisting Arrest Charges  To convict a defendant accused of resisting arrest, the prosecutor must establish that they intentionally attempted to prevent law enforcement officers from completing a lawful arrest. The prosecutor must produce evidence of the defendant’s resistance. For example, they could show that the defendant ran and/or hid from officers or otherwise prevented the arrest. Prosecutors must also prove that the arrest was lawful.  Punishment for Resisting Arrest in Ohio If you are charged with resisting arrest, the penalty in Ohio will depend on the specific facts of your case and the specific charge. The penalty for resisting arrest increases if the charges include violence against the officers or the use of a weapon.  A misdemeanor resisting arrest charge is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000. A felony resisting arrest conviction can result in 6 to 18 months in prison and/or fines of up to $5,000.  Possible Defenses  If you were charged with resisting arrest in Ohio, you may be able to defend against the charges. Self-defense and unlawful arrest are possible defenses to resisting arrest.  Self-Defense  If the arresting officer used an unreasonable amount of force in attempting the arrest, you may be able to claim self-defense. Police officers are generally allowed to use a reasonable amount of force, if necessary, to accomplish an arrest. If you can prove the officer used force unjustifiably, you may be able to demonstrate that your resistance was necessary to defend yourself.  Unlawful Arrest  It is illegal to resist lawful arrest. If you can prove that the attempted arrest was invalid, e.g., lacked a warrant or probable cause, you may be able to defend against a resisting arrest charge.  How We Can Help  Gounaris Abboud, LPA, is committed to representing the legal needs of Ohio residents. Our attorneys strive to provide bold and courageous representation across a wide range of cases, including criminal defense, family law, and personal injury matters. Our attorneys bring significant experience and expertise to our cases and approach each client with dedication and respect. Contact us today or call 937-222-1515 for a free case analysis. Our attorneys will talk through the facts of your case with you and will do our best to represent you. 

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is embezzlement a felony

In Ohio, the charges and penalties for embezzlement depend on the value of the stolen property. If you or someone you know was charged with embezzlement, it is vital to speak with an experienced embezzlement attorney as soon as possible to determine what you should do next.  What Is Embezzlement? Essentially, embezzlement is theft. What differentiates embezzlement from other kinds of theft is the relationship between the person who steals and the property stolen. The relevant relationship is one of entrustment, meaning that the person is entrusted with monitoring or managing property for someone else. The relationship is not one of ownership. For example, a bank teller is entrusted with the money in bank accounts belonging to bank clients. If the teller steals money from the bank, they could be charged with embezzlement. Is embezzlement a felony? The specific charge depends on the facts of the case.  Charges You Face Following the structure of Ohio’s theft statute, embezzlement is charged according to the value of the property stolen. If the stolen property is worth less than $1,000, the charge is a misdemeanor in the first degree. Embezzlement of property worth more than $1,000 is a felony offense. If you were arrested for embezzlement in Ohio, you should consult with an experienced attorney to determine the specific charges you face. Embezzlement felonies and misdemeanors are serious charges.  Embezzlement Penalties in Ohio The penalties for an embezzlement conviction in Ohio depends on the nature of the charge. Jail time for embezzlement is common. Potential sentences for embezzlement are: For property valued less than $1,000, up to 180 days in jail and/or fines up to $1,000; For property valued between $1,000 and $7,500, up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $2,000; For property valued between $7,500 and $150,000, up to 18 months in prison and/or fines up to $5,000; For property valued between $150,000 and $750,000, up to 36 months in prison and/or fines up to $10,000; and  For property valued between $750,000 and $1,500,000, up to 11 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000.  Penalties associated with embezzlement can also differ depending on the type of property stolen. Embezzling firearms or dangerous ordinances is punishable by up to 36 months in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000. Embezzlement of motor vehicles, dangerous drugs, police dogs or horses, and anhydrous ammonia also carries specific penalties.  Possible Defenses If you were arrested for embezzlement, it is important to speak with an experienced embezzlement attorney to discuss possible defenses to your charge. Defenses to embezzlement are: The evidence is not sufficient to support the charge; You committed the crime under duress; or  You didn’t have the necessary intent to commit the crime.  Although not technically a defense, the passage of too much time may bar an embezzlement charge. The statute of limitations for an embezzlement charge is six years from the date the alleged embezzlement occurred or  could have been discovered.  How We Can Help  The attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, are dedicated to providing high-quality legal services to the citizens of Ohio. We represent clients in a variety of legal matters, including criminal defense, family law, and personal injury. Contact us today, by email or by calling 937-222-1515, for a free case analysis. We will walk you through your case, step by step, and discuss your options.

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failure to report a crime

Witnessing a crime can have significant consequences for the witness. If you witnessed a crime or know about a crime and don’t report it, you may be concerned about legal consequences, your safety, or your moral responsibility. Is It Illegal to Not Report a Crime? Generally, the law does not require a person to report crimes they witness. This is true even with advanced warning of the crime. However, there are instances in which witnessing a crime carries legal obligations and potential penalties.  Aiding a Crime While failing to report a crime is not, in itself, a crime, aiding or concealing the commission of a crime is illegal. Aiding a crime is criminal even if you weren’t present during its commission, if you helped to conceal the crime or helped the perpetrators avoid arrest. Ohio state law prohibits aiding a crime under the complicity statute. Potential penalties for a complicity conviction mirror those of the principal offense. For example, a person who aids in the commission of a burglary can face the same penalties as if they committed burglary.  Mandatory Reporting  Ohio, like other states, requires certain professionals to report abuse they witness or even hear about. Examples of professionals covered by mandatory reporting laws include attorneys, day care personnel, nurses, and social workers. A mandatory reporter has the option to report alleged abuse anonymously. Not reporting a crime under this rule can result in misdemeanor criminal charges and may impact the professional’s license.  Failure to Report a Crime Under Federal Law  Failing to report a crime is punishable under federal law in some instances. Failure to report a felony can result in federal charges if you know about the commission of a felony, the felony occurred, and the felony is a federal offense. This is known as misprision of a felony. The potential penalties for failing to report a federal felony offense include a fine of up to $150,000 and/or up to three years in federal prison. Misprision of a felony is difficult to prove, mostly because of the right to avoid self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment. Possible Defenses In Ohio, you can be charged with complicity even if the principal offender isn’t charged. Possible defenses against complicity include: Innocence, Lack of intent, Duress, and Abandonment. Abandonment requires you to establish that you withdrew and terminated your complicity before the crime was committed or attempted. Establishing this defense requires proving that the termination was a complete and voluntary withdrawal.  How We Can Help  Gounaris Abboud, LPA, is an Ohio-based law firm with decades of experience. We represent clients in criminal defense, family law, and personal injury cases. We pride ourselves as being bold and courageous advocates who will do the utmost to assist our clients. Contact us online today or call 937-22-1515 for a free case analysis. We will talk through your case with you and determine whether we are the best attorneys for your case. We will walk you through your options, step by step, and fight for your best outcome.

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mail theft punishment

Each year, the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivers over 100 billion pieces of mail to over 100 million addresses. With shopping done increasingly online, there has been a steady increase of mail theft across the country. In Ohio alone, there were over 2,000 reported mail theft losses in 2017. Mail theft penalties vary according to the severity of the crime.  Overview Because the USPS is a federal agency, stealing mail is a federal crime. Many states have also enacted laws that specifically prohibit mail theft. Even in those states that do not have specific mail theft laws in place, mail theft can be prosecuted under state theft and identity theft laws. Charges  Federal law prohibits taking any piece of mail that does not belong to you for any reason. The term “mail” includes letters, postal cards, packages, bags, and other such articles sent via USPS. This law applies to mail at the post office, in or outside of mailboxes, and to mail left unattended in other locations. Federal mail theft is a felony offense.  A federal mail theft conviction can also have consequences under Ohio state laws. The charges associated with stealing mail depend on what was stolen. If the stolen mail included personal identifying information, mail theft may be charged as felony identity theft. Examples of personal identifying information are:  Names, Social security numbers,  Dates of birth, Bank account information, Credit card information, Addresses,  Telephone numbers. Tax identification numbers, Driver license numbers, Passport information,  School or employee identification numbers, and Birth or death certificate information.  In addition to identity theft, Ohio state law prohibits mail theft under the general theft statutes. The type of theft again depends on what was stolen, particularly the value of what was stolen. If the stolen items are worth less than $1,000, the charge is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the value of stolen mail is $1,000 to $7,500 or the stolen property was a credit card, check, or other qualifying item, the theft is charged as a felony of the fifth degree.  Potential Penalties  Mail theft punishment A federal mail theft conviction is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000, in addition to potential restitution payments.  Mail theft penalties under Ohio state law depend on the specific crime charged. If mail theft is charged as identity theft under Ohio state law, the potential penalty is as many as 11 years in prison, depending on the class of persons whose identity was stolen. The potential penalty for a first degree misdemeanor theft is up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. For a fifth degree theft felony, the potential penalty is prison time of six to twelve months and a fine of up to $2,500.  Possible Defenses  Federal mail theft is a serious crime. If you were charged with federal mail theft, you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you have any available defenses. Possible defenses to federal mail theft include: You didn’t steal the mail; You didn’t know that the mail in your possession was stolen; or The evidence against you was obtained illegally.  In addition to defenses specific to federal mail theft, you can defend against state law theft charges by proving that you lacked the intent to steal the items in question.  How We Can Help  The Gounaris family has been serving the legal needs of Dayton and Miami Valley communities for fifty years. The attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, bring years of experience and significant expertise to each and every case. We ensure that our representation reflects the most recent innovations in the legal profession. Contact us online today  or call 937-222-1515 for a free case consultation. If we take your case, we will fight passionately for your best outcome.

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how to beat a solicitation charge

Solicitation is an Ohio criminal charge that is related to but separate from prostitution. If you have been accused of solicitation in Ohio, you are probably worried about jail time and potential harm to your reputation. Here, we will discuss Ohio solicitation laws and some important information about how to beat a solicitation charge.  What Is Solicitation? The Ohio State Code does not specifically define solicitation. Solicitation generally is the act of asking for or trying to obtain something from someone. The Ohio criminal code prohibits solicitation in a number of situations related to prostitution. Essentially, solicitation is asking another person to engage in sexual activity for hire. Ohio laws prohibit solicitation regardless of the age or mental capacity of the person being solicited. However, criminal penalties may be more severe for solicitation of a minor or any individual with a developmental disability. It is important to note that you can be charged with solicitation even if no sexual act took place. Ohio Solicitation Laws According to solicitation laws in Ohio, soliciting a person who is eighteen years of age or older is a third degree misdemeanor. Soliciting a person who is sixteen or seventeen is a fifth degree felony if you know the person’s age or are recklessly unaware of their age. Soliciting someone under sixteen is a third degree felony whether or not you know the person’s age, and soliciting a person with a developmental disability is also a third degree felony if you know or have reasonable cause to believe that the person has a disability. Ohio solicitation laws also specify more severe penalties for solicitation by a person who has received a positive HIV test. If you know that you have tested positive for HIV and you solicit sex from any person, you can be charged with a second or third degree felony, depending on when the alleged solicitation took place.  Penalties for Solicitation  A judge can sentence you to up to 60 days in jail for a third degree misdemeanor. They can also fine you up to $500.  Felony convictions for solicitation carry the possibility of more severe penalties. A fifth degree felony can result in six months to a year of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500. Sentencing guidelines allow between one and five years of jail time and/or a $10,000 fine for a third degree felony. The most severe penalty for solicitation after a positive HIV test can involve up to eight years in jail and a maximum fine of $15,000.  If you committed solicitation while in a motor vehicle, the court may suspend your license.  Possible Defenses There are a number of strategies that a skilled defense attorney may use to help you beat a solicitation charge. Burden of Proof For solicitation, as with other crimes, you are innocent until proven guilty. One defense strategy is to cast doubt on the prosecution’s allegations that you solicited sex for hire. If the prosecution cannot provide enough evidence of a clear agreement to exchange sex for payment, then you will not be found guilty. Misunderstanding It is possible that you were unaware that the person you were talking to was a sex worker. You may have thought they seemed interested in you and suggested that they come back to your room. You can defend against a solicitation charge by showing that there is no evidence that you discussed sex for hire. Entrapment You can argue entrapment if an undercover cop encouraged you to solicit sex acts from someone posing as a prostitute. Police sometimes run undercover operations in which one undercover officer pretends to be a sex worker while another attempts to persuade or encourage individuals to solicit the fake sex worker’s services.  A successful entrapment defense requires you to prove that you would not have engaged in solicitation without the undercover officer’s influence. This defense may depend on the words the officer used to convince you to attempt to pay for sex acts or on other circumstances. Entrapment is a complicated defense, and hiring a lawyer is important to successfully raise it. Will a Solicitation Charge Stay on My Record Forever? In Ohio, convictions for first, second, third, and fourth degree misdemeanors will become part of your permanent criminal record. Any felony conviction will also become part of your permanent record. Most Ohio employers can find public records of felony and first through fourth degree misdemeanor convictions. If you are convicted of solicitation, it can potentially impact your life long after the incident occurred. Eligible offenders in Ohio can have misdemeanor convictions as well as fourth and fifth degree felony convictions sealed or expunged from their permanent records. Expungement removes the record of the conviction, making it as if the conviction never happened, while sealing a record makes the record unavailable to the public. Both sealing and expungement prevent future employers from seeing convictions, giving offenders a fresh start.  Until recently, only first-time offenders were eligible for expungement. As of 2018, you may seek expungement if you have any number of misdemeanor convictions and five or fewer felony convictions. You must wait between one and five years before seeking expungement depending on the level of the offense you are trying to expunge.  Why It Is Important to Hire a Lawyer A solicitation conviction can stay on your permanent record and prevent you from getting hired, obtaining certain professional licenses, being approved for certain types of housing, and more. These collateral consequences can be more harmful than any jail time or fine. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer to talk about how to beat a solicitation charge and avoid these consequences. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with a violation of Ohio solicitation laws.  How We Can Help The attorneys at Gounaris Abboud are ready to help you beat your solicitation charge. Gounaris Abboud attorneys have decades of experience in criminal defense and have earned top ratings from respected legal publications. Call or text...

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what-is-lewd-and-lascivious-behavior

We understand that a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior is often confusing, frightening, and embarrassing. The process of addressing the situation can be overwhelming. Let’s look at some of the basic questions you might have regarding the legal implications of lewd and lascivious behavior and whether you may be at risk for breaking the law. What Is Lewd and Lascivious Behavior? Lewd and lascivious behavior is obscene acts done for sexual arousal or to shock and arouse another person without their consent. In Ohio, the criminal justice system also refers to these acts as indecent behavior.  What Are Examples of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior? You are at risk of being charged with a crime when you engage in lewd and lascivious behavior. These crimes cover a range of actions. Some examples include: Exposing your private parts in public; Engaging in sexual conduct or masturbation in public; Secretly looking into a private area to view another person; or Sending a nude picture of yourself to a minor. Ohio considers each of these against public decency and illegal. Indecent exposure, peeping, and lewd phone calls are some of the more common ways people break the law. Will I Be on The Sex Offender Registry If I Break the Law? Whether a conviction for a lewd and lascivious act results in a requirement to register as a sex offender depends upon the seriousness of offense, your prior record, and other considerations. In Ohio, a lewd and lascivious act may mean registration for life, 25 years, or 15 years. Registration is a significant punishment. All 50 states and Washington, D.C., maintain publicly accessible sex offender registration websites, which typically collect the offenders’ names, photos, fingerprints, addresses, and employment information.  What Are The Penalties For Lewd And Lascivious Behavior? Sex offender registration is only one of the many possible punishments for lewd and lascivious acts. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, additional penalties range from fines to years of imprisonment. If your act involves any of the following, the Ohio courts will probably punish you more harshly: A weapon, A repeat offense, A video recording, or A victim who is a minor. It would be best if you discussed all aspects of your case with an attorney. They will be able to apply the facts to the charges and explain your rights and possible consequences.  Are There Defenses in Lewd and Lascivious Behavior Cases? Though lewd and lascivious acts are considered against public decency, they are not acts for which there is no defense. Defense attorneys will consider all available avenues to assist you. They will investigate any illegal police conduct that could lead to dismissal of the charges, work to gather facts to prove you innocent if you are wrongfully accused, and try to have the charges reduced to lessen your sentence if a conviction is likely.  Lewd and lascivious behaviors can result in social stigma, job loss, and family discord. You want an experienced defense attorney specializing in lewd and lascivious behavior cases who will sympathize with how the charge impacts your life. A lawyer with experience in this field knows the gravity of the situation and can provide a strong legal defense. We Can Help Please call Gounaris Abboud, LPA, immediately at 937-222-1515 if you are facing charges related to lewd and lascivious behavior. Our experienced attorneys provide exceptionally high quality legal representation. We will listen to your side of the case, gather information to assist in your defense, and be your voice in dealing with the police and courts. At Gounaris Abboud, we understand how hard it is, emotionally and legally, to face these charges. We will talk to you without judgment. Contact us today for a free case analysis. 

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