Have you or a loved one been charged with a felony in Ohio? If so, you’ll want to know what to expect from your preliminary hearing. When a defendant is charged with a felony in Ohio, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled in the local municipal court. According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), a preliminary hearing determines if there is probable cause to hold the defendant. This hearing also determines if the criminal case should move forward in the legal process. Here, our criminal defense team answers questions about what to expect at a preliminary hearing in Ohio. Ohio Preliminary Hearing: Understanding the Basics What is a Preliminary Hearing? A preliminary hearing is a type of screening procedure. At the hearing, there will be a review of the prosecution’s evidence to ensure that there is reasonable cause to hold a defendant in jail or apply bond conditions. What is the Timeline for a Preliminary Hearing? When a preliminary hearing is used instead of a grand jury, it will occur right after an arrest. Prosecutors must hold a preliminary hearing within ten days if the defendant is being held in custody or within fifteen days if the defendant was released from custody. To protect your rights, consult with an experienced Dayton, OH criminal defense lawyer before your preliminary hearing. What Actually Happens at a Preliminary Hearing in Ohio? A preliminary hearing proceeds in the same way as a trial. First, the prosecution has an opportunity to lay out its evidence. For the defendant, this is a critical first look at the prosecution’s case. Under Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code § 2937.12), the prosecution must prove probable cause. If they fail to do so, they defendant can petition for discharge after the hearing. How Should I Prepare for a Preliminary Hearing? If you have a preliminary hearing in Ohio, seek representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will be able to build a proper defense strategy for the trial. Get Help From Our Dayton, OH Criminal Defense Attorneys Right Away At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our Ohio criminal defense lawyers are strong advocates for our clients. If you or your loved one was charged with a crime, we are here to help. To set up a free, no-obligation analysis of your case, please contact our law firm today. With offices located in Dayton and Springboro, we represent defendants throughout the region.

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difference between federal and state crimes

Facing criminal charges causes a lot of anxiety. After being charged with an offense, you need an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney on your side. How do you know how to find the best lawyer for your case when you don’t understand your charges? What’s the difference between federal and state crimes? There are both common questions that we’ll answer for you below Learning More About the Difference Between Federal and State Crimes Understanding the difference between state and federal felony charges can be confusing. Many crimes can be charged either as state or felony offenses. State and federal courts often have concurrent jurisdiction for a crime, meaning that state or federal authorities can arrest and prosecute someone. Ohio state criminal offenses have different elements of the crime than federal charges. State convictions may also carry different penalties under Ohio law than federal convictions. State Felony vs. Federal Felony Charges in Ohio What are federal charges? When can a person expect to face federal charges instead of state charges? There are many situations where a crime may be a federal offense rather than a state offense. The following are the most common reasons that a person faces federal charges instead of state charges under Ohio law: Crime occurs on federal property; Crime involves interstate connections, or movement across state borders (i.e., from Ohio into Pennsylvania); Crime involves a federal government agency or investigation by a federal government agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); or Crime is part of a larger operation or investigation by a federal agency or an investigation that involves individuals in more than one state. Were you recently charged with a crime? If you were recently charged with a crime text us the details   Text Us on Mobile For Free Case Analysis Examples of Federal Crimes vs. State Crimes Examples of types of crimes that are charged as federal crimes include: Weapons charges; White-collar financial crimes; Computer crimes; Internet sex crimes; Organized crime; and Drug trafficking Examples of crimes that are charged under state law rather than federal law include: Homicide; Robbery; Burglary; Assault and battery; Drug possession (small amounts); and Theft offenses. In some situations, crimes that are usually charged under state law can be charged as federal offenses. For example, if a robbery or burglary charge is related to a large-scale criminal organization that has been operating across state lines, the charges will be federal. Seek Advice from an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney If you have questions about criminal charges in Ohio or need help building a defense, our Ohio criminal defense attorney is here to help. Contact Gounaris Abboud to get started on your defense today. FAQ Section

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A criminal record can have a detrimental impact on both your present circumstances and your future opportunities. Any past charges and convictions listed on your criminal record have the potential to damage your social relationships and limit your employment and educational opportunities. Fortunately, as of October 29, 2018, Ohio is expanding its expungement laws under ORC § 2953.32. An expungement serves as a legal pardon that seals away specific charges and convictions from your criminal record. While the record still exists, you can legally claim the sealed offense never occurred. Your criminal history won’t even show up on background checks unless you’re applying for a government position or a caregiving role. According to ORC § 2953.32, you may be able to permanently expunge certain nonviolent and nonsexual misdemeanors and/or felonies. Per the new law, you may be able to: Expunge up to five fourth and fifth-degree felonies Expunge unlimited misdemeanors However, the following exceptions may limit your expungement options: Your convictions can’t be violent or sexually-oriented felonies Your misdemeanor offenses can’t be violence-related You can’t have any first, second, or third-degree felonies This is very exciting news for people with criminal records and criminal defense attorneys! Anyone with prior convictions related to theft and drugs can now have a second chance at life without being haunted by the deeds of their past. However, if your record isn’t eligible under the new law, you can still benefit from older expungement laws. It’s important to discuss your case with a seasoned criminal defense attorney to learn which options best benefit your circumstances. Schedule a Consultation At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we are thrilled for the many opportunities this new law provides our fellow Ohioans. If you have any questions about ORC § 2953.32, your eligibility, or the expungement process, contact our Dayton criminal defense attorneys today. Call Gounaris Abboud, LPA at 937-222-1515 to schedule a consultation.

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Assault charges can vary greatly, depending on the circumstance of the crime and the harm inflicted on the supposed victim. If you are accused of assault, it is important that you act fast and find out what you can about the charges laid against you, and seek competent legal counsel to begin building a solid defense. An assault conviction could lead to jail or prison time, probation, community service, costly fines, a criminal record, and other penalties that could severely impact your life. But, what exactly can you do to protect yourself from assault charges? When faced with criminal charges, even for violent crimes like assault, there are a number of ways your attorney might build your defense. 1. Prove Self-Defense Considered one of the most common types of defense against assault charges, claiming the defendant’s actions were in self-defense is one way in which he or she could seek the dismissal of all charges. To prove the accused acted in self-defense, he or she must have had the threat of unlawful harm against them, an honest fear of that harm being inflicted, and there must have been no chance of escaping the situation. Also, they accused must not have provoked or harmed the other person involved. Similarly to self-defense, to prove the defendant acted in defense of others he or she must have had a genuine fear of harm to another person, or group of people, to justify the resulting actions. 2. Defense of Property There are also laws in place to protect those accused of assault if they were defending their home or property. The force used must be considered reasonable in comparison to the threat, which is open to the interpretation of the court. This defense is usually used when a homeowner defends his or her property against invasion or theft but can be applied to other situations as well. 3. Prove Consent Another way to defend against assault charges is to prove the supposed victim consented to the acts in question. If the act was consented to, it is not legally considered assault. Some courts are more strict with this defense than others, sometimes considering any act seen as harmful to be a violation of public policy. 4. Prove Innocence If the accused is innocent, his or her case could be defended through the use of an alibi. If the defendant was elsewhere when the crime was committed, this would most likely prove innocence. A criminal defense attorney may also be able to prove innocence by showing any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused. 5. Plea Bargain In certain circumstances, a plea bargain proves to be the best course of action, especially when other options could result in heftier penalties. When the stakes are particularly high and other defense options are unavailable to you, it is sometimes best for the defense attorney to discuss alternatives with the prosecution, where the two may be able to agree to lesser charges with a lighter sentence if the accused pleads guilty. While all of these defensive strategies can be strong in their own right, each case is different and should be evaluated by an experienced legal professional. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA our criminal defense attorneys will review the circumstances of your case and come up with the best course of action to effectively defend your case and protect your future. To get started,contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA for a free case evaluation.

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Sobriety checkpoints are a tool commonly used by law enforcement in an attempt to spot individuals who are driving under the influence (DUI). As with any police encounter, it is critical to understand your rights in order to stay safe. If you make the wrong move at a checkpoint, you could end up in trouble with the law, even if you have done nothing wrong. Below, we outline what to do and what not to do in the event that you find yourself stopped at a DUI checkpoint. What Not to Do During a DUI Stop Do not consent to a vehicle search: Unless the police possess probable cause or a warrant, they require your consent to perform a search of you or your vehicle. In the case of a routine traffic stop, drivers are typically not singled out and thus it is extremely unlikely that police will have the legal foundation to conduct a search. Telling a police officer “no” may be uncomfortable or may even feel unlawful but you are well within your rights to do so. Do not take a field sobriety test: If the officer has reason to believe that you have been drinking, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. The three tests commonly administered are the one leg stand test, the walk and turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. What law enforcement may not want you to know is that all three tests are optional and you cannot be punished for the refusal to participate. Sobriety tests are not meant for a driver to prove their innocence. Do not take the breathalyzer: A breathalyzer given before an arrest is another example of a police action that requires your consent. While it is possible that denying this test may raise an officer’s suspicion, if he or she is planning to arrest you, there may be little you can do to stop it. Participation only serves to give the police evidence to build a case against you. It is important to note that the chemical tests given after an arrest are a separate animal. Refusal of a chemical test at the police station can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. What to Do During a DUI Stop Limit what you say: If an officer pulls you over at a DUI stop, it is likely that he or she will ask questions about what you have been doing. Remember, law enforcement may be looking for signs of driver intoxication and any information you give them may be used against you. It can be best to limit what you say or to remain silent. If the police continue their line of questioning, you can state that you are exercising your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Be polite: While you do not have to answer every question a police officer asks, it can be helpful to remain courteous. At the very least, by remaining calm and collected, you can show the officer that you have nothing to hide. Furthermore, it can reduce any chance that your behavior will be interpreted as resistant or aggressive. At a DUI stop, cars are typically chosen randomly and police may want to check in with you and move on to the next person in line. Remaining calm can help the process to move along quickly. Comply with basic requests: While you do not have to perform field sobriety tests or answer detailed questions about your business, you should cooperate with basic requests. For example, if an officer asks you to provide identifying information, you should do so. However, when law enforcement asks to take actions such as a search of your vehicle, you can withhold your consent. Contact an attorney: In the event that you are accused of DUI or another crime as the result of a sobriety checkpoint, do not waste any time in securing legal representation. A knowledgeable attorney will know your rights and can advise you on your legal options for overcoming any charges you face. You have the right to an attorney and you do not have to deal with the police without your lawyer present. Get the DUI Defense You Deserve! While following the tips above can help you to stay on the right side of the law, if you are charged with driving under the influence, it is vital to take legal action immediately. You may have only several days in which to contest a license suspension and our Dayton DUI attorney can help you to protect your driving privileges. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have substantial experience helping clients to defend their rights and have been named to the list of Top 100 DUI Attorneys in Ohio for our legal ability. Get the aggressive defense you need and contact our firm today. Call 937-222-1515 and request a FREE case evaluation to learn about your legal options

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In recent months, and even in recent years, there has been much media attention on gun laws all across the country. Despite the news feeds and stories about firearms, their responsible handling, and their potential dangers, clarity on actual gun laws is difficult to find. In order to help our clients make sense of pertinent firearm laws and any weapons charges they might be facing, our Dayton criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud have compiled some of the basic information that should be known by everyone in Ohio here in this blog. Please give it a read if you want to know Ohio State’s gun possession, permit, and carry laws. If you need legal representation, you are encouraged to contact us without delay to set up your free case evaluation as soon as possible. Ohio Gun Laws 101 Ohio State legislation currently (circa March 2016) does not require a permit to purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, nor does it require mandatory registration for any such firearm. Owners also do not require licensing, and only handguns require a permit to carry openly in public. If you want to carry a concealed weapon of any kind, either on your person or in your automobile, you will need a specific concealed weapon permit. In order to qualify for a concealed weapon permit, you must be: 21 years of age or older. A legal United States resident. Live in Ohio State for at least 45 days. Live in your specific Ohio State county for at least 30 days. Able to complete a firearm safety and training course. Able to prove you read a firearms safety manual provided by local sheriff departments. In order to be eligible for your concealed weapon permit, you must also not be: A fugitive of the law. Convicted of or facing felony charges. Convicted of or facing misdemeanor charges involving violence or drugs. Convicted of resisting arrest within the last 10 years. Considered mentally dangerous. Subject to a current order of protection or restraint. Ohio State will also recognize an official concealed carry license or permit from any other state in the union. If you are convicted of carrying a concealed firearm with no valid permit, you could face: $1,000 fine Six months in jail Firearm safety retraining Our Lawyers Can Help If you still have questions about gun laws in Ohio, or if need help with a legal issue relevant to a weapon you own or control, call 937-222-1515 to connect with our Dayton weapons charges lawyers.

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T.M. is a 25-year-old male with no prior criminal history. On or about January 9, 2014, he was stopped and arrested for possession of heroin. In Ohio, a possession of heroin charge is a felony of the fifth degree, which is punishable up to 12 months imprisonment and a $2,500 fine if convicted. On behalf of T.M, Attorney Antony Abboud filed a Motion for Intervention in Lieu (ILC), pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code Section 2951.041. T.M was given a mandated drug assessment by the courts, who ultimately decided that he was a good candidate for ILC. On April 1, T.M was granted ILC and all proceedings in his case were ordered stayed. Once T.M successfully completes the standard court drug program, all of his charges related to the possession of heroin, including his arrest record, will get expunged and sealed from his record. If you have been charged with a similar offense, get in touch with our firm.

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D.H. was under the supervision of the Ohio Adult Parole Authority after serving three years in a state penitentiary for a conviction of Aggravated Robbery. On or about March 25, 2014, D.H. was charged with a parole violation on the basis that he possessed a firearm. If he was found to be in violation of his parole, D.H. could have served a sanction of up to 270 days of incarceration. On March 13, 2014, D.H. was in a vehicle that was pulled over by police officers who searched the vehicle and found a loaded firearm. D.H. was not allowed to be around firearms. As a result, D.H. was immediately arrested and was given a parole violation sanction and was transported to the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, where he awaited his hearing. D.H. hired Attorney Antony Abboud who attended his parole violation hearing at the Correction Reception Center on April 8, 2014. Attorney Abboud was able to convince the hearing officer that D.H. did not commit a violation because he did not have knowledge that there was a firearm in the vehicle. As a result, he was found not guilty of the violation and was released from prison.

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Our client was served with a Petition for a Stalking Protection Order in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Our client was accused of making threats of harm with a sexual motivation against the Petitioner. Our client was planning to appear at the hearing without counsel, hoping that the Petitioner would not actually follow through with the hearing. Fortunately, our client thought better of appearing at the hearing alone and decided to hire our firm to defend against these allegations. The Petitioner showed up to the hearing with several witnesses. After a hearing lasting several hours, the Court dismissed the Petition for a Stalking Protection Order. It is very easy for a person to file for Protection Order. It can be very difficult to defend against one. If a Petition for a Protection Order has been filed against you, you have rights. Contact our firm for a free consultation.

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The legal team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA is proud to announce that our very own Nicholas G. Gounaris was recently selected for inclusion on the 2014 list of “Top Rated Attorneys in Ohio”—which you will find in the January issue of Cincinnati Magazine. Only a very small percentage of Dayton’s attorneys are honored with this distinction each year, as all nominees must have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. Rather, they are subjected to a rigorous multi-phase selection process that includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area. When looking at Mr. Gounaris’ extensive list of achievements, it comes as no surprise that he was honored as one of Ohio’s top-rated attorneys. Not only is he an active member of numerous associations, including the Dayton Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Miami Valley Trial Lawyers Association and the Federal Bar Association, but he even has experience as a former prosecutor and acting Judge—making him an invaluable asset to our team. If you are interested in finding out how Mr. Gounaris or any of the other Dayton criminal defense lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA can assist you, contact the firm today. To speak with a member of our legal team about your case, call today at  937-222-1515  or fill out a free case evaluation form.

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