ohio white collar crimes lawyer

If you face charges for a white-collar crime, it is important you understand exactly what is at stake. While most white-collar crimes are non-violent in nature, that doesn’t mean that they are not taken seriously. In many cases, those convicted of a white-collar crime face the possibility of a jail sentence. There are many types of white-collar crimes, many of which can be prosecuted under state or federal law. In this article, the Dayton, Ohio criminal defense lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA will go over the ins and outs of white-collar crimes. If you have questions, please contact us today,  What Are White-Collar Crimes? A white-collar crimes definition isn’t exact. But generally speaking, the term white-collar crime is used to refer to non-violent financial crimes. The name comes from the fact that, often, those accused of a white-collar crime are executives or high-ranking “white-collar” workers. There are many types of white-collar crimes, including the following. Embezzlement Embezzlement is when someone misappropriates money or other property that was entrusted to that person. For example, a stockbroker who uses her clients’ money for personal purposes may be committing embezzlement. Insurance Fraud Insurance fraud involves making a false claim with an insurance company or providing false information. For example, a doctor who files a claim with an insurance company for a treatment she never provided may be committing insurance fraud. Money Laundering Money laundering involves taking illegally obtained money and making it appear as though it came from a legitimate source. Often, money laundering involves “washing” the money through a cash-heavy business. Investment Fraud Investment fraud describes a broad range of white-collar crimes, all of which are intended to bilk investors from their money. For example, pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, advance-fee fraud, and cryptocurrency fraud are all types of investment fraud. These are just a few of the different white-collar crimes; there are many more. However, as a general rule, a white-collar crime involves a professional person using false or misleading statements to gain access to another’s money or property. It is very important to understand the type of white-collar crime you face. It is also essential you understand the difference between state and federal white-collar crimes. Are White-Collar Crimes State of Federal Offenses? Many types of white-collar crime can be charged in state or federal court. As a general rule, if your conduct allegedly violates state law, state prosecutors will charge you in state court. However, if your conduct involves an alleged violation of federal law, federal prosecutors will likely charge you in federal court. In many criminal cases, state and federal prosecutors both have the ability to charge a defendant’s conduct. This happens when a defendant’s actions allegedly violate both state and federal law. However, state courts handle the vast majority of criminal offenses. That said, white-collar crime ends up in federal court more often than many other types of crime. There are a few reasons for this. Complexity White-collar criminal prosecutions often involve complex financial schemes. It can be very expensive and labor-intensive to investigate these offenses. The federal government has far more resources than the state government. Thus, the federal government may pick up a case if it believes the state government lacks the resources to mount an effective prosecution. Additionally, if a case involves an investigation that spans multiple states, it may be more difficult for a single state prosecutor’s office to bring the charges. Interstate Activity The United States Constitution places limits on the types of cases that federal courts can hear. One of the categories of cases that fall within a federal court’s jurisdiction is those involving actions committed in more than one state. Many white-collar crimes involve interstate commerce. For example, using the internet, phone lines, or the mail can trigger federal court jurisdiction. Notoriety Federal prosecutors are more selective in choosing their cases because there are fewer federal prosecutors than their state counterparts. However, the federal government tends to focus on those cases that are note-worthy or have very high stakes. Knowing whether you face white-collar state crimes or federal white-collar crimes is important. It can determine your best defense strategy as well as the punishment you face if convicted. Thus, it is essential you work with an attorney who is experienced in handling state and federal white-collar crimes. Are You Facing a White-Collar Criminal Prosecution? If you face white-collar crimes in state or federal court, it is imperative that you reach out to a dedicated criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our attorneys handle all types of criminal offenses, including white-collar crimes, theft offenses, drug crimes, and more. We routinely handle cases in both state and federal court and work with our clients to develop compelling defenses to the charges they face. We also make ourselves available 24/7 to answer your questions or discuss your case whenever something comes up. o learn more and to schedule, a free consultation with an Ohio criminal defense lawyer, call us at 937-222-1515. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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If you have a child who has run into trouble with the law in Ohio, you are probably worried about what could happen to them. It’s only natural to worry about their well-being. In addition to many worries a parent has when their child runs into trouble, you are probably wondering about the punishment for juvenile crimes.  It might help you to learn that juvenile crimes and punishment are different from adult punishment. However, even if the punishment is less severe in juvenile court, the wrong result could still have a tremendously negative impact on your child’s future. That’s why your child might need a strong advocate to help them achieve the best result possible. Gounaris Abboud, LPA—one of Ohio’s most recognized criminal defense law firms—has tremendous experience helping young people minimize their trouble after getting arrested for juvenile crimes in Ohio. Contact us today to get started.  What Is the Juvenile Crimes Definition in Ohio? As you may know, the State can prosecute some children as adults. Therefore, you should understand what a juvenile crime is in Ohio. A juvenile or “child” is a person under 18. Therefore, any child who commits a crime must go to juvenile court. If a case starts out in juvenile court, that court retains jurisdiction over the case until the child turns 21. The court keeps jurisdiction over the disposition of the case unless the court transfers the case or the child is deemed a serious youthful offender. Juvenile courts hear misdemeanor and felony cases as well as juvenile traffic cases. However, juvenile courts do not find a child guilty or not guilty. Instead, they use the word “delinquent” unless the child faces trial in adult court.  What Are the Most Common Juvenile Crimes? Unfortunately, some juvenile offenders face charges for very serious crimes like murder and rape. Those crimes are not that common. The most common juvenile crimes include: Assault and battery; Possession of alcohol as a minor;  Disorderly conduct; Disturbing a school assembly; Possession of narcotics; and Underage driving.  As you can see, some crimes are ones of status. In other words, an adult cannot commit some of these crimes that, by their very definition, are only crimes when minors commit them. Sadly, some juveniles get into serious trouble. They can face charges such as: Drug trafficking; Weapons possession; Driving under the influence; Sexual assault; and  Murder. These are some examples of adult charges juveniles might face in Ohio.  How Does the Court Determine Juvenile Crimes and Punishment? Ohio juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation. The assumption here is that when a minor breaks the law, it is likely related to some problems going on in their young lives. Juvenile justice aims to help identify and fix the problem before it’s too late, and the child becomes an adult offender. The hope is they can grow up to be productive adults by avoiding the pitfalls and revolving doors of the adult criminal justice system. The court strives to rehabilitate youthful offenders by looking after their physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual well-being. However, this doesn’t mean that children get off without any punishment whatsoever.  Punishment for juvenile crimes is a graduated process. Courts start with the goal of imposing the most lenient penalty possible, depending on the charge. Sanctions then increase as the severity of the crime increases, with the most severe punishment ending in detention at a locked facility. The court has to consider public safety as well as the rehabilitation of the child. That essentially means that the punishment must fit the crime. It can be a delicate balance.  Dispositional Hearing Juvenile judges determine the appropriate penalty for juvenile cases at a dispositional hearing. The judge tries to get as much information about the child as possible before they work to balance all of these competing goals. Judges will want information such as the child’s family history, school history, and perhaps even medical history if it’s relevant. The judge will review the materials and assess the child, the crime, the situation, and the competing goals mentioned above before making an informed decision. Then the judge will hand down a sentence and dispose of the case.   The sentences will range depending on the allegations. However, typical juvenile punishments include: Probation; House arrest; Curfew; Mental health treatment; Counseling;  Community service; and Detention in a juvenile detention facility. A court can send your child to the Ohio Department of Youth Services after a delinquent finding for either a felony or misdemeanor. Detention for a misdemeanor is a maximum of three months.  What Is the Punishment for Juvenile Crimes if the Court Tries Your Child As an Adult? The severity of the offenses brought against your child, as well as their criminal history, will determine whether their case ends up in juvenile or adult court. The first category of offenses that could result in your child facing trial as an adult include: Murder, Aggravated murder,  Attempted murder, or Attempted aggravated murder. Your child could go to adult court for these charges if they are 16 years old or if they are 14 or 15 and have an adjudication of delinquency on their record for another serious crime. The second category of offenses that can be heard in adult court are: Manslaughter, Rape, Kidnapping, Burglary, Arson, or  Felonious sexual penetration.  Your child might be tried as an adult if the State charges them with one of these crimes and they have a prior criminal record, or the current allegations involve the use of a firearm.  Contact a Juvenile Defense Attorney Today Contacting an experienced Dayton, Ohio juvenile crimes defense attorney from Gounaris Abboud, LPA could give your child a chance to avoid punishment or suffer minimal punishment for their juvenile acts. We are a firm that has been recognized by our peers for our excellent work. We have been included in the Ohio Super Lawyers list, and we’ve been ranked in the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” list. You can trust us with your...

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bail and bonds

If you find yourself under arrest, you may hear references to bail and bonds. Most people think those words mean the same thing, but they don’t. In fact, they have distinct meanings in the Ohio criminal justice system, and understanding them could mean the difference between waiting behind bars or going home until you go to trial. You need the help of knowledgeable and experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyers to understand the difference between bonds vs bail. Gounaris Abboud, LPA, has award-winning criminal defense lawyers who thoroughly understand the Ohio legal system. They have tremendous success getting their clients free on bail. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.  What Are Bail and Bonds? Bail is a court order that sets the monetary terms of release for a person accused of a crime. The primary purpose of bail is to assure the accused appears in court to answer the charges. Judges can add conditions of bail to ensure the safety of victims or to address a substance abuse problem. Bail orders only last until the case ends.  Ohio bail bonds are agreements other people enter into with the court to get you out of jail. Therefore, a bond is like an insurance policy to make sure you go to court when you have to, as well as abide by the terms of your release.  When Does a Judge Set Bail Bonds in Ohio? The charges you have will dictate when bail can be set. Typically, the court will set your bail at your first court appearance. The prosecutor can ask for bail at your arraignment, and your lawyer can oppose the prosecutor’s motion.  This is when having a highly-skilled lawyer can help you out of real trouble. You will be held in jail if you cannot afford your bail. Therefore, you need someone who gives you the best shot at freedom.  Your lawyer can argue against setting bail altogether. Additionally, your lawyer can argue that setting non-financial conditions are sufficient in your case. Under Rule 46 of the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, those conditions may include: Regulating or preventing contact with the victim; Submitting to random drug or alcohol screens; Remaining drug and alcohol-free; Attending drug treatment if necessary; Ordering home confinement, with or without work release, while wearing an electronic monitoring device; Permitting a person to take custody of the accused to ensure the accused returns to court; Preventing contact with the victim and witnesses; and Ordering the accused to stay away from specific locations. The judge can also make any order that promotes the safety of the people involved in the case. Such an order could include surrendering all firearms.  Judges must set the least restrictive conditions possible. Otherwise, the court is punishing someone even though the law presumes them innocent. How Do Bail Bonds Work in Ohio? Issues surrounding bail and bail reform have been in the news lately. Some states have outlawed the setting of cash bail except in rare circumstances. Ohio has not gone that far. Instead, Ohio has adopted a new rule that presumes the judge will set the least restrictive bail on a defendant.  Recognizance Bond In most circumstances, the least restrictive means of bail is a recognizance bond. On occasion, the court might require a “signature bond,” meaning the defendant must sign a document promising to appear in court and keep the peace. The court might place a dollar amount on the signature bond. For example, the court may release you on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond. That essentially means you will owe the court $1,000 if you miss court or violate a condition of your release.  Appearance Bond An appearance bond is also known as a “ten percent bond.” Under this bail arrangement, you pay 10% of the total bail to the court in exchange for your release. The court has to order this type of arrangement.  Under Ohio law, you get 90% of the appearance bond money back, and the court holds 10% to satisfy fees and fines at the end of the case. However, if you violate a condition of your release, you could lose the money deposited with the court. Moreover, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest, and the prosecutor could charge you with bail jumping if you violated the terms.  Cash or Surety Bond You can secure your freedom by posting the amount of bail the court orders. For instance, if your bail is $10,000, you pay $10,000 cash to the court registry in exchange for your freedom until your court date.  Bonds, or “bail bonds,” are promises to the court made by another person on your behalf to secure your release. Third parties called bail bondsmen often post bonds. The bail bondsman or bail agent agrees to accept responsibility for your appearance in court. You promise to pay the bail agent a fee in exchange for your release. The fee is 10% of the bail amount. Thus, if you have $10,000 bail and cannot afford to pay it, you could hire a bail agent who will post $10,000 for you. In turn, you pay the bond agent $1,000 plus fees and costs. We can help you access professionals who will post bail bonds in Dayton, Ohio. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have numerous contacts in the community, so we can help secure your release quickly.  Get Help for Bail and Bonds Immediately The abundance of resources is one of the things that helps Gounaris Abboud, LPA, stand out among other Ohio law firms. We direct all of our resources into our clients’ cases to give them the best chance at a favorable outcome. If you or a loved one faces an arraignment and fears the court might order bail, call our Ohio criminal defense attorneys immediately at 937-222-1515 or contact us online. We are available 24/7 to take your call. Our responsiveness to our clients’ needs is just one of the reasons we consistently receive awards for outstanding advocacy and client...

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criminal justice process

The criminal justice process is intimidating and challenging to follow. That’s why you need a highly experienced criminal trial lawyer to protect your rights. There’s simply too much at stake to try to tackle this process on your own. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience fighting for the accused. We understand the criminal process in Ohio because we are in court every day. Contact us today if you need immediate assistance from one of our award-winning criminal defense lawyers. What Is the Criminal Investigations Process in Ohio? The criminal justice process starts when someone calls the police to report a crime. Officers begin work identifying the person who committed the crime right away. As they look for physical evidence and talk to witnesses, a picture unfolds. Depending on the situation, the police might close the case with an immediate arrest, or they might continue investigating.  The police can arrest you if they have probable cause. Probable cause is the lowest standard of proof used in the criminal justice system. Probable cause exists if a reasonable person would believe a crime occurred and the person identified committed the crime.  What Happens After an Arrest? The police will bring you in for booking. They will fingerprint you, take a mugshot, check your criminal background, and confirm your name and date of birth.  The police might ask you to give an interview. You should know that the police must give you the Miranda warnings if they ask you any questions beyond normal booking questions. They can ask you things like your name, age, and where you live, but you are under no obligation to answer questions about the crime or the investigation. So the Miranda warning reminds you of important rights. Use those rights because they protect your freedom. Call an experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer before speaking with the police.  You will then go to court for your first appearance after booking. There may be a bond that you need to post to secure your attendance in court.  What Is the Ohio Criminal Trial Process? The criminal trial process begins with your first appearance in court. This is called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge tells you the charges, informs you of your trial rights, and asks for a plea. The court might also set bail depending on your specific circumstances. The judge could impose a cash bail and add conditions like wearing a GPS ankle bracelet and order you to stay away from certain people or locations while your case proceeds through the criminal trial process. What Options Do You Have When the Judge Asks for Your Plea? You have three options when the judge inquires about your plea. They are: Not Guilty, Guilty, or  Nolo contendere (No Contest). Having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney represent you at your arraignment can help you avoid making huge mistakes that are not easily fixed. Entering a not guilty plea means that you contest the allegations the state made against you. Pleading guilty is just the opposite. It means that you do not contest the allegations and are the person guilty of the alleged crime. Finally, pleading no contest means that you do not wish to contest the facts of the case but are not admitting guilt. The judge will sentence you after your guilty or no contest plea.  Pleading not guilty means the case proceeds toward a trial. However, you do not get an immediate trial. You get to see the evidence the prosecution has so you can prepare a defense. This is often called the “discovery phase” of the case. What Is a Preliminary Hearing? A preliminary hearing is a crucial step in the criminal justice process. You have a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of your first court appearance if you have felony charges.  A preliminary hearing is like a trial, except you don’t have a right to a jury at this time. The prosecution will present evidence to the judge. Your attorney will cross-examine witnesses and may even present evidence in your favor.  The judge will determine whether probable cause exists to take your case to trial.  What Is a Pre-Trial Hearing? A pre-trial hearing is an important step in the Ohio criminal trial process. At this stage of the trial procedure, your attorney can file motions to suppress, motions to dismiss, additional discovery motions, and other pleadings with the court. The judge may rule on those motions at the pre-trial hearing or schedule them for another date before your trial.  Your lawyer may engage in plea negotiations with the prosecutor at this time. You could end up with a favorable result through plea negotiations. Should You Go to Trial? This is a question that you must discuss with your trusted attorney. You have an absolute right to go to trial. But going to trial is risky. If the jury finds you not guilty, you are free from facing these charges again. On the other hand, if the jury finds you guilty, you face the possibility of serving the maximum sentence for the crime.  A defense lawyer with a track record of success can weigh the risks and rewards of going to trial so that you can make the best decision.  Contact Gounaris Abboud for Help Now The Ohio defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA can help you through the criminal justice process. No matter what charges you face, our award-winning lawyers will be there for you. Our defense lawyers proudly boast prestigious honors such as a 10.0 “Superb” Avvo rating, an annual spot among Ohio’s Super Lawyers rankings, and a spot in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 rankings. We didn’t win those awards by accident. We fight for our clients and obtain results. Call us today at 937-222-1515 or contact us online for more.

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ohio drug cultivation

Growing marijuana in your home is illegal in Ohio. Even though other states are relaxing their marijuana use and possession laws, the Ohio drug cultivation laws remain very strict. So if you get arrested for drug cultivation, meaning that you were caught growing marijuana for personal use or selling it to others—that arrest can create significant legal problems for you.  Would you know where to turn for help if you are charged with growing marijuana in Ohio? Such accusations mean that you need experienced, skilled, and successful attorneys who can help you avoid the consequences of a marijuana cultivation conviction. Gounaris Abboud, LPA’s drug charge defense lawyers can give you the edge you need for a successful outcome in your case. Our criminal defense lawyers received some of Ohio’s most prestigious awards for their exemplary legal skill and dedication to their clients.  What Are Ohio’s Marijuana Growing Laws? Ohio law says that no person shall cultivate marijuana or manufacture or produce a controlled substance. The law is clear. However, you might wonder exactly what drug cultivation means in Ohio.  You can find the definition of cultivation in Section 2925.01(F) of the Ohio Revised Code. Illegal cultivation of marijuana refers to planting, watering, fertilizing, or tilling marijuana plants and seedlings. It doesn’t matter how many plants you grow. Remarkably, even growing one plant can land you in jail in Ohio.  What Is the Penalty in Ohio for Growing Marijuana? The penalty you face depends on the amount of marijuana you grow. Also, if you grow the plant within the vicinity of a school, the severity of the charge rises one degree. Growing marijuana is a minor misdemeanor if you have less than 100 grams. You would pay a $150 fine unless it is in the vicinity of a school. In that case, the crime rises to a fourth-degree misdemeanor which could land you in jail for up to 30 days.  Cultivating more than 100 grams but less than 200 grams is also a fourth-degree misdemeanor. But if you are caught growing that amount near a school, that charge rises to a third-degree misdemeanor, and you could go to jail for up to 60 days. Felony Charges for Cultivating Marijuana  Cultivating over 200 grams of marijuana is a felony. If you have between 200 grams and 1 kilogram, then you could get 6-12 months in prison for a fifth-degree felony offense. However, you could go to prison for up to 18 months for a fourth-degree felony if you committed the same act near a school. You face a third-degree felony carrying between one and five years in prison if you cultivate one to five kilograms of marijuana. However, your charges rise to second-degree felonies if you are in the vicinity of a school—and this can send you to prison for two to eight years.  Cultivating 5-20 kilograms of marijuana is a third-degree felony that carries a rebuttable presumption favoring incarceration that lasts one to five years. This violation near a school increases the charge to a second-degree felony with a rebuttable presumption in favor of imposing a prison sentence of two to eight years.  If you are guilty of cultivating more than 20 kilograms of marijuana, then you face a mandatory sentence of eight years. This mandatory penalty increases to 10 years if you are near a school. Do I Have Any Defenses? You might have any number of defenses available to you. Having a frank conversation with an experienced Ohio drug defense lawyer can help you determine which course of action you should take. For example, you can potentially: Challenge the conduct of the police if they violated your rights; Contest the evidence against you at trial because the state cannot prove you were the person cultivating marijuana; or Attempt to negotiate a lesser sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Some defenses might work better than others, depending on your case. However, the only way you will know is if you speak with a lawyer from Gounaris Abboud, LPA, who has vast experience in Ohio defending marijuana cultivation cases. Ohio’s marijuana cultivation statute gives you another possible defense. Under Section 2925.04(F), you can knock your charge down from a fifth-degree felony to a misdemeanor if you can show that the gross weight of the marijuana you’re charged with does not reflect pure marijuana.  In other words, the law allows you to present evidence that the substances found are a mixture of substances, some of which are not drugs. For example, you might argue that drug analysis shows that you mixed a legal substance like oregano with marijuana. For this to work, you have to show that it’s more likely than not that the police found a mixture that contained some legal substances. If you successfully challenge the weight of the marijuana, you might get your charges lowered to a misdemeanor.  Why Is a Misdemeanor Conviction for Cultivation Beneficial in Some Cases? Ohio law says that an arrest or conviction for a minor misdemeanor conviction does not give you a criminal record. That means you don’t have to tell a potential employer, educational institution, license application, or other inquiry into your criminal history that you’ve been arrested or convicted.  What Are the Growing Medical Marijuana Laws in Ohio? There is one legal way to grow marijuana in Ohio. You have to obtain a license from the state to cultivate marijuana. People who have medical marijuana cards in Ohio cannot grow their own marijuana—they can only buy it from a licensed facility. Gounaris Abboud, LPA: Award-Winning Marijuana Cultivation Defense Lawyers When you need help, turn to Gounaris Abboud. Contact us by calling 937-222-1515 today. When you ask for help, our experienced lawyers will prepare the strongest case possible for you. Our attorneys have received numerous awards, including placement in the Top 50 Cincinnati Super Lawyers list and Top 100 in all of Ohio. In 2021, we continued our streak of landing on the Ohio Super Lawyers list for the 10th consecutive year. 

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Aggravated vehicular homicide

Ohio roads can be dangerous places to drive. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 1,231 fatal motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2021. Unfortunately, numerous crashes involved aggravated vehicular homicide because the driver was driving recklessly or operating the vehicle while impaired.  In an effort to avoid such unnecessary death, Ohio aggravated vehicular homicide laws are tough. They call for harsh penalties to punish those who take another’s life while driving under the influence. A conviction for aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio can ruin your life even though you never intended to harm another person. To protect yourself against these serious allegations, you need tough, aggressive, and highly skilled defense lawyers at your side. Dedicated lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA, stand by, ready to give you the best chance for a successful defense.  What Is Aggravated Vehicular Homicide? Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.06 defines aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio. Under this section, the police can bring aggravated vehicular homicide charges when a person operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both and kills another person. Additionally, a person could face charges of aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio for driving recklessly and killing another, or for killing someone who was in a construction zone at the time of the crash. However, the fact that you were involved in an accident does not mean you are automatically guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide. Rather, the police can charge you with aggravated vehicular homicide only if impaired or reckless driving proximately caused the victim’s death. Essentially, proximate cause means the direct and uninterrupted consequence of an act that killed the victim. In other words, the State would have to prove that your impaired or reckless driving caused the accident that killed the victim.  What Is the Potential Aggravated Vehicular Homicide Ohio Sentence? Aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio is a felony. The degree of felony you face depends on how the crash happened and your prior criminal history. Aggravated vehicular homicide sentencing takes into consideration your personal history as well as the impact of the victim’s death on their family.  Third-Degree Aggravated Vehicular Homicide  Reckless driving or committing a reckless offense in a construction zone that caused someone’s death is a third-degree felony. You could go to prison for up to five years, pay a fine of up to $10,000, and lose your driver’s license permanently.  Second-Degree Aggravated Vehicular Homicide You face a second-degree felony if the police have evidence that you drove while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. The possible sentence includes a mandatory prison sentence of two and eight years, a fine of up to $15,000, and having your driver’s license suspended for life.  Driving recklessly and killing a person in a construction zone or reckless driving accompanied by aggravating factors is also a second-degree felony. Aggravating factors that enhance this crime up to a second-degree felony instead of a third-degree felony include: Driving with a suspended license for Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) at the time of the crash; Driving without a license after a previous OVI conviction in Ohio; or Having a prior conviction for motor vehicle homicide, vehicular manslaughter, or vehicular assault. These offenses carry up to eight years in prison, a $15,000 fine, and the possibility of a lifetime driver’s license suspension. First-Degree Aggravated Vehicular Homicide The charge of first-degree aggravated vehicular homicide is appropriate if you caused a fatal crash while impaired with the presence of one aggravating factor. Aggravating factors include: Having a previous conviction for aggravated vehicular homicide; Driving with a suspended or revoked license after an OVI conviction; or Having a prior conviction for vehicular manslaughter, vehicular homicide, or vehicular assault. The punishment for a first-degree felony is severe. You face mandatory prison time up to 11 years, a $20,000 fine, and lifetime revocation of your driver’s license. However, you could face up to 15 years of mandatory prison time if you have three or more OVI convictions or one OVI felony conviction in the past six years.  Defenses for Aggravated Vehicular Homicide in Ohio Even if you think the deck is stacked against you, the law presumes you to be innocent until proven guilty. Having a knowledgeable and experienced OVI defense attorney aggressively defend your case can help expose weaknesses in the State’s case. With skilled defense lawyers by your side, you might be able to contest the admissibility of evidence, argue that the police violated your rights, and persuade a jury that the State failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In the right circumstances, engaging in plea bargaining might be your best chance to avoid a long prison sentence.  Award-Winning Representation from the Dedicated OVI Defense Lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA If you face aggravated vehicular homicide charges in Ohio, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. Contact Gounaris Abboud at 937-222-1515 to enlist highly experienced and reputable OVI defense lawyers to get you the best results possible for your case.  Gounaris Abboud’s OVI defense attorneys earned multiple awards for their stellar representation of people just like you. It’s no coincidence that our lawyers have earned the AVVO 10.0 Superb Rating as well as inclusion in the list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and the annual SuperLawyers distinction. Put our stellar reputation and work ethic to work for you—call to set up your initial consultation today.

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outstanding warrant

You might not find out about an outstanding warrant until a police officer informs you that you are under arrest. At that point, it is too late to do anything to prevent you from going to jail. That’s why you should learn how to find out if you have an outstanding warrant. You can formulate a plan with your lawyer if you learn about an outstanding warrant before the police arrest you. Talking with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer about your situation before police arrest can help you avoid going to jail—or at least minimize the amount of time you have to spend in lockup. Our award-winning criminal defense lawyers are available to help when you need it most. Call us at 937-222-1515 if you have any questions about what you should do if you have an outstanding warrant in Ohio. What Is an Outstanding Warrant? An outstanding warrant is a document that authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest you anytime they encounter you. This is a fairly straightforward and simple outstanding warrant definition. However, you should realize that having a warrant out for your arrest is a very serious legal matter that you must address immediately.  An arrest warrant allows the police to arrest you even when they are not searching for you. As a result, the police will arrest you if they pull you over for a traffic infraction. An officer who stops you will run a warrant check during the traffic stop. The officer will almost certainly learn of the warrant when they run your license. At that point, the officer places you into custody, takes you to the station for booking, and then sends you to jail to await your initial court appearance or until you can post bond.  Law enforcement agencies often conduct warrant “sweeps.” During a warrant sweep, law enforcement officers compile a list of people who have outstanding warrants. After they determine that a warrant exists, they investigate where they can locate and subsequently arrest the wanted person. After they locate you, the police can go to your house or workplace to arrest you.  Why Might You Have an Outstanding Warrant? There are different reasons why you might have a warrant out for your arrest. The police can issue a warrant for your arrest if they develop probable cause that you committed a crime. Probable cause is a very low standard of proof. The probable cause standard only means that a reasonable person might believe you are probably guilty. Probable cause is a much easier standard to meet than the burden of proof required for a conviction at trial—proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, a warrant certainly does not mean that you are guilty of a crime. It just means that law enforcement requested permission to arrest you so they could bring you to court to answer the charges. There are other reasons why you might have an arrest warrant. A judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you have not paid a fine, violated a term of probation, or if you missed a court date. You should be aware that an arrest warrant allows the police to put you in jail even if you face only minor charges. For example, if you miss an appearance in traffic court, the judge can issue a bench warrant even though you won’t go to jail for the underlying offense. What You Can Do to Check for an Outstanding Warrant A warrant for your arrest will not magically disappear if you ignore it or wish it away. A warrant remains lodged in the court’s computer system until you clear the warrant. Obviously, you need to find out if you have a warrant before you can clear it up.  You have a couple of options if you want to find out if you have a warrant. First, you can call your local courthouse to ask about a warrant. Court clerks should be able to perform an outstanding warrant search by just using your name and date of birth. If you are in Columbus, you can check the city attorney’s website to see if you have an outstanding warrant. You could also contact your local police department or state highway patrol to ask, Do I have an outstanding warrant?  However, you must be very careful not to say much more than asking if you have a warrant when calling the police department. Remember that anything you say to the police can and will be used against you in court. You might be tempted to explain your situation if they tell you that you have a warrant. Instead, you can ask what you need to do to clear the warrant.  The police department might tell you that you need to come to the police station to clear the warrant. But before surrendering yourself, you should contact a skilled and experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer. Having a lawyer by your side can help you understand your rights, exercise those rights properly, and arrange for a bond. Additionally, your lawyer will be with you if the police try to interrogate you. Your lawyer will also help you formulate a defense and have a plan to help you regain your freedom as soon as possible. Why You Should Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA., Right Away for Help Removing Your Outstanding Warrant Gounaris Abboud’s award-winning criminal defense attorneys can help address your warrant and fight to protect your freedom. Our criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience that you can rely on to protect your rights. We have earned a 10 out of 10 Avvo rating and a five-star Google rating for our criminal defense acumen. Additionally, we have earned the prestigious SuperLawyers accolade several years in a row. Contact us at 937-222-1515 to get our team on your side today.

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can criminal record affect child custody

Incarceration, fines, and probation are the obvious consequences of a criminal conviction. But convictions—especially felony convictions—have collateral consequences too. One of the most significant is the effect a criminal conviction has on the custody of your children.  If you have concerns about how your criminal case will affect your custody rights, you need a law firm with extensive experience and resources to fight for you. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our criminal defense and family lawyers work together to provide you with comprehensive legal services designed to protect your rights.  Our award-winning attorneys will explain all of your options thoroughly, so you understand the best strategy for your defense. Child Custody Disputes Family courts in Ohio understand the important role that both parents play in their children‘s lives. However, family courts do not automatically grant parenting rights to both parents. Instead, the court has to perform a legal balancing test. Courts consider many things when making custody determinations, but the best interests of the child are at the very top of the list. Ohio law spells out the best interests of the child test. Under this test, the judge deciding custody must examine 10 factors—one of which is whether either parent has a criminal conviction on their record. Safety and Welfare of the Children Are Most Important The court’s primary concern is the safety and welfare of the child. To decide if a parent with a conviction on their record provides a safe haven for the child, a judge considers several factors. A judge could consider factors such as: The age of the conviction; The identity of the victim, if any; The facts of the case; Whether the parent acted violently; Whether there was an allegation of drug possession or use; and The type of sentence the parent received.  In determining what weight to give the conviction, a judge might consider other factors as well. The law requires the judge to determine whether a parents’ previous convictions involve sexually explicit crimes, crimes of violence towards family or household members, or the neglect of a child. A judge very closely examines prior convictions for these types of offenses because they are highly relevant to protecting children. How Does a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody? As we’ve discussed, the judge looks at a variety of factors concerning a conviction when determining the best interests of the child. Ohio law categorizes crimes as misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor offenses are less serious than felonies.  You might wonder, How can a misdemeanor affect child custody? A misdemeanor conviction might concern a judge if it shows a history of violence or substance abuse. For example, a DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, but multiple DUI convictions can be evidence of an alcohol problem. Likewise, an assault or battery may only be charged as a misdemeanor—but multiple offenses may indicate that the parent has trouble controlling their anger. This, in turn, can endanger a child and may affect whether the judge grants you custody or not. How Does a Felony Affect Child Custody? Judges look at felony convictions similarly. If there have not been additional convictions in many years and the prior felony is old, then the judge might not place too much weight on it. However, if you are still incarcerated, on probation, or if the convictions involved violence, then the judge might place significant weight on your priors. Additionally, a judge may use pending criminal charges against you. A felony conviction by itself might not disqualify you from seeing your child. However, in determining the best interests of the child, a judge may also look at: The other parent’s wishes; The child’s wishes; The mental and physical health of both parents; How the child and the parent interact;  If the parent previously honored court-approved parenting time; and If the parent has stable housing. A judge might not decide that a conviction on its own disqualifies a parent from having custody. However, the consequences of a felony conviction, such as lengthy incarceration, can prevent the convicted parent from having any relationship with their child. Failing to cultivate or maintain a relationship with your child can hurt your chances of winning custody.  Can Expunged Records be Used Against You in Family Court? An expunged record removes your charges from the public record. Therefore, if you have an expunged record, your co-parent might not know about it. As a result, an expunged record typically will not be used against you. If you have convictions or prior charges on your record and you’re worried about how they might affect your custody rights, you should consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. They can tell you what steps to take to minimize the impact of prior criminal charges. How Can a Convicted Felon Get Custody of a Child? Perhaps you have an impression the males are at a disadvantage in child custody proceedings.  You might even wonder, Can a father get joint custody if he has a criminal record? Whether you are the mother or father, showing the judge that you can be a safe and positive parent for your child will help you retain custody. It’s essential to remain clean and sober, find employment, and attend counseling if required. Additionally, you have to obey all family court orders. You can do that by visiting with your child as scheduled, being a cooperative co-parent, and paying child support. A criminal record is only one aspect of your history. Being a responsible and loving parent will go a long way in helping you maintain a relationship with and custody of your child. Call Us If You Have Additional Questions About Your Child Custody Rights Perhaps avoiding a criminal conviction is the best way to ensure that you never have to ask, Does a criminal record affect child custody? At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers will assemble a defense strategy that best suits your needs. Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA, at 937-222-1515 to speak with an award-winning attorney today. We have...

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domestic violence charges affecting child visitation rights

Domestic violence is a serious problem that rips families apart. Sadly, it happens more often in Ohio than people realize. Recent statistics suggest that nearly 40% of women and 33% of men suffer some form of domestic abuse during their lives. The national figures are slightly lower: one out of every three women and one out of every four men suffer domestic abuse at some time in their lives. But the statistics do not shed any light on why incidents of domestic abuse in Ohio arise more frequently than the national average.  Domestic abuse allegations come with severe consequences. Not only is your freedom at risk because of a domestic violence charge, but your family life is in jeopardy as well. Furthermore, domestic violence charges can have a negative effect on child visitation rights. That’s why you need a strong, dedicated, and experienced domestic violence defense attorney to protect your rights.  What Is Domestic Violence in Ohio? Ohio law defines domestic violence as causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member. Additionally, domestic violence includes recklessly causing serious physical harm as well as threatening to cause imminent physical harm to a family or household member.  A conviction for domestic violence carries a range of possible punishments. The potential punishment range depends on the prior criminal history of the accused. Additional aggravating factors—like a pregnant victim—can increase the penalty from a first-degree misdemeanor to a fourth or fifth-degree felony.  How Does a Protective Order Affect Child Visitation Rights? Domestic violence charges can affect your child visitation rights before you even have a trial or are otherwise convicted of the crime. First, Ohio courts have the authority to issue domestic violence temporary protection orders (DVTPO) when someone is arrested for domestic violence charges. Moreover, the judge can issue the order ex parte, meaning that the judge only hears from the alleged victim and doesn’t get your side of the story. A DVTPO remains in effect until the court issues a civil restraining order that replaces this temporary order. A DVTPO can also end when the criminal case is over.  Courts that issue DVTPOs have wide latitude to restrict the accused’s freedom. The judge can order you to: Leave your home (if you live with the alleged victim); Stay away from the complainant and your children; Not to have any contact with the complainant or your children; Surrender the keys and garage doors openers to your house; Leave your pet in the home; Surrender all firearms, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition;  Remain alcohol and drug-free; and Not maintain electronic surveillance of the complainant or your children.  The judge can issue any other order they deem necessary to protect the alleged victim and your children from potential abuse.  You have the right to contest a DVTPO. However, you should enlist the services of a knowledgeable attorney to help you. Contesting the allegations without help from a qualified domestic violence lawyer could jeopardize your results and your future.  How Do Ohio Judges Make Child Custody and Visitation Decisions in Domestic Violence Cases? The law in Ohio requires family court judges to apply and prioritize the best interests of the child standard when determining parental rights during a divorce or child custody matter. The best interests of the child is a broad term that covers numerous issues.  While you might think that a domestic violence conviction and child custody have nothing to do with each other, they are very much intertwined. Ohio law requires the judge to consider whether one of the parents has a domestic violence conviction when weighing the best interests of the child. Therefore, the family court judge can deny you physical custody and limit your parenting time. In the most extreme cases, the judge can even terminate your parental rights if they find that it’s in the best interests of your child.  However, the judge can also order you to have physical custody or visitation with your children if they find that is in the children’s best interest. Regardless of how the judge rules, your job as it relates to your kids is to maintain as healthy a relationship as you can with your children — while following all court orders without exception.  A good lawyer can help you present your best self in court, so the judge sees that you are a good parent and that your kids will be best served by having you in their life. When your children are on the line, it’s best to use a professional to protect your rights. How Can an Experienced Lawyer from Gounaris Abboud, LPA., Help with Your Domestic Violence and Child Visitation Rights Cases? Unfortunately, people sometimes use allegations of domestic violence to gain the upper hand in child custody and divorce disputes. Therefore, the importance of beating your domestic violence charge when you are going through a divorce cannot be understated. Having an experienced and courageous domestic violence defense attorney on your side is essential to protecting your parental rights and freedom. Winning an acquittal or dismissal can help restore your parental rights and reunite you with your children. Call Us for More Information on How to Protect Your Child Visitation Rights  The lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA., have decades of combined experience defending people’s rights. Antony Abboud is one of the founding partners, and has achieved and maintained the distinction as a “Super Lawyer” from 2016 to the present. Between founding partner Nicholas G. Gounaris and his father, George G. Gounaris—a member of the Gounaris family has served the Dayton and Miami Valley community for over 50 years. Contact our award-winning domestic violence defense lawyers today at 937-222-1515 to learn more about how we can help you.

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is doxing illegal in Ohio

Every once in a while, a slang term makes its way into wider usage. Doxing is one of those rare words.  Many people don’t even know what doxing is. Others who know what it is may ask, Is doxing a crime? At this time, there’s no Ohio doxing laws on the books; but that could change soon. While doxing someone does not violate a specific law, there are other laws that could make doxing illegal. As a result, you could face serious consequences if someone accused you of doxing them.  What Is Doxing Someone? Computer hackers from the 1990s originally used the word, which is short for “dropping documents.” Dropping documents—now known as doxing—exposes the identity of a person who wishes to remain anonymous. The word came into existence when hackers, whose anonymity was sacred, started identifying other hackers or doxing them to destroy their anonymity and potentially get them in serious trouble.  What Does it Mean to Dox Someone Today? While hackers still need to preserve their anonymity, the broader population adopted the idea of exposing another person’s identity to exact revenge, largely thanks to social media. People dox others to expose the identity of someone they don’t like or someone with whom they disagree.  Doxing is more than simply ruining a person’s anonymity. People can dox others with the intent to injure. They know that publishing private information such as a person’s real name, place of employment, home address, or social security number could lead to the threat of violence or actual violence against the person whose identity has been exposed. Doxing usually occurs online, where many people can see the information. That is why doxing is so effective and so harmful. Once the information is out there on the internet, there’s no way to recall it.  Several stories in recent years surfaced where one person doxed another, which led to the first person getting fired from their job or suffering a ruined reputation. This act could also lead to criminal harassment of the victim and the victim’s family.  When Is Doxing Illegal? The harm from doxing could rise to the level of menacing by stalking. Prosecutors can use this statute to prosecute doxing if the appropriate circumstances are present. Under this law, menacing by stalking is a crime: When a person engages in a pattern of conduct (two or more related incidents closely related in time); While knowingly causing the victim to believe that the actor will cause serious physical or mental distress to themselves or their family. Additionally, menacing by stalking is a crime if someone uses electronic means such as the internet to stalk the victim or to incite others to stalk the victim. Lastly, it’s important to note that any actions or words directed towards an organization the victim belongs to, such as an employer, counts as well. The Penalties for Menacing By Stalking Menacing by stalking is a misdemeanor in the first degree. In Ohio, a person convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor faces up to a $500 fine and six months in jail. However, stalking by menacing can rise to a felony in particular circumstances.  Stalking by menacing is a fourth-degree felony if any of the following aggravating factors apply: The accused has a prior conviction for menacing by stalking or for an aggravated trespass; The offender threatened physical harm or incited a third person to threaten physical harm;  The accused trespassed on the property where the victim lives, attends school, or works, or incited another to trespass where the victim lives, attends school, or works; The alleged victim is a minor; The offender has a violent history toward others or has displayed homicidal behavior;  The perpetrator was armed with a dangerous weapon or destroyed the victim’s property; or The offender is the subject of a protective order to ensure the safety of the victim or someone else. A conviction for a fourth-degree felony in Ohio carries an 18-month prison sentence and a fine of no more than $5,000. Is Doxing Illegal Under Federal Law? Like Ohio, there are no specific federal laws that make doxing illegal. However, federal prosecutors can also use other crimes to punish doxing. For example, federal law prohibits the disclosure of restricted personal information pertaining to certain “covered” individuals and their families. Under this law, restricted personal information means: Social security numbers; Home addresses; Personal email addresses; Personal mobile phone numbers; and Home phone numbers. Dissemination of publicly accessible information for a covered person probably falls outside of the statute.   A covered person can be: A petit or grand juror; A witness or informant in a criminal investigation; A federal employee; or A state employee who is assisting in a federal criminal investigation. Anyone convicted of this crime faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison along with supervised release and a large fine. Other federal laws that carry stiff criminal penalties may apply as well. Get the Defense You Deserve from Gounaris Abboud, LPA With over fifty years of combined legal experience, the criminal defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA., know how to fight and win. We pride ourselves on taking the toughest cases and achieving tremendous success. With the use of bold and courageous defenses that suit your circumstances, Gounaris Abboud can help you achieve the best possible result for your case. Contact us today at 937-222-1515 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

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