calculating pain and suffering after car accident

If you suffered personal injuries through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation for your losses. You may be wondering, How much will I get for pain and suffering from a car accident? The amount of pain and suffering in a car accident you endured, plus other factors can determine how much you recover.  You have only one chance to recover financial damages from your crash. Therefore, you should trust your valuable rights to the car accident lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA. Our attorneys have experienced tremendous success winning cases for clients who sustained injuries in Ohio car accidents through no fault of their own. Unlike other law firms, we have a proven track record of success along with the resources to help you maximize your recovery. How Much for Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Claim in Ohio? Monetary damage awards in Ohio may be broken down into two categories: economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses—often referred to as compensatory damages—refer to the amount of money you lost because of your accident. Section 2315.18 of the Ohio Revised Code defines economic losses as any monetary loss relating to: Reduced salary, wages, or other employee compensation; Property losses; Expenditures for medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, services, medication, and accommodations for injuries; and All other expenditures for losses relating to your damage claim. Additionally, economic losses include future economic losses or medical expenses. It is important to note that Section 2315.18 explicitly states that Ohio law does not cap compensation for economic losses.  How Much Pain and Suffering for a Car Accident? Unlike economic losses, Section 2315.18 caps car accident pain and suffering compensation in certain situations. Section 2315.18 refers to these damages as noneconomic losses. Noneconomic losses include any physical, mental, psychological, or emotional damage that you suffered because of your car accident. Examples of non-economic losses include: The physical pain you experienced from your injuries, which includes pain from surgery, rehabilitation, and chronic pain you feel; Any mental anguish you endured, like the pain of not being able to play with your kids after your accident or not being able to enjoy your favorite hobby; Any depression, anxiety, or stress you experienced after your accident; and Loss of enjoyment of life.  As you can see, there is no easy way to place a dollar figure on these losses. However, you should claim compensation for noneconomic losses because they are part of the losses you endured as a result of your car accident.  How Much Will I Get for Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident? Calculating pain and suffering from a car accident is not easy. There is no one right way to figure out how much your suffering is worth. For example, you might have reached a medical end result after treatment, but you still have a sore back. If your sore back makes doing chores around the house harder and sleeping more difficult, then you should receive compensation. It’s not your fault your back hurts. But how do you put a number on pain and suffering? One way to calculate pain and suffering damages is to multiply your economic losses by a number between one and five—with the average claim using a multiplier of three. Thus, if you have $20,000 in economic losses and multiply that number by three, then your pain and suffering damage claim would be $60,000. In some instances, a multiplier of three would not be sufficient because your pain and suffering is more severe. In that case, multiplying your economic losses by five might give you a fair result. Another method commonly used to calculate pain and suffering is the daily rate theory. Under this theory, you claim pain and suffering damages for every day you experience pain from your accident. Coming up with a justifiable number is not easy in this situation. Therefore, using your daily wage or salary can be a good guide. For instance, if you make $200 per day at work. You would multiply $200 for every day you endured pain from your accident.  Ohio Law Caps Pain and Suffering Damages in Some Situations Section 2315.18 caps noneconomic damages at $250,000 or three times the compensatory damages, whichever is greater. The law also says that the noneconomic damages cannot exceed $350,000 per claimant or $500,000 per occurrence. There is an exception to this rule.  There is no cap on damages if you suffered: A loss of a limb; A loss of an organ; Substantial physical deformity; or A permanent injury that prevents you from caring for yourself and performing life-sustaining activities. These limitations only apply to non-fatal car accidents. Other limitations may apply to claims filed against the government and wrongful death suits. Maximize Your Pain and Suffering Award with Help From Successful Car Accident Lawyers The Ohio car accident lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, have won millions of dollars for their injury clients. They have a track record of success because they dedicate all of their resources and skill toward maximizing your damage award. Their numerous five-star awards and excellent reviews reflect their dedication to their clients. Call Gounaris Abboud today at 937-222-1515 for a free consultation.  

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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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DUI OVI for driving on prescription drugs

People often ask us, How can you get a DUI/OVI for prescription drugs?  The next question you might ask is, How can I have a DUI/OVI for prescription drugs if I took them according to my doctor’s orders?  The answer is simple. In Ohio, you can get a DUI / OVI for prescription drugs if you drive while under the influence and despite taking your medication as prescribed. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we understand your frustration with Ohio’s OVI law. Our experienced DUI prescription drugs defense lawyers have fought for our clients successfully in hundreds of OVI cases. Contact our firm today to learn more about how we can help you. What Is the Ohio Prescription Drug OVI Law? Driving under the influence (DUI) and operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) mean the same thing under Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code. In the pertinent part, Section 4511.19 says that no person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.  In Ohio, there are two ways a person could be convicted of OVI. The first is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The second is driving with an illegal amount of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two in your system. This is called the “per se” law. However, most people call it, “the legal limit.” Driving Under the Influence Under the first theory of OVI, the police must rely on their observations to determine if someone is driving under the influence. For instance, an officer will note: How the person is driving; Whether the person is alert and awake or drowsy; The presence or absence of the smell of alcohol; If the driver could locate documents easily like a driver’s license or proof of insurance; Whether the driver caused a crash; Witness statements; The driver’s ability to follow directions;  The driver’s admission to drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or both; and  The driver’s performance on field sobriety tests. All these factors play a role in determining whether a driver is under the influence.  How Can the Police Tell If Someone is Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs? Ohio’s implied consent law mandates that a person who is arrested for OVI has to take a chemical test. The chemical test could be a breathalyzer, whole blood test, plasma blood test, or urinalysis. Breathalyzer tests help officers figure out if someone is under the influence of alcohol. However, a breathalyzer test might only tell part of the story. As a result, Ohio law allows testing of a person’s whole blood or blood plasma to see if the person has alcohol, certain illegal drugs, or illegal drug metabolites in their system. (A drug metabolite is a chemical the body produces after taking certain drugs.) Conversely, there is no DUI blood test for prescription drugs in Ohio.  A urine test might yield evidence of a prescription drug. However, Section 4511.19 makes no reference to a per se limit of prescription drugs, unlike alcohol and other drugs of abuse. As a result, a judge might not accept urinalysis as “per se” evidence in a prescription drugs OVI prosecution.  The police can use their observations and chemical test results to prove DUI of prescription drugs. For example, suppose police pull over a person for weaving all over the road. The driver might be sleepy, incoherent, and have trouble with field sobriety tests. The officer might have to determine whether the person is just tired or has consumed something that impairs their ability to drive. The officer might send the driver for a blood test after an arrest to see if the person has alcohol and drugs in their system. Test results could show a combination of substances that could prove the driver was under the influence.  How to Fight a DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs Section 4511.19(k) indicates that a person who takes certain drugs according to the dose prescribed by their doctor cannot face prosecution for OVI drugs. Experienced and skilled DUI prescription drugs defense attorneys understand how to attack a OVI drugs case to give their clients the best chance to avoid a conviction. Every case is different. The best defense for you depends on the individual facts of your case. Notwithstanding, our OVI defense lawyers have handled numerous cases successfully by: Arguing the police violated your rights; Contesting expert evidence to show that a jury will be confused by it or the expert is testifying to junk science; Convincing a jury or judge that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt; or Entering plea negotiations with the prosecutor to minimize your legal liability. Talking with a knowledgeable OVI defense lawyer immediately can help you determine your best course of action.  Call Gounaris Abboud, LPA, Today for More Information About How Can You Get a DUI for Prescription Drugs Remember that a conviction for OVI requires at least three days in jail, fines, fees, and mandatory license loss. In this difficult situation, experience matters. You can count on the award-winning and AVVO top-rated OVI defense lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA to give you the best chance of obtaining a favorable result. Contact us at 937-222-1515 to talk with our Ohio SuperLawyers 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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transporting marijuana across state lines

Prescriptions for medical marijuana help numerous people who suffer from chronic pain and illness. Recognizing the potential health benefits for patients, Ohio joined dozens of other states when it allowed physicians to prescribe marijuana for their patients. However, Ohio has strict rules for using and purchasing medical marijuana. As a result, transporting marijuana across state lines remains illegal, even if you have a valid prescription. Ohio’s drug laws are some of the toughest in the nation. If you face charges for transporting marijuana across state lines, you will need a tough and aggressive lawyer to fight on your behalf. The drug defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA., have the knowledge and experience you need to give you the best chance at avoiding the life-altering consequences of a conviction. Why Can’t You Bring Medical Marijuana Across State Lines? Ohio’s medical marijuana legislation is an exception to the general rule that prohibits possession of drugs. Ohio still recognizes marijuana as a controlled substance. As a result, the state heavily regulates the distribution and possession of medical marijuana.  Having a prescription for medical marijuana in Ohio does not allow you to possess an unlimited quantity of marijuana. Additionally, having a prescription for medical marijuana does not allow you to sell it, give it away, distribute, or possess more than a 90-day supply. Caregivers of people who have medical marijuana prescriptions and workers in licensed dispensaries are the only people allowed by law to distribute marijuana. Moreover, you cannot grow your own marijuana despite having a valid medical marijuana prescription.  Ohio does not recognize marijuana cards issued by other states. Similarly, many other states do not recognize an Ohio marijuana card as valid to purchase medical marijuana in that state. Notwithstanding, some states allow people 21-years-of-age and older to purchase recreational marijuana.  The strict limitations Ohio law imposes on people who have marijuana prescriptions means that transporting marijuana across state lines is illegal. Accordingly, obtaining medical marijuana in Ohio and bringing it with you to another state is illegal. Additionally, buying marijuana in another state and bringing it into Ohio is also illegal, even if you bought it legally in that state. The only marijuana you can lawfully possess in Ohio is the marijuana you buy with a valid prescription in Ohio from a licensed distributor.  What Is the Penalty for Transporting Marijuana Across State Lines? Ohio drug laws carry stiff penalties, although the law treats marijuana differently than other types of narcotics. Possessing less than 100 grams of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a minor misdemeanor is a $150 fine. Possession of marijuana becomes a more serious offense as the weight of the drug increases. The penalties increase incrementally as follows: Possession of more than 100 grams but less than 200 grams is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. A fourth-degree misdemeanor carries a potential maximum jail sentence of up to 30 days; Possessing between 200 grams and 1,000 grams is a fifth-degree felony, which carries between 6 to 12 months of imprisonment;  Possessing 1,000 grams but less than 20,000 grams is a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of nine months to five years of incarceration; Possession of 20,000 to 40,000 grams of marijuana is a second-degree felony that carries between five and eight years of incarceration.  More than 40,000 grams of marijuana is a second-degree felony. The penalty under Ohio law for a second-degree felony is a minimum of eight years in prison.  Please note that varying fines may also accompany these penalties.  Also, selling, transporting, or delivering drugs to another person violates Ohio’s drug trafficking law. The penalties for trafficking are much greater than those listed above for simple possession. Aggravating circumstances such as subsequent offenses or possessing a firearm can also add years to your sentence.  Delivering marijuana across state lines is a federal crime. Also, possession and distribution of marijuana are crimes under federal law. However, federal marijuana trafficking charges apply when someone has 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 plants. That charge carries a five-year minimum mandatory sentence under federal law.  Are There Any Defenses for Transporting Marijuana Across State Lines? An experienced and skilled Ohio drug defense attorney can help you plan a specific defense for your case. Although each case is as different as the people involved, there are common defense tactics that can be helpful. For example, you can contest the legality of the police action by filing a motion to suppress. This type of motion asks the judge to throw out evidence police found as a result of violating your search and seizure rights. Additionally, you can ask a judge to throw out any statements you made if the police failed to read your Miranda rights to you. Also, you can ask a judge to dismiss the charges against you for lack of evidence. You always have the right to contest the allegations against you at a trial. You have the right to declare your innocence and force the state to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the case, the prosecution might not have enough evidence to prove you possessed the marijuana seized by police.  You can enter plea negotiations with the prosecution as well. Depending on the facts, your prior criminal history, and other factors, you might be able to convince the prosecution to offer you an advantageous plea bargain. If the prosecution does not make you an acceptable offer, then your lawyer can try to persuade the judge to grant you a lighter sentence.  Call Gounaris Abboud, LPA., Today to Learn How We Can Help Preserve Your Freedom Attitudes regarding marijuana are slowly charging. However, you face serious consequences if you have a conviction for transporting marijuana across state lines. Take a stand right away to defend your freedom. Just because you were charged does not mean that you are guilty. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA., our award-winning drug defense lawyers have decades of experience defending the rights of people just like you. Through...

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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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OVI charges

Ohio OVI laws regarding marijuana are strict because driving while high is dangerous. Even if you don’t feel “high,” any amount of marijuana you consume may affect your ability to drive safely. Like alcohol, marijuana use slows reaction times, impairs judgment, and reduces concentration levels. Some studies suggest that a person driving while high on weed may be twice as likely to be involved in a car crash. Police in Ohio know this and are on the lookout for people driving while high. If you face charges of driving under the influence of marijuana, then you need a tough and experienced Ohio DUI lawyer to fight your charges. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA., our DUI defense attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience. We have won dismissals or reduced penalties for hundreds of our DUI clients. We tailor our defense strategy to your needs to give you the best chance of achieving a favorable result. Can You Get an DUI for Weed? Even though Ohio has not legalized marijuana for recreational use, Ohio residents can get medical marijuana with a prescription. Since medical marijuana is legal, you might be wondering, Can you get a DUI for weed even if you have a medical marijuana card? The answer is quite simple. Under Ohio law, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) is a crime. Therefore, the police can charge you with OVI if they have probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.  Officers receive extensive training on identifying intoxicated drivers. They learn to look for signs of intoxication such as the person’s driving pattern, manner of speech, ability to follow instructions, performance on field sobriety tests, and other factors.  Officers may know pretty quickly when someone might be under the influence of alcohol. One of the first things that an officer may notice is the smell of alcohol from the driver’s breath. That’s often the first indicator that someone is drunk driving. But what happens if someone shows signs of intoxication but there is no odor of alcohol on the person? Drug Recognition Experts Law enforcement agencies in Ohio started programs to help officers better identify people who are driving while high. The Ohio State Police now use the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program as a tool to identify people driving under the influence of drugs.  The DRE program trains officers on the typical indicators of a person impaired by drugs, including marijuana. Once they complete the training, DREs can assist other officers at accident scenes or investigations of persons suspected of OVI.  Field sobriety tests are one of the investigative tools DREs use. Field sobriety tests might help DREs conclude that a person is under the influence of a drug like heroin or prescription pills. However, field sobriety tests are unreliable when investigating someone for driving while high on weed.  Experts studied field sobriety tests to determine if they could detect someone under the influence of marijuana. The analysis showed that standard field sobriety tests could not detect a person who is high on weed accurately. That means field sobriety tests are useless to determine if someone is under the influence of marijuana while driving. Therefore, a knowledgeable OVI defense lawyer can make a strong argument to keep a DRE’s opinion of intoxication out of evidence at trial. Chemical Testing for Marijuana Ohio is one of a handful of states that have a per se law for alcohol as well as marijuana and other drugs. By now, most people understand that driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above is a crime, even if you show no signs of intoxication. The same is true for marijuana, except that there is no breathalyzer test for marijuana. Instead, the police obtain either a blood sample or a urine sample from the suspect. Laboratory technicians then test the specimens.  Under Ohio law, a person operates a vehicle under the influence of marijuana when they have 10 nanograms of marijuana per milliliter of urine or two nanograms per milliliter of marijuana in their blood.  Additionally, police can charge you with OVI if you have a marijuana metabolite in your blood or urine. A marijuana metabolite is the by-product of marijuana in your system after your liver begins to break it down. Tests can detect marijuana metabolites up to five days after ingestion or longer, depending on the test. You could face an OVI charge for having 35 nanograms of marijuana metabolite per milliliter of urine or 50 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Additionally, the law allows you to be charged with OVI if you have 15 nanograms of marijuana metabolite in your urine or five nanograms of marijuana metabolite in your blood and are under the influence of alcohol or another drug at the same time.  How Can Gounaris Abboud, LPA, Help You with Your OVI Marijuana Charges? OVI marijuana charges are difficult to defend against. That’s why you need legal help from an experienced and dedicated legal team. At Gounaris Abboud, we have the knowledge and resources to defend your rights. We also understand how much an OVI charge can disrupt your life. Not only are you facing jail time, you face the social consequences of an OVI charge as well.  Our lawyers use their extensive experience and develop a defense strategy catered to your best interests. We can challenge the police’s actions at the scene and the scientific evidence to ensure you get the best result possible.  Contact the award-winning OVI defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, today at 937-222-1515 to learn about your options. We offer free confidential initial consultations and are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions. 

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murder statute of limitations in Ohio

You might have seen recent news stories explaining how police have solved murders that are decades old. Ohio police even cracked a cold case murder that happened in 1974! After 45-plus years, you might think someone committed the perfect crime. However, thanks to persistent investigative work and the development of improved forensic testing, law enforcement officers can provide closure to the victim’s family and charge the alleged killer. With so much time passed, you might wonder is there a statute of limitations for murder? The answer may surprise you. The state of Ohio, along with every other state and U.S. territory, has no statute of limitations on murder. That means anyone can face murder charges at any time during their lives, no matter how much time has passed. The same is not true for other criminal charges, however.  If something bad happened in your past, you might not need to know what is the statute of limitations on murder, but you might want to know if Ohio law bars prosecution for other acts due to the passage of time. An experienced and knowledgeable Ohio criminal defense lawyer from Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can explain how Ohio’s statutes of limitations can save you from a wrongful conviction. Contact us right away if you were arrested for a crime or police suspect you committed a crime. We will fight relentlessly to protect your rights and safeguard your freedom. Statute of Limitations for Crimes in Ohio Even though there is no statute of limitations for murder, all other crimes in Ohio must be charged within a specific timeframe. The severity of the crime dictates how long the prosecution has to charge you. If prosecutors miss the deadline to charge you with a crime, then Ohio law bars the case from going forward. Here are the statutes of limitations for crimes in Ohio: Minor misdemeanors: six months. Misdemeanors: two years. Felonies: six years. Major felonies such as manslaughter, kidnapping, money laundering: 20 years. Sexual battery and rape: 25 years. These time limitations also apply to conspiracy, attempts to commit, or complicity in committing a felony, including rape and sexual battery. Exceptions to the Statutes of Limitations You should understand that statutes of limitations are not hard-and-fast rules. The prosecuting attorney may argue that certain periods of time do not count toward the statute of limitations. In Ohio criminal practice, that’s known as “tolling the statute.”  Statutes of limitations toll upon the occurrence of certain events. For example, if a college student gets into a bar fight and commits assault before graduation and then leaves the state after graduation, the time the person is out of state tolls the statute of limitations. However, the clock begins to run again if that person returns to Ohio. In other circumstances, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until someone discovers the crime. One example is identity fraud. Under Ohio law, a person can face charges for up to five years after the victim discovers the crime if the initial statute of limitations expired. Similarly, an offense involving misconduct by a public servant can proceed for the entire time the person is a public servant and up to two years afterward. Why Is There No Murder Statute of Limitations? Murder is the most serious crime a person can commit. The value we place on human life as society demands that we allow investigators to keep searching for clues to solve a murder and bring the accused to trial. Consequently, law enforcement officers and prosecutors devote enormous resources to solving murder cases.  Sometimes the trail goes cold despite investigators’ best efforts. However, investigators will not simply surrender because they couldn’t solve the case quickly. As a general rule, we cannot allow people to get away with murder. That’s why there is no murder statute of limitations. If police can develop enough evidence to charge a person for murder, then that person should face trial for the crime, no matter how much time has passed. Our society will degrade rapidly if we decide that there should be a murder statute of limitations in Ohio, or anywhere else.  Deterrence is another reason why we should not enact a murder statute of limitations. People might be more inclined to plan and commit murder if they knew they would never face charges. Life in prison without parole or the death penalty for murder conviction deters some people from committing murder. Finally, the ends of justice require that the door must always remain open to investigating and charging murder cases. Wrongfully convicting someone of the crime does not suffice. We must ensure that the right person was convicted. Therefore, the passage of time should not protect the guilty or prohibit the innocent from fighting for freedom.  Award-Winning Ohio Criminal Defense Attorneys  At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we stake our reputation on every case we take. Once again, in 2021, we have landed in the Top 100 Ohio Super Lawyers and the Top 50 in the Cincinnati Super Lawyers list. While accolades from our peers are nice, we thrive on achieving the best results possible for our clients. Whether your charge is a run-of-the-mill DUI or a complicated murder, we have the experience and skill to help you get the best result possible. We use all our resources to defend your case. Whether it is fighting the case at trial or negotiating a favorable plea, the criminal defense lawyers from Gounaris Abboud, LPA will work with you to get the best result possible. Contact us today online or by calling 937-222-1515 to learn more about our services and commitment to excellence.

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