We have represented individuals facing felony and misdemeanor charges in both municipal, common pleas, circuit and district courts including:
- white collar crime, including check fraud, telecommunications fraud, and theft
- felony drug court for trafficking as well as possession
- serious traffic offenses such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- violence matters, including domestic violence
As in all legal matters there are rules that the police must follow before evidence may be introduced in court against you. We commonly file motions to suppress evidence that was not properly attained.
Most criminal and traffic matters are charged on a flat fee basis, depending on the court where the proceeding will take place and the type of hearing or trial. For example, a different fee will be charged if your case has to be prepared for trial as opposed to one that a plea-bargain is the likely result. Payment of these fees is usually required before we will enter our appearance as your attorney in court.
At Hoyt Law Office, we believe that a good defense must a good offense. To be proactive means that every moment counts when it comes to your defense. This does not only include what happens in the jail or the courtroom; acting quickly can mean successfully preventing your arrest from occurring. Evidence not collected has a very short life. Videos are seldom kept long. Witness’s memory fade. Police officers practice their story. Statements you make can be taken out of context. Don’t let the police be the only one working on your case.
Benefits of a successful case with prearrest representation include no arrest on your criminal record; saves you time spent in jail; eliminates costly court fees; and fast resolution – no stress!
Criminal and Traffic Offenses
I have represented individuals facing felony and misdemeanor charges in both municipal and common pleas courts. I also represent individuals charged with serious traffic offenses such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). As in all legal matters there are rules that the police must follow before evidence may be introduced in court against you. I commonly file motions to suppress evidence that was not properly attained.
Myth 1 -You must be drunk to be guilty of DUI. Under one Ohio law, no scientific tests are necessary. This violation is based upon a police officer’s observations of your driving, physical appearance, and responses to what are called “field sobriety tests.” A second law for which you can be charged is the so-called “per se” violation. In effect this law states, you are not permitted to drive with a prescribed level of alcohol of .08 or more of alcohol in your breath. Blood and urine have different mandated levels. In most instances a “breathalyzer” is used. The government need not introduce any other evidence.
Myth 2 – You can make it harder to prove you’re DUI by refusing to take the breathalyzer. Implied in your right to drive in Ohio is the “implied consent law.” This law states every person given the right to drive in Ohio agrees to take a breathalyzer when asked. There are severe penalties for refusing to take the test. But, there may be legitimate reasons for not taking the test. When in doubt consult an attorney.
Myth 3 – The police can demand I take field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer without consulting an attorney. This is absolutely untrue. You have a right to counsel once you are placed under arrest. You must specifically state you will not take any further tests or answer any questions without consulting an attorney. At that point, the police must stop all questioning or any testing, giving you reasonable time to contact an attorney. But, the police have the right to go forward with a breathalyzer test after giving you reasonable time to contact and consult with counsel. Your refusal to take a test after being given a reasonable amount of time to call an attorney may be considered a refusal to take the test.
Myth 4 – DUI is merely a traffic violation. I don’t need an attorney. A conviction for DUI can be devastating. Beside a fine and jail sentence, a conviction can impact your insurance, employment, and credit. Under the new law, it can cause your vehicle to be confiscated and sold by the state and give you a felony record! Obviously, DUI is NOT a simple traffic offense. Advice of counsel should always be sought.
This information is not intended as a complete description of your legal rights, but contains some important issues you should consider.
Fees: Most crininal and traffic matters are charged on a flat fee basis, depending on the court where the proceeding will take place and the type of hearing or trial. For example a different fee will be charged if your case has to be prepared for trial as opposed to one that a plea-bargain is the likely result. Payment of these fees is usually required before we will enter our appearance as your attorney in court.
The Court Process
Once criminal charges are filed, you’ll make a court appearance which is known as an “arraignment.” If you are incarcerated, this will usually occur within 72 hours of your arrest. During your arraignment, you’ll be asked to enter a “plea” to the crime you’ve been charged with. In order to be arrested, there must be what’s called “probable cause.” This means that there must be a reasonable belief that a crime was committed and you committed the crime. An arrest warrant is not necessary. During the arraignment, the court will also set Bail.
“Bail” is money or property put forth as security to ensure that you’ll show up for further criminal proceedings. In Ohio, bail can be paid: In cash; a pledge of property; or by a bail bondsman. A bond that is stated at 10% can be paid to the clerk at 10% of the bond and that payment will be returned at the conclusion of the case less a 10% fee. For a straight bond, a professional bail bondsman pledges his or her own property or security to guarantee the bail bond to the court. Usually the fee is 10% of the bond however some bondsmen offer credit terms. There is no return of money paid.
The grand jury listens to evidence presented by the prosecution and decides whether the accused should be tried for a serious crime. Unless the defendant waives this right, a grand jury made up of private citizens decides whether or not prosecution will go forward. Grand juries consider felonies, which are crimes punishable by imprisonment. A grand juror, has two responsibilities: 1) to protect innocent persons from false accusations; and 2) to be fair and impartial in evaluation of the evidence.
Motion to Suppress
A motion to suppress evidence can play a key role in any criminal prosecution. When granted, evidence against you may be kept out of court. A motion to suppress evidence is filed with the court for violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights. In Ohio, there are specific rules for the filing of the motion to suppress. If these rules are not followed, including filing past the time limit, any issues with the police investigation may evade review by the court. Because of this and the complexity of the law surrounding suppression of evidence, it is important to have an attorney skilled in motion practice when pursuing a motion to suppress evidence.
You have a right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which requires that the trial be held within a certain time frame after a person has been charged with a crime. This right can be waived so be careful.
Speedy Trial rights in Ohio
With limited exceptions, a defendant should be brought to trial in Ohio within the following time frames:
- 30 days if the charge is pending in a court not of record or in a court of record if the charge is a minor misdemeanor. 45 days if the charge is a misdemeanor of the third or fourth degree. 90 days if the charge is a misdemeanor of the first or second degree
- 270 days after arrest if the charge is a felony (Note: lock up days count 3 for 1)
Extensions of time for trial can occur if the accused is unavailable, lack of an attorney, motion made by the accused, change of venue, statutory requirement, and continuance granted by court and other reasons outlined in ORC 2945.72.
Most prosecutors will consider “plea agreements,” although it’s not legally required. If you don’t reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor, your proceedings will move toward the trial stage.
In Ohio, you have a right to a jury trial for both serious and petty offenses. If you are charged with a petty offense (a misdemeanor), you must file a written demand within time specified for a jury trial or else your right to a jury trial will be waived.