When people accused of a crime come into my office, they often ask “can something be done to keep me out of jail?” More specifically, many clients ask if I can promise to keep them out of jail. I guess I am a little too honest. I do not make that promise. Does that mean I cannot do the job? No, it means I do not lie to people. I can promise to defend you with the knowledge and ability that I have accumulated for over twenty-one years of practicing law.
If someone is charged with a fourth or fifth degree felony, Ohio law basically tells the judge to give the person probation (technically called community control) unless there are some specific reasons not to do so. Does that usually mean that the person stays out of jail? Possibly, but the judge may decide to give a short jail sentence. Many of these felonies may qualify for diversion or intervention in lieu of a conviction. However, there may be technical problems with getting into an intervention in lieu of a conviction program and the prosecutor could decide that he or she does not want to offer diversion for a particular case. What if you do not like the terms of the diversion? Perhaps, you feel like the victim is inflating the losses and making you pay much more than they ever lost. You could take it to trial, and try to get your case reduced to a misdemeanor by a jury of your peers. Because the judge cannot send you to prison on a misdemeanor, you got this thing beaten, huh? Not so fast. That judge can still send you to jail on a misdemeanor conviction, especially if he or she thinks the actions that they heard during trial demand a response. Some crimes have minimum sentences. For example, DUIs have minimum sentences starting at three days in jail. Firearm specifications have at least a one year minimum prison term, often triggering a separate and consecutive prison term for the main felony charge.
Well, then we will just have to take that case to trial and win, or get the judge to throw out the evidence. Sometimes, the police did everything by the book and there is a mountain of evidence proving someone’s guilt. Tough to try those cases.
So, when someone asks if I can promise that they will not go to jail, I think of all of these potential problems and more. I focus on technical problems that the police may have caused, that can result in the case getting thrown out. I focus on keeping my client out of prison and convincing the judge not to put my client in jail. I focus on how to get my client into a program that would result in their case being dismissed. I focus on how we can win the case at trial. I do not focus on promises that I might not be able to keep.
Read my other articles on criminal sentencing in Ohio: Ohio juvenile gets adult sentence; Ohio agreed sentences; maximum sentences reduced for many crimes in Ohio; how to tell a misdemeanor from a felony in Ohio; Ohio court strikes down automatic lifetime sex offender registration for juveniles; facing the music in other states; and getting credit for time served in Ohio. My record of success speaks for itself. I have successfully defended individuals for both misdemeanor and felony offenses, as set forth in the case highlights section.
If you want dishonest promises, hire the attorney that makes them. If you want an honest and straightforward approach, hire me. I will tell you what your case really looks like. I will not hide the ball, either. I will tell you if I believe that the judge is not likely to send you to prison, but may send you to jail. If someone else tells you that your offense does not carry a mandatory prison term and that the judge likely cannot send you to prison, that other person did not really tell you anything different. If you ask the attorney to promise that you will not go to jail and the attorney says that he can promise that the judge cannot likely send you to prison, that statement is just a play on words. I believe in an honest approach. My answer to that same question would be that the judge cannot likely send you to prison, but can certainly impose other sanctions, such as house arrest or local jail time. It may not be the answer you want to hear, but it is an honest one. Of course, if I believe that you are not likely to be incarcerated for your offense, I will tell you that, too.
Attorney Gigiano is a Medina criminal law attorney in Wadsworth, Ohio. If you have questions about this or other questions you need answered by an experienced Wooster criminal law attorney near Orrville or a Massillon criminal law attorney near Doylestown, Ohio, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330. Attorney Gigiano has practiced criminal law in Medina County, Summit County, Wayne County, Stark County, Ashland County, and Cuyahoga County. His hard work resulted in numerous positive reviews of Daniel Gigiano in numerous websites, and several articles and links attesting to his hard work.