OHIO CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER
Sampling of Criminal Cases:
- Bartender Charged with DUI (M1). Faced Mandatory License Suspension, Jail: Our client was driving home from work when she was pulled over for not having a front license plate. The officer claimed to observe six out of six clues on the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test, claimed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage, and blood shot eyes. Our client refused all other standardized field sobriety tests as well as the breath test. Following a trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY.
- Local Mayor Accused of Sexual Imposition. Faced Mandatory Sex Offender Registration: Our client was the mayor of a local village and was accused by an employee of inappropriate sexual touching. He was charged with Sexual Imposition. Although only a misdemeanor, if convicted our client would have been a Registered Sex Offender as required by law. The mayor was removed from office pending trial. Following a jury trial he was found NOT GUILTY and was reinstated as mayor shortly thereafter.
- Man Charged with Vehicular Homicide (M1). Faced Six Months Jail After Car Crash Kills Victim: Our client was accused of failing to yield the right-of-way and was cited as at-fault for the car crash that killed one person. He was facing jail and a significant license suspension. He was found NOT GUILTY following a trial.
- Dental Assistant Charged with Rape (F1) and Two Counts of Gross Sexual Imposition (F4). Faced Lifetime Mandatory Sexual Registration and Up to 14 Years in Prison: Our client was a 26-year-old dental assistant who was accused of groping a patient during a procedure and accused of inserting his finger in between the patient's labia. He faced significant mandatory prison and risked being a Registered Sex Offender for life. Following a trial he was found NOT GUILTY on all counts.
- Man Charged with Violating a Protection Order (M1). Faced Up to Six Months Jail: Our client was 50 years old and accused of violating a protection order. Our client went to a softball game where a protected person was in attendance. The police were called and he was immediately arrested, jailed, and released on a GPS monitor despite the fact that he did not know the protected party was attending. Following a trial our client was found NOT GUILTY.
Man, 54, Charged with Drug Possession, Drug Trafficking, and Possession of Criminal Tools. Faced Up to Three Years in Prison, License Suspension, and Forfeiture of Over $10,000: Our client was suspected of drug trafficking as a result of law enforcement surveillance. He was stopped while driving on the interstate. Drugs and an excess of $10,000 in cash were found after his vehicle was searched. We challenged the constitutionality of the stop and the search. Following a motion to suppress, the Court agreed that our client's constitutional rights had been violated due to the prolonged detention, and the case and all charges were DISMISSED.
Man, 58, Accused of Murdering Wife (F1) Faced Life In Prison: Our client was wrestling a shotgun away from his depressed wife —-- he believed the gun was unloaded — when it accidentally discharged. A grand jury decided to NOT INDICT him for murder. Prosecutor closed the case, absent new evidence.
- Married Man and Father of Three Charged with Six Counts of Sexual Battery (F3). Faced Lifetime Sexual Registration and 18 Years in Prison: Our client was a foster parent and was accused of having sex with one of the foster children placed in his family's care. The accuser was a 16-year-old girl who testified at trial. The prosecutor refused to offer a plea to any offense that was not a felony and did not carry mandatory sexual registration requirements. After a jury trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY on all counts.
- Father Charged with Domestic Violence (M1). Faced Six Months in Jail: Three independent witnesses called the police after an incident between a father and his 10-year-old son. The witnesses claimed that the father hit his son multiple times in the face and head. The prosecutor refused to offer any plea bargain other than a guilty plea to Domestic Violence. Following a jury trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY.
- Man Charged with Abduction (F3), Domestic Violence (M1), and Aggravated Menacing (M1). Faced Eight Years in Prison: The most serious charge, Abduction, carried a maximum of five years in prison as well as a gun specification carrying an additional mandatory three years in prison. The state's only plea offer was to dismiss the misdemeanor Aggravated Menacing in return for a four-year agreed sentence on the Abduction, gun specification, and Domestic Violence. Following a jury trial, the man was found NOT GUILTY on all charges.
- Ph.D Student and Adjunct Professor from New York City Charged with Theft (M1) from SAKS Fifth Avenue: Our client faced immigration issues, deportation, and jail if convicted of Theft. He was accused of stealing from the Cincinnati SAKS store after he mistakenly walked out of the store with a shirt he had not yet purchased. Client was found NOT GUILTY after a jury trial.
- 17 Year Old Charged with Murder (F1) and Charged as an Adult: Our client was charged with Felony Murder as a result of a death that occurred at a local youth home. The prosecutor elected to try our client as an adult in adult court. No plea offers were made in the case. If convicted the mandatory sentence was life in prison with the opportunity for parole after 15 years. After a jury trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY of Murder and convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter. He was sentenced to serve an additional 54 days and probation.
- Husband Charged with Domestic Violence (M4): Our client was accused of threatening harm to his wife. Following a trial, our client was found NOT GUILTY.
- Man Driving New Cadillac Escalade Stopped and Arrested on I-75: Our client was traveling north on I-75 when he was stopped by law enforcement for driving on a suspended license (DUS). His vehicle was searched and 19 stolen credit cards were found with roughly $15,000 cash. The police seized the credit cards, cash, and vehicle. Following a motion to suppress in which the Court agreed that our client's constitutional rights had been violated, the case and all charges were DISMISSED.
- Paramedic Charged with Theft of Drugs (Morphine) (F4) and Illegal Processing of Drug Documents (F4); Faced Three Years in Prison, Loss of License as a Paramedic and Suspension of Driver's License: After an inventory of the drugs kept for ambulance runs, our client was charged with stealing morphine. Following a trial, client was found NOT GUILTY.
- 25 Year Old Charged with Rape (F1) and Kidnapping (F1); Faced 20 Years in Prison: Our client allegedly kidnapped a young woman off the street and left her in a state park after having sex with her. Following a trial, client was found NOT GUILTY.
- Teacher and Mother of Two Charged with Domestic Violence (M1); Faced Six Months in Jail and Loss of Teaching Certificate: Our client hit her ex-husband on the back as he was removing the keys from her car. Client found NOT GUILTY.
- Mother of Three Charged with Shoplifting (Theft – M1); Faced Six Months in Jail: Our client walked out of a store with several items not purchased. Following a trial, client was found NOT GUILTY.
- Single Professional Woman Charged with Theft (F5); Faced One Year in Prison and Loss of her Job: Our client was prescribed a new medication and subsequently suffered from a drug-induced psychosis leading to the theft of $900 worth of merchandise from a store. Following a trial, client found NOT GUILTY by reason of insanity.
- 40-Year-Old Truck Driver Charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Faced Six Months in Jail and Mandatory License Suspension: Our client was found asleep by police behind the wheel of his car at a fast food restaurant. Following a trial, client found NOT GUILTY.
- 20 Year Old Drove Left of Center and Was Driving with No Shoes Charged with DUI; Faced Six Months in Jail and a License Suspension: Our client was stopped and given the standard field sobriety tests which he supposedly failed. Following a trial, client was found NOT GUILTY.
- A Lieutenant Colonel with 19 Years of Service in the Army Was Charged with 13 Felony Counts of Gross Sexual Imposition; Faced 33 Years in Prison: Our client allegedly molested his daughter. In June 2004, after a three-day trial, client was found NOT GUILTY of ALL felony charges. Client was convicted of nine misdemeanors and served six months in the County Jail.
- Juvenile Court: 16-Year-Old Boy Charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (F2); Faced a Mandatory Lifetime License Revocation and Incarceration Until the Age of 21: One day after obtaining his driver's license, our client drove left of center, killing a woman and her unborn child. Prior to the crash our client had smoked marijuana. After a trial, our client was convicted of an F3 Aggravated Vehicular Homicide and Sentenced to a Treatment Program for Juveniles and is eligible to obtain a driver's license in the future.
- Young Man with Two Prior DUIs Charged with a Third DUI; Faced Six Months in Jail: After winning a pretrial motion which gutted the state's case, the state appealed and lost which resulted in the case being dismissed.
- Twenty-year-old Man Charged with Murder; Faced 15 Years to Life in Prison: Suffering from bipolar disorder, our client beat his mother to death with a baseball bat. Following a trial, client was found NOT GUILTY by reason of insanity.
Not all cases are tried to a judge or jury. Many cases are resolved through plea negotiations. The following factors impact the resolution of criminal cases:
- Reputation of the attorney
- Strengths and weaknesses of the case
- Desire of the client and the victim or government to reach an agreement
Below are a few of our cases we negotiated:
- A Man Arrested and Charged with an OVI for the Third Time Was Facing Jail, License Suspension and Increased Insurance Premiums: Despite the fact that this was the third time the client had been charged with drinking and driving, the client plead to the reduced charge of Reckless Operation. He does not have a single DUI/OVI on his record.
- Assistant Junior High School Principal Indicted on 15 Counts of Sexual Battery (All Counts – F3); Faced 75 Years in Prison and Registration as a Sexual Predator or Offender: After negotiations, the client plead to one count of felonious assault and was sentenced to one day in jail and five years of community control (probation).
- 38-Year-Old Man Charged with Importuning (F5), Attempted Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor (F5), and Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles (F5); Faced Three Years in Prison: After plea negotiations, client received 30 days in the county jail with work release and three years of community control (probation) after pleading to two counts of Importuning.
- A College Student Was Charged with an OVI (M1) for the Third Time and Was Facing, Among Other Things, a Minimum of 60 Days in Jail: On the day of trial, the prosecutor agreed to allow the client to plead to the reduced charge of Physical Control. That same client had a similar pending charge in a different court in which we were able to negotiate a dismissal.
- Recent College Graduate Charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (F2); Faced Mandatory Two to Eight Years in Prison and Lifetime License Revocation: A 23-year-old father of a young daughter recently killed his best friend in a drunk driving accident and was charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide after giving a blood sample which was allegedly over twice the legal limit. Due to various issues and negotiations, including the victim's family's support, the F2 Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, which carried two to eight years in prison and a lifetime license suspension, was reduced to an F3 Aggravated Vehicular Homicide and the defendant was given six months in jail with work release, community service, and a five-year license suspension. Defendant also agreed to support the victim's daughter.
- 48-Year-Old Step-Grandfather Was Indicted on Charges of Rape and Five Counts of Gross Sexual Imposition; Faced Life in Prison: Our client allegedly molested his step-granddaughter. After plea negotiations, client pled to one count of Gross Sexual Imposition and was sentenced to six-month sex offender treatment program and community control (probation).
- 28-year-old Female Charged with 13 Felony Theft Counts: Our client allegedly stole money from her employer. After negotiations, all counts were reduced to one misdemeanor contingent upon payment of restitution.
- 40-year-old Divorced Mother Charged with Possession of Cocaine (F4); Faced 18 Months in Prison and Loss of License: Following negotiations, felony was reduced to a misdemeanor charge and client sentenced to community control (probation).
- Mother and Father Facing Multiple Child Abuse and Neglect Charges: A doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital claimed two children of the couple had been abused. The parents were being investigated for felonious assault, child endangering and child abuse. Rittgers & Rittgers retained experts who refuted the Children's Hospital doctor's claim which was based on controversial medical studies. The children had been adopted from a foreign country and the injuries were likely sustained prior to their entering the United States. No charges were filed.
- Woman Charged with Felony Theft (F5): A woman was charged with felony theft and risked losing her job if she was ultimately convicted of any felony or misdemeanor theft conviction. After negotiations with the prosecutor, the felony charge was dismissed in exchange for a plea to a fourth-degree misdemeanor (M4) and payment of restitution.
- Man Facing F2 Robbery Charges (Two-Eight Years in Prison): After negotiations with the prosecutor, our client agreed to plea to two misdemeanor charges and serve 15 days in jail in exchange for having the felony charge dismissed.
- Ex-Wife Facing F1 Aggravated Burglary (Three-10 Years in Prison): During a heated custody argument, our client was accused of breaking into her ex-husband's home. The felony charges were dropped in exchange for a plea to misdemeanor trespass. She served three days in jail after the arrest when she was awaiting arraignment. After the plea, she did not receive any additional jail time.
- A Michigan Resident Facing a Second OVI Charge in Six Years and Potential Lifetime License Revocation in Michigan After Testing 0.165 BAC: The state of Michigan suspends driver's licenses indefinitely for a second DUI conviction in six years. Our client was a Michigan resident who was charged with OVI in Ohio. After negotiations with the prosecutor, the OVI charge was amended and our client was able to plea to the reduced charge of reckless operation and keep his license.
Ohio Felonies Are Classified as Follows:
|Offense||Minimum Term||Maximum Term||Maximum Fine|
|Aggravated Murder||Life w/parole opportunity in 20 yrs.||Death||$25,000|
|F-1||3 years||10 years||$20,000|
|F-2||2 years||8 years||$15,000|
|F-3 (Agg. vehicular homicides; agg. vehicular assaults; sexual battery; unlawful sexual conduct with a minor; gross sexual imposition||1 year||5 years||$10,000|
|F-3 (All other offenses)||9 months||36 months||$10,000|
|F-4||6 months||18 months||$5,000|
|F-5||6 months||12 months||$2,500|
CERTAIN CRIMES SUCH AS RAPE OF A CHILD OR MURDER CARRY MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCES
Ohio Misdemeanors Are Classified as:
|Offense||Minimum Term||Maximum Term||Maximum Fine|
Other Cases Affecting Law in Ohio
The following are case cites of some of the cases that we have handled in the Supreme Court of Ohio which made law in the state of Ohio:
1. State v. Hochhausler, et al. (1996), 76 Ohio St. 3d 455
4. State v. Niessen-Pennycuff (2012), 132 Ohio St. 3d 416