What You Need To Know About Criminal Charges
Whatever questions you may have, the most important piece of advice we can offer is to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You have rights, but your actions can make it easier or harder to protect those rights. An experienced attorney can give you the advice you need to avoid making mistakes.
Do I Need A Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need an attorney. If you’ve been arrested, you need an attorney. If you’re being investigated, you probably need an attorney. Competent adults are allowed to defend themselves in criminal cases, but it is almost never a good idea to do so. Only an experienced defense lawyer can tell you whether your situation calls for legal assistance. Call our criminal law firm, Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, at 513-496-0134 to schedule an initial consultation as soon as possible.
Can Any Lawyer Help Me?
Any lawyer is better than no lawyer, but there are things you should look for to find the best choice for you.
Ohio criminal statutes and U.S. federal laws outline thousands of criminal offenses. No attorney has experience with them all. It is best to find a defense lawyer who has handled cases similar to yours. It is also important to find someone who will be honest with you in telling you if he or she is not the best choice.
Our firm defends clients against a wide range of charges. Our practice includes motor vehicle-related crimes such as drunk driving or vehicular assault, sex offenses such as sexual battery or rape, drug crimes, crimes of violence, Internet crimes and white collar crimes. While we have experience with many criminal issues, we will always put your needs first. If we are not the best fit for you, we will tell you so.
In addition to experience in cases like yours, your attorney should have trial experience in the court where your case will be heard. The best result would be to get your charges dismissed without the need for a trial, but your attorney must be prepared to defend you in court if the situation demands.
Can I Afford An Attorney?
Paying for a lawyer isn’t fun. But it’s important to weigh the cost of paying for an attorney against the cost of having no attorney. Will it cost you more to be sent to jail for an extended time or to hire a lawyer? We can’t make that decision for you, but you should understand that the true “cost” of a criminal conviction may be much higher than you imagine.
Can’t I Just ‘Make A Deal’ With The Prosecutor?
Plea bargaining is a tricky business. To be effective, you must have an excellent handle on the law, the evidence in your case and the strength of your defense team. Prosecutors know that an unrepresented person is unlikely to mount a strong defense. You will have difficulty negotiating the criminal justice system without a criminal defense lawyer on your side.
What If A Family Member Committed A Crime Against Me?
We understand the difficulty of your position. We often speak to people who want a criminal defense attorney for a loved one, even though they themselves are the victim of the crime. Prosecutors vary in how they treat cases where the victim wants leniency for the accused. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure his or her defense attorney is a competent, experienced negotiator. The defense attorney and prosecutor can discuss the situation and work to find a resolution in the interests of justice.
Criminal law is complicated. If you have been arrested or charged, or if you are being investigated, you need answers right away to protect your rights. Our goal is to ensure that you get what you need to put up a strong defense. There are more questions than we can possibly answer here, but the following resources could help you:
- I’ve been accused of domestic violence. What should I do?
- The officer didn’t read me my rights. Will my case be dismissed?
- What is the maximum sentence if I’m found guilty?
- A family member committed a crime against me what are my options?
- What to do after an arrest?
What to do if stopped by the police
People are pulled over all of the time for a multitude of reasons. In many cases we handle, people are pulled over for speeding, a marked lanes violation, or perhaps because they are driving on a suspended driver’s license even if they do not know it is actually suspended. When you are pulled over, it is important to remember the following three things:
- Always respectful to the police. Police officers have a very difficult job and are trying to work hard to ensure the public is safe. Being polite and cooperative does not mean you have to volunteer unnecessary information to the officer, tell the officer about your night, where you are going, what you have been doing, how much you have had to drink, or even allowing the officer to search your car, etc. It does mean to hand the officer your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance and to step out of the car when asked to do so.
- Remember your interaction with the police is likely being audio and video recorded. Most police cruisers are equipped with dash cameras and microphones. These cameras and microphones are usually of high quality and therefore, everything you say and do will most likely be captured on film and potentially used as evidence against you if you are charged with a crime. Be careful what you say, what you do, and how you respond to the police.
- In OVI investigations, understand you have the right to refuse any Standard Field Sobriety Tests requested of you, including breath and chemical tests. Many people believe they are doing themselves a favor by submitting to field sobriety tests. Perhaps they believe if they will submit to a field sobriety test, they will not be charged with a crime or they will not be taken to jail. Understand that you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. You are not required to audition for your freedom. Most of the time, those who submit to a field sobriety test are helping the prosecutor build a case against them for an OVI. These tests are often administered when the person is tired, scared, and nervous, and require individuals to perform abnormal physical tasks. Do not submit to any field sobriety tests. But always remember respectfully refuse.
Our offices in Cincinnati, Lebanon and Oxford regularly handle cases where criminal or traffic charges stemmed from a traffic stop. If you or someone you know has been charged with OVI or a criminal offense, feel free to call the experienced attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima for a free consultation at 513-496-0134.