Conviction - Consequences Beyond the Court's Sentence

By jeffreyamc6094596, Nov 23 2015 04:38PM

Being convicted of a crime can have consequences beyond those that the court imposes. The non-judicial penalties are known as "collateral consequences" and those are sometimes even more devastating than the sentence imposed by the court. Depending on the type of crime a person has been convicted of committing, potential collateral consequences include:
1. Loss or denial of employment
2. Loss or denial of professional license
3. Deportation
4. Loss of the right to own or possess firearms
5. Loss of the right to vote
These are just a few of the collateral consequences that might affect you if you're convicted of a crime. Again, these are potential collateral consequences, and not every offense has the consequences listed above. However, the particular offense for which you're charged may have one or more of these consequences, or even collateral consequences not listed here. I can help you sort through those potential consequences, as well as defending you on the criminal charges. Call for an appointment so we can discuss your case.

Domestic Violence - A View from Both Sides

By jeffreyamc6094596, Oct 30 2015 08:05PM

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is a serious problem in our country, and most of us know someone who has been either a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence. Aside from the devastating effects that the acts themselves have on people’s lives, domestic violence can result in serious legal consequences as well.
Ohio Revised Code Section 2919.25 defines the criminal offense of domestic violence. The statute states that:
(A) No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
(B) No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member.
(C) No person, by threat of force, shall knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member. In short, knowingly or recklessly causing physical harm, attempting to cause physical harm, or threatening a family or household member with imminent physical harm is sufficient to be convicted of domestic violence. The degree of the offense, as well as the maximum penalties are dependent upon several factors, including which section of the statute the offender is convicted of committing; whether the offender knew the victim was pregnant; and whether the offender has a previous conviction for domestic violence or another offense of violence in which the victim was a family or household member. Domestic violence is an escalating offense, meaning that for each conviction of the statute, the penalties increase.
The statute contains very specific definitions of the terms “family or household member,” and I’m not going to go into that in this post. I’ll just say that the definition includes more than the husband and wife. For example, a couple who have a child together, even if they’re not married, and not living together, are family or household members.
In addition to the penalties set forth in the domestic violence statute, conviction for this offense can have collateral consequences as well. For example, under federal law, a person convicted of an offense of violence in which the victim was a family or household member, even a misdemeanor level-offense, risks disqualification from possessing firearms. Because the offense is a crime of violence, conviction can also result in disqualification for some types of employment. A conviction for this offense is also a factor that courts consider in cases involving the custody of children.
For the victim of domestic violence, there is assistance available to help protect you from further harm. You may be able to obtain a temporary protection order from the court while the criminal case is pending. You can also seek a Civil Protection Order (CPO) that can last up to five years. Your local prosecutor’s office can put you in touch with a victim’s advocate to help get you started in those processes. If you are unable to afford an attorney to help you with the CPO proceeding, you may qualify for legal assistance through a program established by the Ohio Attorney General. Again, the victim’s advocate office can give you more information about that program.If you’re accused of domestic violence, you should seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you’re a domestic violence victim, an attorney with experience in obtaining CPOs can help you obtain protection from your abuser. I have over 12 years of experience in the defense of domestic violence charges, as well as in assisting victims of domestic violence in obtaining protection orders. Give me a call if you need assistance.

Custody and the Unmarried Father

By jeffreyamc6094596, Oct 10 2015 02:12AM

Greetings to everyone and welcome to my blog. Today, I'm going to discuss an issue that I receive questions about all the time. It's usually something like this:
"Jeff, my girlfriend and I had a child together, but we've recently ended our relationship. Now she won't let me see my child. What can I do?"
Surprisingly, this isn't as simple as some folks would think. Unlike parents who are married and treated as equal parents, Ohio law handles children of unmarried parents much differently. In this state, like many others, the law grants unmarried mothers sole legal custody of a child until a court of competent jurisdiction designates someone else as residential parent and legal custodian. (Ohio Revised Code, Section 3109.042) That means the mother has pretty much unfettered discretion in the child's upbringing, including decisions to allow or deny contact between the child and other people. That's a problem for many of the fathers of such children. Without a court order granting the father custody or parenting time (visitation), there is nothing to prevent the mother from denying him contact with the child. Unmarried mothers having sole custody of children can cause other dilemmas for their fathers as well. For example, the mother could move to another county, or state without notifying the father. While the father can still obtain a court order to establish his parental rights, he may have to go to court in the new county or state to make that happen.
"But, Jeff, I'm paying child support, so I should be able to visit my child." I don't disagree, but unfortunately, that's not the law in Ohio. Child support and parenting time are separate issues. It's entirely possible to be ordered to pay child support without having any rights to visitation. This frequently happens when a mother obtains some type of public assistance such as WIC, food stamps, or a medical card. In such situations, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) has the authority to initiate an administrative hearing to establish paternity and order child support. Such hearings do not address custody or parenting time for the father. There are also a number of other ways that support orders can be established without any corresponding rights of visitation. The important thing you need to know is that a child support order, without more, is insufficient to establish your parental rights.
If you're the father of a child and weren't married to the child's mother when the child was born, you need a court order to establish and enforce your parental rights. If you're in this situation, you should contact an attorney with experience in this area of the law. I've been helping fathers protect their parental rights for over 12 years. Call for an appointment to discuss the facts of your specific case, and I'll be happy to assist you.

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