Affordable and Aggressive Legal Representation
Criminal, Domestic and Civil Litigation
Columbus and Surrounding Areas.
All Consultations are Free: Call anytime, 24 hours a day 7 days a week
Call (614) 273 9502 Vassy Law Office
580 S High St Suite 150
Columbus, OH 43215
 

Criminal Defense

If you have been accused of a crime your freedom and livelihood are at stake. You are presumed to be innocent and cannot be found guilty until the State proves their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. You need a lawyer who is willing and able to fight for you rights and protect you from being abused by the criminal justice system.

Areas of Practice

  • OVI/DUI
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault
  • Gun Possession
  • Drug Possession
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Theft and Receiving Stolen Property
  • Identity Theft and Fraud
  • Arrest Warrants
  • Bond Hearings
  • Driver's License and BMV Issues
  • Failure to Pay Child Support
  • Expungements
  • Probation Revocation Hearings
  • Petitions for Judicial Release
  • Parole Board Hearings

Right to Remain Silent

You have the absolute right to remain silent and refuse to speak to the police or answer any questions. Your decision to remain silent cannot be used as evidence of your guilt.

If you are being investigated for a crime, or have even been caught in the act, always remain silent and refuse to make any statements

I frequently see clients who are convicted of crimes because of the statements that they made to the police. The police are trained on ways to get you to incriminate yourself. This may be your first time speaking with the police, but the officer you're speaking with has likely interrogated hundreds of suspects.

If you are being questioned by the police, they at least suspect you of wrong doing. If the officers have enough evidence to charge you with an offense then you will be charged…regardless of what you tell them. If they don't have any evidence against you, then all they can do is try to get you to incriminate yourself. Do not try to talk your way out of it. Invoke your right to remain silent and request legal counsel immediately.

Basics of Criminal Law

Types of Crimes

There are two major categories of crimes, Felonies and Misdemeanors. Felonies range from first degree felonies to fifth degree felonies. Misdemeanors range from first degree to fourth degree misdemeanors with a fifth category of minor misdemeanors. The lower the degree, the more serious the nature of the offense and tougher punishment. A first degree misdemeanor is more serious than a second degree misdemeanor, and so on.

Being Charged with a Crime

A misdemeanor is charged through the submission of a sworn complaint by the arresting officer or prosecuting witness. Misdemeanors are usually initiated immediately or within a few days from the incident. Being charged with a felony requires submission of your case to the grand jury and it often takes several months for a Defendant to be charged.

Whether you are being investigated or have already been charged, it is never too early to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Penalties for Criminal Offenses

The chart below details the maximum penalty for each category of a felony and misdemeanor. Punishment for a given category of crime will vary depending on the facts of the offense and a Defendant's criminal record.

Even if you have a case that is unwinnable, good legal counsel can provide the court with evidence of your character and circumstances to greatly reduce your punishment.

Crime Incarceration Maximum Fine
1st Degree Felony 3 to 11 Years $20,000
2nd Degree Felony 2 to 8 Years $15,000
3rd Degree Felony 1 to 5 Years $10,000
4th Degree Felony 6 to 18 Months $5,000
5th Degree Felony 6 to 12 Months $2,500
1st Degree Misdemeanor Up to 180 Days $1,000
2nd Degree Misdemeanor Up to 90 Days $750
3rd Degree Misdemeanor Up to 60 Days $500
4th Degree Misdemeanor Up to 30 Days $250
Minor Misdemeanor None $150

Probation

If you are convicted of a crime it is also possible that you will receive a community control sanction, commonly referred to as probation. Probation involves the court monitoring your behavior for a certain period of time. If you do not follow the courts orders you can be sentenced to jail or prison. When entering into a plea bargain there are usually many different possibilities for the terms of your probation. It is important to have legal counsel that can negotiate the terms of your probation so that it has a minimal impact on your daily life.

Arrest Warrants

If you have a warrant for your arrest, it is important that you act immediately. Often times, a warrant can be lifted without you having to spend one second in jail. This frequently happens in cases where the Defendant does not believe that avoiding jail is a possibility.

If you ignore the warrant you will eventually be arrested and will have to spend time in jail. A defendant's decision to address the warrant in a timely manner is one of the most important factors that the court will consider in deciding to lift a warrant or to set bail.

Most warrants can be lifted the same day that I am hired by my clients.

Legal Process

Arraignment

An arraignment is your initial appearance with the Court. It is a time for you to hear the nature of the charges against you and to enter an initial plea. It is also a time at which the Court will set a bond if you are in custody.

Except for unusual situations, a Defendant will enter an initial plea of Not Guilty and the case will proceed through to the trial phase.

Pre Trial Motions and the Suppression of Evidence

The police cannot search you or your property without proper justification. The police frequently step beyond their authority in conducting a search. Evidence that was improperly obtained cannot be used as evidence against you in court.

Even in situations where you don't believe that you have a defense, an experienced attorney can find errors in the actions taken by the police.

Trial Phase

Once you have been arraigned, your case will be randomly assigned a judge and a trial date will be scheduled. Some judges will also schedule a pre-trial date prior to the trial date. A pre-trial date is a time to meet with the prosecutor and judge to see if a plea bargain can be reached. When someone is charged with a crime they have the option to enter into a plea bargain agreement or to proceed to trial.

The decision on how to proceed is something that will be made after considering the evidence against you and the nature of the charges. It is my job to educate you on the strengths and weaknesses of your case, so that you are able to make an intelligent and informed decision on how to proceed.

Post Conviction Issues

Probation Revocation Hearings

Probation requires a defendant to abide by certain conditions imposed by the sentencing court. These conditions can include: not committing any new crimes; not consuming any drugs or alcohol; being randomly tested for drugs and/or alcohol; maintaining employment; paying for any damaged property; paying a fine imposed by the court; or, paying victims for any financial losses that they suffered.

If the conditions are not followed, a defendant's probation can be revoked and a jail or prison sentence can be imposed. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, the court will schedule a revocation hearing. The hearing is a time for you to challenge the accusation that you violated your probation and to explain your circumstances to the court.

The court has the option to allow you to continue on probation with a warning, increase the conditions of your probation, extend the length of your probation or impose a prison or jail sentence. The stakes at a revocation hearing are high and it is essential that you have a strong advocate on your side.

Often times a client makes a mistake on probation, is arrested and then held in jail until the revocation hearing is scheduled. If you have a family member or loved one who is being held in such a situation, please contact my office for a free consultation. It is possible to have a defendant released prior to the revocation hearing, saving them several weeks in jail.

Judicial Release

A defendant who has been sent to prison can petition the court for an early release. Eligibility depends on the time that has already been served and the total length of the sentence. The court will make its decision to release a defendant based upon the nature of the crime, the defendant's prior criminal record and the defendant's record while in prison. Please contact my office to determine if your relative or loved one is eligible to file a petition for judicial release.

Expungement

A criminal conviction can affect nearly every aspect of your life. It can interfere with your ability to obtain a job, attend school or even rent an apartment. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, it is possible that you can have it expunged. This will prevent most organizations and individuals from being able to obtain a record of your conviction. Not all convictions can be expunged, but a brief phone consultation can determine if you are eligible for expungement.