Tag Archives: felony
Most people think that when someone is indicted in Ohio for a felony that there are only two possible resolutions: (1) The person will plead or be found guilty, or (2) the person will be acquitted of the charges. That is not entirely true. Ohio has a couple of alternatives that an attorney could pursue on behalf of a felony criminal defendant. First, the attorney could file a motion for Intervention in Lieu of Conviction (“ILC”). In short, ILC basically allows a person who committed a crime due to their addiction to drugs or alcohol to receive treatment for their substance abuse problems instead of a conviction and prison time. But, ILC is not available for all felony defendants and a given defendant must first be found to qualify for ILC. Ask your attorney whether you qualify (ILC is not available for certain crimes and certain offenders). If the Court accepts the ILC it will then prescribe a particular treatment program for the defendant and suspend the pending criminal action. If the defendant does what the Court demands as far as the treatment goes, the Court will dismiss the charges and the defendant can avoid a felony conviction altogether.
The second possibility is something called “Diversion.” Diversion is similar to ILC in that if the defendant is accepted for diversion and completes the program, then ultimately he or she avoids being convicted of a felony. The defendant is “diverted” out of the criminal court system and given a chance to accomplish certain goals set by the program. If the defendant successfully completes the diversion program, then the Court will dismiss the charges. However, like ILC, only certain charges and certain types of criminal defendants are eligible for a diversion program.
People who have been caught “red-handed” in the commission of a felony in Ohio often just want to get the entire thing over and do not want to hire an attorney, believing that because they are so obviously guilty, there is nothing to do but plead guilty or no contest. This is a major mistake.
Attorneys provide value to all criminal defendants, even those that feel there is no point in fighting anything. Because prosecutors know that the average layman will not go to trial and make the prosecutor actually work to prove the defendants guilt, the prosecutors will not offer any reduction in charges (or drop some of the charges altogether), nor will they agree to stipulate to a certain sentence in exchange for pleading guilty. In other words, prosecutor have no incentive to enter into plea bargain discussions with a layman. An attorney on the other hand can threaten trial, which in practical terms, means A LOT OF WORK for the prosecutor and this provides a strong incentive for the prosecutor to work with the defense counsel in reaching some agreement that is much more beneficial for the defendant.
Furthermore, without benefit of counsel, defendants that are eligible for Diversion or “intervention in lieu of conviction” programs will not file the appropriate motions and therefore, these defendants are never considered for these programs. These programs are the best result that a criminal defendant can have short of an acquittal, because if accepted to either one, a defendant can avoid a conviction and criminal record.
The bottom line is that if you have been charged with a felony in Ohio, you need to retain counsel, or ask the court to appoint you counsel because the results are almost guaranteed to be better than if you merely plead guilty. Even if you are obviously guilty, there are benefits to having representation.
This post is directed to the many “do-it-yourselfers” in the residential leasing market. This post is not meant to help the large, multi-dwelling landlords with full-time management and legal staffs. No, this is for the guy who gets transferred to another city and decides to rent out that house or condo in his current location rather than deal with market, or those budding real estate mogulists who’ve squirreled away money from their day job to have acquired 3 or 4 properties rented around town. These are the landlords that will most likely deal directly with tenants, and those that are least prepared to do so, considering their skills lie in engineering, or medicine, or building decks, or anything besides leasing residential housing. So here is a quick checklist for those who play landlord on the weekends:
1) Make sure to reduce the lease agreement to writing if the tenancy period is going to last over a year. You should always reduce your agreements to writing in order to prove the deal anyway, but oral tenancies lasting longer than a year are not even enforceable.
2) Never threaten to physically remove the tenant or lock the tenant out of the premises, even if they have failed to pay rent. Self-help is completely illegal in Ohio. Even if you can do so peacefully, you are never allowed to personally dispossess the tenant from the premises. The only legal way to evict a residential tenant in Ohio is through the statutory procedures proscribed in O.R.C. Sec. 2913, and the eviction must be sanctioned by a court in all circumstances.
3) You have a duty to keep the premises in a safe and habitable condition. This duty is not negotiable and you cannot shift this duty to the tenant, even in exchange for lower rent. It is ultimately the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the premises is up to building, housing and health codes, and at all times remains in habitable condition
4) Never retaliate against a tenant should they report code violations. You could be open to damages and attorneys fees if the court finds that you initiated eviction proceedings in retaliation for the tenants reporting alleged code violations.
5) Make sure to carry-out each duty the law requires of you under the Landlord-Tenant Act (O.R.C. Sec 5321). Most of the duties are self-evident and require only that you conduct yourself with basic human decency in the leasing of property, but you should look them over nonetheless.
6) If you intend to evict the tenant for the non-payment of rent or other default, make sure you provide the required Three-Day notice to vacate, required under state law before you do anything else. Do not file the eviction action in court until you have first provided the tenant with a notice to vacate, and then have waited at least three days. The court will lack jurisdiction to hear the eviction action unless the tenant is given the notice.
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