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Criminal Law

White Law Office, Co. > Criminal Law

What to Expect in a Criminal Investigation

A criminal investigation can be a very stressful and confusing time for you. Below are frequently asked questions and answers to guide you, or a loved one, when facing a criminal investigation: Q: Do I need an attorney during a criminal investigation? A:  Not always- but it is highly recommended. An attorney will be able to ensure that law enforcement officials are properly, ethically, and legally conducting said investigation. The U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution provide an abundance of protections to those who are under criminal investigation. As such, an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected.   Q: I cannot afford an attorney during a criminal investigation, what do I do? A:  One way to ensure that your rights during an investigation are protected is to consult with an attorney, rather than hiring an attorney, during a criminal investigation. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and how to protect yourself, as well as a loved one, from improper or even illegal investigation tactics. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney if you cannot afford one to ensure you are aware of your rights. Q: A Detective or law enforcement officer wants to talk to me, what do I do? A:  Many people are overwhelmed during a criminal investigation. Though the need to vocalize your innocence may seem important to you, it is recommended that you allow an attorney to assist you through this process. Any information that you or a loved one may provide to law enforcement may be used against you one in a court of law. Remember that you are afforded the right to...

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What is the difference between a warrant and a summons?

In criminal law, there are two basic ways that a person is informed of the charges against him or her and are brought to court to answer those charges. The first way is one is familiar to anyone who has received a traffic ticket. Few people receiving a minor traffic ticket are physically arrested. Instead of arrest, the police officer issues a ticket or citation that informs the person what they are charged with and when they must appear in court to answer the charge. The portion of the ticket, usually at the bottom, is called a summons. The summons gives the name and address of the court and the initial hearing date and time for appearance. If the offense is subject to waiver, the person may plead guilty and pay the fine prior to the hearing in the summons. If the offense is not waivable, then a personal appearance in court is required. If you receive a summons and do not appear in court, you will become familiar with the second way people are bought to court on criminal charges: a warrant will be issued for your arrest. An arrest warrant is a court order for law enforcement to arrest a person and bring them before the court to answer the charge. If there is time before the court hearing, the person arrested may post a bond to ensure their appearance. For minor offenses, the amount of the bond may be set by a court-approved schedule or the court may set the...

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It is Time to Expunge Your Criminal Record!

One of the hardest things to do after a criminal conviction is to move on with your life. Often, individuals who have a criminal conviction(s) are prevented from attaining gainful employment, receiving promotions, or pursuing higher education. The State of Ohio recognizes the difficulties that one may face when they have a criminal conviction(s) and as such, has set up an opportunity under statutory law to help. To remove barriers that youthful or adult offenders may experience when having a criminal conviction(s) on their record, the State of Ohio, through statutory law, has put in place tools for one to seal, or expunge, their criminal conviction(s). The controlling authority in sealing one’s criminal records can be found in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2953. To “seal” or “expunge” one’s record means that said criminal conviction(s) is not available for public review. However, keep in mind that the records of conviction(s) are not terminated or destroyed. Not everyone who has a criminal conviction(s) is eligible to have their records sealed. However, you may be eligible to have your criminal conviction(s) sealed if: Your criminal conviction(s) that you are trying to expunge is not prohibited by law from expungement; or, You were found not guilty, or your case was dismissed; or, You have the following criminal convictions: One Felony Conviction (one must wait a period of three (3) years from the completion of the sentence (which includes completing probation)); Two Felony Convictions (after waiting a period of four (4) years from the completion of sentence); Three, Four, or Five Felony Convictions (after waiting a period of five (5) years from the...

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Social Media and the Law

We are in a social media-driven day and age. On average, internet users spend about 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networking platforms. Saima Salim, How much time do you spend on social media? Research says 142 minutes per day. With such a significant amount of time spent on these sites, it is wise to be aware of some of the legal issues you could face. There are many aspects where social media and the law collide. Privacy First of all, consider the privacy of the information you post online (or the lack thereof). How often do you put something online and consider whether you would want a judge or prosecutor to view the evidence? Courts are seeing social media used in cases more and more often, especially in divorce cases. If you post something online, it is very possible that it can be used against you in court. Social media sites are built to collect data from you. That is one of their primary goals. They are fueled by companies who advertise to your specific needs and wants. They use a multitude of tricks to get you to give them information, and anyone – including the government – can be collecting this data from you. As the ABA eloquently put it, "In Europe, Canada, and other countries across the world, protection of each citizen's private information is considered to be a human right, secured by statute and enforced by the government and private causes of action. In...

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Finding the Right Fit When Searching for a Lawyer

Lawyers have solutions that can be close to “one size fits all” for simple matters, those solutions are only for the most basic of situations.Every nuance and detail of your situation, no matter how small you might think it is, can cause the recommended solution for your problem to change.This, among other reasons, is why it is so hard to compare attorneys based on price point. Some attorneys will attempt to shoehorn you into a solution that may not be the best for your situation, but it is “low cost.”We have witnessed this when so-called “Trust Mills” come through town.They charge a set price, and they have never met anyone who doesn’t need a Trust.The thing is, we have met plenty of people that didn’t need a Trust.The Trust was overkill for their situation, not set up correctly, and in the end a waste of their money. Legal services should be like a good pair of shoes.They should fit well and last a long time, or at least until your situation changes and you need a different pair.One size fits all solutions in legal services are like one size fits all clothing—they are made in bulk, out of the cheapest material, all to benefit the manufacturer.Yes, it is cheap, but it wasn’t made with you in mind.Having a custom-tailored solution takes time and getting to know you as a person.Sure, at the end of the day, it may be more expensive, but it fits you and won’t wear out too quickly. So if...

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5 Questions to Ask When Looking for an Attorney

Finding an attorney adds stress to an already stressful situation. So, when you realize you need an attorney how can you be sure that you find the right one? 1. Does the attorney have a reputation for being able to handle your kind of matter? The single greatest factor in most people’s search for an attorney is personal recommendations. Ask your friends, family, neighbors, pastor, or other service providers who they recommend. Then ask them why they recommend that attorney. Is it because they got the job done quickly? Did the attorney keep them informed? What exactly was it that made them recommend that attorney to you. After looking for personal recommendations, search out the attorney on the internet and on social media. What are other people saying about the attorney? Do they advertise the kind of work you need? Have they written articles on the work you need? Using a combination of personal recommendations and online reviews can help lead you to an attorney that may fit your needs. 2. Does the attorney listen to your situation before recommending a solution? Once you are found an attorney you need to meet with them. This is usually in person, but it can also be done over the phone or via video chat. When you are meeting with the attorney the first time, who is doing most of the talking? That first meeting should start with you doing most of the talking and the attorney asking questions. Every situation is unique, and if the attorney doesn’t take time to...

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Protecting the Family [Tree] Farm: Part 2 (For Future Generations)

My last post mentioned some ways to protect your tree farm from misuse or abuse when logging or selling the timber off your property. But what will become of your tree farm in the future? What if you want to preserve it as a tree farm for future generations? If you have family that will carry on the legacy, a simple Will could be sufficient to keep the property in the family. If, however, you don't have family who wants to preserve the property, or you want to make sure property remains forested long after you and your family are gone, you may be interested in a conservation easement. A conservation easement basically preserves the land as it's being used, whether for typical agricultural products (corn, wheat, soy, etc.) or as a tree farm. You would be giving an organization, such as a land trust or conservancy, the right to permanently enforce the easement on the land – to use the property only for the stated purposes. In Ohio, if you want to receive compensation for having a conservation easement on your land, you could do this through a grant from the Clean Ohio Fund's Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). In that case, your land would have to meet certain requirements, such as having a minimum of 40 acres, it must contain a restriction against subdividing parcels in the future, and for forested land, it has to have a written Forest Management Plan in place. If you aren't concerned with...

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