Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter North Eastern Ohio

What Are Some Alternatives To Incarceration In Ohio?

What Are Some Alternatives To Incarceration In Ohio? There are many alternatives to incarceration, depending on the case, such as community service, house arrest – although typically, if a person gets house arrest, it will be for a bit longer than they would have spent in jail. Some people are placed on probation without jail time. Many first offenders receive something called diversion, in which the person admits to committing a crime, performs some community service, does some counseling, mental health assessment or some classes and if they complete all those requirements successfully, the case will be dismissed. The same is true with drug treatment; for a drug related case in which the person charged has never been in trouble before, there are times when we can work out some sort of treatment program that can result in the charge being dismissed if the person completes it successfully.

Can You Help People With An Expungement Or A Sealing?

In Ohio, you can have up to two misdemeanors sealed or one felony plus one misdemeanor sealed. There are some exceptions to that because certain crimes can never be sealed, such as violent felonies, sex crimes and OVIs, other than those I can and do help quite a few clients get their records sealed.

Having a record sealed is not the same as having it expunged. Technically, expungement means that the record is actually destroyed. Sealing a record just means it is placed under a seal, so that most people cannot get to it. In Ohio, when a record is sealed, most people will not be able to see it, but by law certain professions can always see your sealed records. If you plan to join the FBI, A Medical professional, a school teacher, for example would be an issue. Also, most professional licensing boards will be able to access all sealed record.

How Hard Is It To Get An Arrest Or A Conviction Sealed Or Expunged?

There is an initial application that I create and file with the court, in which I will include a pitch as to why you have moved on with your life. That you are doing better in the community, why this will never happen again and why you should be able to move on without this record holding you back. The courts will do their own background check to make sure you are eligible and they will speak to the probation department to get some sort of recommendation. The prosecutor will also have a chance to object. Then we get a court date, which I instruct my clients to treat as a job interview, except that, instead of the judge asking why they should hire you, they will ask why they should seal this record. The judge will ask about what you have been doing with your life, how you have improved, how you have shown that you are rehabilitated. That might be the hardest part for the client but overall, it is not a complex process.

For a misdemeanor, you cannot get your record sealed until a year after your last involvement with the court, which means a year after getting off probation, paying all fines and finishing all your community service. For a felony, it is three years from that time.

How Do People Get Back On Their Feet?

The ability to get back on their feet often requires a person to be engaged with some kind of treatment program or if there is a mental health issue in a case, staying engaged with the mental health programming, using the tools those treatment programs provide to stay on track, and staying away from situations. Building a support network of family and friends is a huge indicator of future success after your case is over. Setting yourself up to succeed by making the right choices and surrounding yourself with the right people and that sort of thing is the best way to move forward.

Is There A Look-Back Period Where A Second Offense Might Be Considered A First?

Look-back periods are typically used to enhance an offense, for example, for an OVI, which is typically a first degree misdemeanor with a minimum of three days in jail, there is a six-year look back period. If you have a prior in six years, then the minimum now becomes five days in jail. There is also a look-back period of twenty years and a lifetime look-back period.

Getting additional OVIs within those specific time windows elevates the seriousness of the charge. As far as when a second offense is considered to be a first, the court will always look at your previous offenses. They are one of the entities that can look at a sealed record, so if you had the first one sealed and you get another criminal charge, the court will know and they will likely take that into account if your case gets to the point of sentencing.

For more information on Process of Indictment and alternatives to incarceration, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (440) 409-7898 today.

Get the Best Defense for Your Case

You deserve to work with an attorney you can count on to do everything in their power to win your case. Schedule a strategy session with our firm today to develop the strongest path forward.

Get Started

Click to schedule a strategy session today