Established in 2009, our firm has represented thousands of clients in various kinds of criminal cases. Our criminal defense attorneys make sure each client is diligently represented and protected throughout the trial.
Our team of attorneys is knowledgeable and up to date with all the relevant case law and procedural rules in court, and will ensure all your bases are covered.
Use your right to remain silent and your right to an Ohio criminal defense attorney judiciously during an arrest. Police making an arrest must read you your Miranda rights, which are your rights as a detainee in an investigation. Named for the 1966 case Miranda v. Arizona, arresting officers must Mirandize any suspects taken into custody under arrest.
You must only give an officer your legal name for identification if asked. Otherwise, assume that the police are gathering any additional information they can use against you in court.
Criminal charges range from minor misdemeanors to severe felonies. Your full rights when under investigation for a crime include the following:
Depending on the nature of the charges against you, if you qualify for bail, and if you can raise the funds to pay bail, you may have to wait in jail for trial. Defendants awaiting trial for lesser offenses may be able to return to their daily lives while they wait, but defendants charged with more serious offenses could wait for extended periods in jail without bail or bond.
Penalties vary based on the offense.
Misdemeanors. The most minor convictions are fifth-degree misdemeanors. Convictions include a maximum fine of $150 and little to no jail time, depending on the offense. The top-level misdemeanor is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Penalties can include fines up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail.
Felonies. A fifth-degree felony carries six to 12 months in jail or prison, a fine of up to $2,500, and potential community service up to five years after serving time. First-degree felonies are the worst and can include prison time between three and 11 years, plus additional time for related offenses, repeat offenses, or aggravated murder. Convicts can also expect to pay up to $20,000 in fines.
When you need a criminal defense attorney in Ohio, turn to Fortress Law Group in Cleveland Metro. A criminal defense attorney like our founder, Matthew C. Bangerter, can help with your theft, fraud, sex offense, OVI, or gun crime case or appeal. Call (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review.
No, they are not the same thing. Sealing a record hides the record's contents but does not erase a conviction or arrest. While most background checks will not be able to see the contents of a sealed record, immigration offices, professional licensing boards, and employers for jobs working with children or requiring security clearance can see sealed records.
An expungement will erase and seal qualifying arrests, convictions, charges, and more so that even organizations that can see sealed records will not find your criminal history on your record.
Expungement can remove qualifying convictions, arrests, and other legal records for criminal charges. First- and second-degree felonies do not qualify for expungement, nor do traffic offenses. Qualifying records eligible for expunction include:
If you are seeking expungement as a non-violent criminal, have no current criminal charges against you, have six or fewer felonies on record, and are seeking expungement for a third-degree felony or lesser, you may be eligible to request an expungement of your record.
You must also file for the expungement after the waiting period. Misdemeanors require a waiting period of at least one year, while felonies require at least three years after the final decision.
The prosecutor may argue for denial of your request to expunge your record in a hearing before the court. You should hire an Ohio criminal defense attorney such as Matthew Bangerter from our Willoughby, OH, firm to represent your petition for expungement. Contact us at Fortress Law Group for more information about expungement in Northeast Ohio.
Ohio expungement lawyers such as Matthew C. Bangerter of Fortress Law Group can tell you about cases where a petitioner filed for an expungement of their record and didn’t realize the prosecutor would argue for denial of their expungement.
Choosing an expungement attorney from our Northeast Ohio firm, Fortress Law Group can help you fight for a clean record in your expungement hearing. Call our offices in Cleveland Metro at (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review.
Juvenile offenses in Ohio range from minor offenses to serious crimes. If your child receives adjudication and disposition (sentencing) in juvenile court, they could face any of several outcomes, including:
Under certain circumstances, the state may try a juvenile as an adult for especially severe offenses. If a young person over the age of 16 is facing charges for murder, aggravated murder, or a felony sex offense, or if they used a firearm to commit the crime, the courts may try them as an adult.
If a young person age 14 or older is committed to a Department of Youth Services facility, the courts may also decide to try them as an adult for a serious offense. Other circumstances on a case-by-case basis may necessitate the court to try a juvenile as an adult.
Juvenile defendants have just as much right to file an appeal for a conviction as an adult. There is a time limit for juvenile attorneys to file an appeal, so consider if you want to retain the same juvenile crimes lawyer or if you want to retain a new attorney for the appeal.
While juveniles have many of the same rights as adults, one significant difference is that juveniles do not have the right to a trial by jury. Instead, their juvenile crimes attorney must present their arguments directly to a judge.
Juvenile defendants don’t face criminal charges for offenses in juvenile court. Juvenile court is part of the civil court system. However, if tried as an adult, they will face criminal charges in a jury trial.
Not just any Ohio criminal defense attorney is suitable to represent a child in juvenile court. Matthew C. Bangerter, an experienced juvenile crimes attorney with our firm at Fortress Law Group in Cleveland Metro, can review your child’s case and help you build a defense. Call our offices at (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review.
Contact a gun crimes attorney immediately if you’re facing gun crime charges in Ohio. Your Ohio criminal defense attorney will analyze your case and determine the reason for your gun charges, such as:
Under Ohio laws, anyone 21 or older may carry a gun without a permit. Individuals who cannot carry firearms in Ohio include:
In many cases, yes, you might be able to restore your gun rights, depending on the specific charges on your record. Working with experienced gun case lawyers like Matthew C. Bangerter can improve your chances of getting your firearm rights restored.
Until June 2022, Ohio residents had to apply for a concealed carry permit with the local sheriff’s office. Also, if the police pulled a driver over, the driver had to inform the officer of their firearm possession and produce a concealed carry permit.
Today, firearm permits are no longer necessary in Ohio, and drivers who get pulled over don’t need to disclose they’re carrying a gun unless a police officer asks them directly.
Gun charges in Ohio can result in hefty fines, time in jail, a criminal record, and revocation of your gun rights. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help get the charges against you reduced or dismissed and defend your right to carry firearms.
Matthew C. Bangerter, a seasoned gun crimes attorney at Fortress Law Group in Cleveland Metro, has many years of experience handling gun trials in Ohio as a former prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer. To schedule a case review, call his offices at (440) 340-1740.
If you stand accused of burglary or trespassing, contact burglary and trespass offenses attorney Matthew C. Bangerter as soon as possible. Burglary and trespassing are serious criminal charges that can lead to severe penalties in Ohio.
Trespassing is unlawfully entering another person’s property, even if you had no criminal intent. Burglary, typically a more serious charge, is trespassing with the purpose of committing another crime, like theft.
Ohio also recognizes breaking and entering, which the state’s criminal law defines as entering non-residential, unoccupied premises (like an abandoned storeroom or warehouse) with a felony or theft intent.
Depending on your case, your burglary and trespass offenses attorney may:
Absolutely, yes. Working with an experienced burglary and criminal trespass attorney can determine the outcome of your criminal trial, and possibly your entire future.
Criminal attorney Matthew C. Bangerter at Fortress Law Group in Willoughby, OH, has a stellar track record of defending clients against burglary or trespassing charges. As a former prosecutor, Bangerter knows how burglary and trespassing trials work and what legal strategy would be optimal for your case.
To schedule a case review with an experienced burglary and trespass offenses attorney in Cleveland Metro, call (440) 340-1740.
If you’re facing drug crime charges in Ohio, contact an experienced drug crimes lawyer like Matthew C. Bangerter at Fortress Law Group as soon as possible. Drug possession, manufacturing, or trafficking charges could lead to harsh legal penalties, depending on how Ohio law classes the crime and whether it’s your first or repeat offense.
In many cases, a skilled drug crimes lawyer can help get your drug crime record sealed. As long as your conviction appears on your public record, it can limit your career, education, and housing opportunities. Expungement can allow you to turn over a fresh leaf and rebuild your life.
Our criminal attorney can examine your case’s circumstances and the evidence the prosecution brings against you to determine the optimal legal defense strategy.
Possible defenses may include:
Your lawyer can advise you whether to insist on a trial or accept a plea deal in exchange for lesser penalties. For instance, we may work with the court to replace your jail sentence with a rehab program.
Drug charges put your entire future at risk, so it’s crucial to start working with a seasoned Ohio criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Criminal attorney Matthew C. Bangerter of Fortress Law Group is a former prosecutor who uses his knowledge of forensics and years of trial experience to craft efficient legal defense strategies for drug crime cases.
Call his offices at (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review with an experienced drug crimes lawyer in Cleveland Metro.
Violent crimes like assault or manslaughter are some of the most serious criminal charges in Ohio, so you’ll need a competent violent crimes lawyer to argue your case and protect your rights.
Potential penalties depend on the specific charge against you and whether Ohio law classifies the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony. For instance:
Depending on your case, your violent crimes lawyer may suggest several possible defense lines. First, your attorney will scrutinize every bit of evidence the prosecution brings against you, looking for inadmissible or unlawfully obtained evidence.
Your lawyer may also build a defense strategy based on the circumstances of the violent incident, for example, acting in self-defense, out of fear, or to protect others.
Choosing a jury trial vs. a plea bargain is a critical decision you’ll need to make with your lawyer’s help. While a trial involves legal risks, it’s usually the preferable option if you know the accusations against you are false.
In other cases, you may accept a plea deal—that is, plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges and/or a less severe sentence. Keep in mind that many violent crime convictions are ineligible for expungement in Ohio and may affect your entire future, including career prospects and reputation.
Choosing the right violent crime lawyer can determine the outcome of your case. Your violent crime defense attorney can protect your rights, advise you on the optimal legal defense strategy in your circumstances, and represent you at trial.
Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter of Fortress Law Group in Cleveland Metro leverages his background as a former prosecutor, his deep knowledge of DNA and forensics, and his courtroom experience to defend good people accused of bad things. To schedule a case review with violent crimes lawyer Matthew Bangerter, call his offices at (440) 340-1740.
A conviction of theft, burglary, fraud or another related crime in Ohio may involve heavy penalties. It calls for assertive legal defense by a skilled theft & fraud attorney.
The offense’s classification and potential penalties will depend on how much the stolen property is worth. For instance:
Petty theft: When the property is worth under $1,000, the charge is petty theft, a misdemeanor that may lead to a fine of $1,000 and 180 days of incarceration.
Felony theft: If the property is worth between $1,000 and $7,500, convicted individuals may face a felony theft charge, with potential fines of up to $2,500 and 6-12 months in prison.
Grand theft: Stealing property worth between $7,500 and $150,000 is grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. Convicted persons may pay up to $5,000 in fines and spend up to 18 months behind bars.
If you believe you face wrongful theft charges, your attorney may source relevant evidence to defend you against the accusation. In other cases, a plea deal might allow you to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and possibly even qualify for a diversion program for first-time offenders, which may help with record expungement.
Matthew C. Bangerter, an Ohio theft & fraud attorney at Fortress Law Group, can help you decide which approach to use in your legal defense and what outcome you might expect with either option.
If you answer specific legal criteria, an experienced Ohio theft lawyer like Matthew C. Bangerter can help you get a theft or fraud conviction expunged, and your record sealed, even if you faced felony theft charges. This legal procedure, known as sealing of record, removes your conviction history from all public records. Expungement can help you start afresh and prevent past mistakes from harming your reputation, employment prospects, or housing options.
Working with an experienced theft and fraud lawyer is the first step toward protecting your legal rights and minimizing penalties. Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter of Fortress Law Group, a former prosecutor with deep knowledge of DNA and forensics, knows how to choose the optimal strategies for powerful legal defense. Call his office at (440) 340-1740 in Cleveland Metro for a case review.
A sex crimes attorney with our firm, Fortress Law Group, can review your case and its evidence to determine if you had an alibi when the offense occurred and if the DNA evidence demonstrates that you weren’t present. If the case alleges the involvement of other potential suspects, we can review the likelihood that a known cohort of the other suspects might have been involved.
Sex crimes fall under three tiers in Ohio. Tier I is primarily for minor sex crimes, while Tiers II and III are for more serious offenses. Whichever tier a conviction falls under dictates when and how often a sex crimes convict will have to update their sex offender registration.
Common misdemeanor sex crimes include:
Common felony sex crimes include:
You may have your Ohio criminal defense attorney file an appeal after a conviction for a sex offense. If you feel that your defense attorney failed to represent you well in your case, contact us to have experienced sex crimes attorney Matthew C. Bangerter manage your appeal.
Be aware that you only have 30 days to file an appeal or an extension for an appeal to the court.
If you need a sex offenses attorney to represent you in Northeast Ohio, turn to our experienced team at Fortress Law Group, led by Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter. Since 2009, we’ve represented many people accused of sex offenses. Our strategy is to assess forensic evidence, look for witnesses, and secure an alibi to disprove the prosecution’s accusations. Call our offices in Cleveland Metro at (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review.
Operating a vehicle while impaired is a serious offense that endangers the lives of yourself and others on the road.
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” while OVI stands for "operating a vehicle while impaired.” Despite meaning essentially the same thing, the state of Ohio refers to any act of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs as an OVI.
OVI charges include impairment by any drugs or alcohol. You could get a first conviction for alcohol and a second conviction for marijuana later, even if you had no alcohol in your system at the time of the second arrest.
Ohio carries a range of penalties for a first, second, and third offense, including:
An OVI defense attorney with our firm, Fortress Law Group, can review your arrest report and determine if the officer had a reason to perform the traffic stop in the first place. We can also look for evidence to support whether the officer properly administered the field sobriety test, interpreted the test results correctly and whether the breathalyzer was functioning properly.
An underage driver with a BAC of over .02% convicted of an underage OVI offense would face penalties for a fourth-degree misdemeanor. An experienced Ohio OVI lawyer like Matthew C. Bangerter can help you avoid up to 30 days in jail, up to $250 in fines, and a suspended license between three months and two years.
Arguing your own case or using a public defender could result in an undesirable outcome for your trial. An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney knows what to look for in the arrest procedures and evidence.
OVI and DUI attorney Matthew C. Bangerter is well-versed in forensic applications in evidence. He can review your bloodwork and breathalyzer report to find any inconsistencies. Contact his offices at Fortress Law Group in Cleveland Metro at (440) 340-1740 to schedule a case review.
After the conclusion of your case, your criminal appeals attorney must file your appeal or request an extension within 30 days. Most appeal lawyers in Ohio file an extension to have more time with the case notes for an appeal. Once the court receives the appeal, the prosecuting attorney reviews the petition and the court transcripts to draft a counterargument.
When the prosecuting attorney finishes their brief, three appellate judges will read the defendant’s and prosecutor’s brief and hear oral arguments from both attorneys. They will vote on whether to uphold or overturn the original court’s decision.
You can’t file an appeal just to seek a “not guilty” decision. Courts usually uphold a jury’s decision unless the evidence in the court transcripts suggests the original trial procedures were incorrect or unfair. An appeal is a way to potentially rectify an error in the court procedure in your case.
Some issues in successful appeal cases include evidence that shouldn’t have been permissible, an error in the court procedure, or allowing damaging testimony from an unreliable witness. Our criminal appeals attorney, Matthew C. Bangerter at Fortress Law Group, will advise you on the best approach.
An appeal does not turn a guilty verdict into a not-guilty verdict. Instead, an appeal determines whether the original trial followed the appropriate procedures. Winning your appeal usually results in remanding the case to the lower court for a new trial.
Be aware that the appeals process typically takes over a year. Both sides and the judges need to review your trial procedures to determine an appeal decision.
If you represented yourself in your original case or weren’t happy with your defense attorney’s performance during your trial, you should call an experienced appeals attorney, such as Matthew C. Bangerter of Willoughby, OH, to represent you. The legal briefs and forms you need to file for an appeal require extensive knowledge of Ohio court procedures.
Bangerter, a criminal appeals attorney from Fortress Law Group, can review your case from arrest, discovery, and trial procedures to determine what arguments exist for your appeal. We have represented people in criminal trials and appeals since 2009 across Northeast Ohio, and we’re ready to take on your case, too! Call for a case review at (440) 340-1740
At Fortress Law Group, we want to provide you with a clear understanding of the criminal charges you may be facing and their implications for your future. We maintain a collection of resources to educate and prepare you for effective coordination with your legal team.
Unlock the power of knowledge to confidently navigate your Ohio criminal charge by downloading the FREE e-book "Charged with a Crime in Ohio? Useful Info that May Be Helpful in Your Case" authored by experienced attorney Matthew C Bangerter, ESQ, from Fortress Law Group.
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