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Criminal Defense Attorney in Willoughby, OH

If you're facing criminal charges, Fortress Law Group, LLC is here to help. Our Willoughby, OH, criminal defense attorneys offer the legal services you need to proceed confidently.
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A Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Criminal charges can have serious long-term consequences for your future, including jail time and a criminal record. Being accused of a crime can be embarrassing and hurtful, even if you're innocent.

You’ll want to understand the nature of the charges and your obligations as a defendant. Our team at Fortress Law Group, LLC can stand up for your rights and offer legal guidance throughout the investigation process.

Types of Criminal Cases We Handle

Defending yourself in court can be scary and overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. Fortunately, you don't need to do it alone. Our criminal defense attorneys have handled a wide variety of cases, including:

  • Drug Offenses: Cases involving the possession or distribution of illegal drugs are often complex. Drug offenses in Ohio can have severe penalties, including fines, incarceration, probation, and license suspension.
  • Domestic Violence Crimes: Domestic violence is a crime in which the perpetrator commits violent acts against a family or household member. You could face fines, jail, and a tainted reputation if convicted.
  • Theft Offenses: The most common theft offense is petty theft, which involves taking someone’s property without their consent. We've helped many defendants understand their options and successfully minimize penalties.

What Are Your Rights During a Criminal Investigation?

Our primary goal as lawyers is to defend your rights and protect you during a criminal investigation. The last thing you want to do is incriminate yourself with a poorly written statement or receive a wrongful conviction. With the help of a trusted attorney, you can know how to best proceed in court.

You have specific legal rights in Ohio that you should know and memorize. These include:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to a fair trial
  • The right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
  • The right not to face trial twice
  • The right to a jury trial
  • The right to a speedy trial
  • The right to confront an accuser

Knowing your legal rights is essential to protecting yourself and ensuring that you don’t get taken advantage of in a criminal defense case. If the prosecutor or law enforcement violates these rights, you could get your case dismissed.

What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

The judicial system can sometimes be confusing to the average American, with specific procedures and technical terminology. You may have heard of terms like "misdemeanor" and "felony," but what do they mean? How are misdemeanors and felonies different?

In Ohio, misdemeanors are typically less serious than felonies. First-degree misdemeanors (such as assault and domestic violence) are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, a felony conviction could result in lifetime imprisonment.

At Fortress Law Group, LLC, we can assess your situation and its potential legal consequences. Contact us today for a criminal defense consultation.

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Why Choose Fortress Law Group?

Extensive Experience – 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.


Professional and Reliable – We value the trust and confidence each client gives us. The criminal justice system is complex, but we are dedicated to guiding you throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected.


Comprehensive Criminal Defense – Our team of attorneys is knowledgeable and up to date with all the relevant case laws and procedural rules in court and will ensure all your bases are covered.


Flexible Consultation Times – Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter. You must communicate with a lawyer as soon as possible. That’s why our communication lines – online and via phone – are available for clients to reach out to us at any time.

How a Criminal Lawyer Can Help You

Criminal defense attorneys aim to get the charges dismissed or at least reduced for their clients. We may employ one or multiple strategies to help us get there, attacking the case from a different angle each time. The specific tactics we use often vary from case to case.

The following are some of the most common strategies we use to defend our clients:

  • Conducting a thorough investigation of the case
  • Determining if any evidence exists that might help your case or hurt your case
  • Collecting witness statements and other useful information
  • Arranging for forensic testing on items involved in your case
  • Presenting alternative suspects as possible perpetrators of the crime you are accused of committing

Contact a Criminal Defense Law Firm Today

Our attorneys at Fortress Law Group, LLC have a background as former prosecutors, giving us a unique perspective on building a solid defense. We also have in-depth knowledge of DNA and molecular genetics to aid in deciphering forensic evidence.

Don't hesitate to contact a reputable lawyer in Willoughby, OH, if you're facing criminal charges. Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Fortress Law Firm defend good people accused of bad things. Call us today to schedule a case evaluation.

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Related FAQs

Criminal Defense

What should I do during my arrest?

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.

What rights do I have when being investigated for criminal charges?

Criminal charges range from minor misdemeanors to severe felonies. Your full rights when under investigation for a crime include the following:

  • Your Miranda rights (right to remain silent, right to an Ohio criminal attorney)
  • Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
  • The right to a fair and speedy trial by jury
  • The right to confront an accuser in court

Will I spend time in jail?

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.

What are some penalties I could face if convicted?

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.

What kind of cases does your firm handle?

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.

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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.

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Matthew C. Bangerter, Esq.

As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Lake County Ohio, Cleveland criminal defense attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. has experience with the strategies used by prosecutors to pursue their cases. As a member of the Ohio Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Board of Directors of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he takes his profession as a Cleveland criminal defense attorney seriously and ensures that he is up to date with the latest case law and trial strategies.

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Whether you’re charged with a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony, the prospect of facing trial is stressful. Worse, there’s also the possibility of jail time if things don’t go well for you in court. To help you face these legal adversities, you need an attorney who can work on an effective defense strategy and make sure your civil rights are upheld throughout the process. A Willoughby criminal appeals attorney at Fortress Law Group, LLC provides clients with comprehensive legal representation from trial to appeal, if needed.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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