When someone has made the offer of pleading down a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, many people jump at the chance without fully understanding what it is that they are agreeing to. This is especially the case when someone is facing drug charges, as a means to avoid the uncertainty of a criminal trial and the cost of going through the long haul. But a new podcast focusing on the criminal justice system in Ohio highlights the flaws in this way of thinking.
As mentioned recently on this blog, the penalties associated to a conviction for various criminal charges, including drug crimes, can be life changing. A criminal record prevents a person from moving on with their life and becoming a productive member of society, even if they have paid back their debt to society. A single blemish on someone's record can prevent a person from getting a job, living in certain locales and applying from certain jobs. It doesn't get any better as time goes on -- in fact the frustration of not being able to move about freely and earn a living might be enough to turn a person back to a life of crime.
An indictment is issued by a grand jury to charge someone of committing a serious crime. A grand jury completes a formal investigation, comprising of sworn testimony and physical evidence, before determining if there is probably cause for criminal charges. An indictment is considered to have more weight than a criminal complaint. An arrest takes place after the indictment is issued.
Many people can get touchy when it comes to the subject of money. Unfortunately, this sensitivity often arises because of people's past experiences with another person cheating them somehow. Typically, when a person is accused of a crime involving money and personal gain, he or she faces charges for a white collar crime.
White collar crimes may not seem as serious as other criminal offenses; however, these crimes can carry significant penalties. State laws treat embezzlement differently, and in Ohio, the laws surrounding the penalties for embezzlement are within the laws about theft. Generally, a number of factors can affect the charges that one is facing and the penalties associated with it, including the type of property stolen and from whom it was stolen, as some victims can belong to a protected category, such as the elderly or disabled. Additionally, the value of the assets stolen and the person being accused's criminal history is also considered when these decisions are being made.