Frequently Asked Questions

“Max is professional, communicative, and thoroughly helpful. He was able to majorly reduce penalties and charges against me in the case which I hired him for and I would recommend him to anyone in need!”

- Kyle W.

How to Choose an Attorney

The defense attorney you choose to stand by your side during a criminal case should be someone you trust to defend you fully and responsibly. Here are a few things to look for:

    • Good communication
    • Years of experience in criminal defense
    • Experience in a courtroom setting
    • Knowledge of the court you’re in
    • Clear fee structures (no hidden fees)

Is My Case Eligible For Diversion?

Pre-trial diversion programs give people in Ohio who have been charged with minor offenses a chance to avoid prosecution by pleading guilty and completing a probation period with certain requirements. People charged with first-time, non-violent offenses are eligible (i.e., theft, white-collar offenses, underage drinking).

What should I do if I’m wrongfully accused of a crime?

If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime, it’s important to understand this is not the same thing as being charged with a crime. However, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area to discuss your case in the event that you are charged at a later point.

What are Miranda rights?

The Miranda rights are a list of rights that should be read to you if you are arrested or detained and being questioned:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

What do I do if my family or loved one has been arrested or the police want to talk to them?

If your family or loved one has been arrested or the police want to talk to them, we recommend that you hire an attorney for them right away. You may feel the urge to go talk to the police with them yourself, but your best bet is to hire someone who knows how to protect their rights — and their permanent record.

How long does it take to fight a felony charge?

A felony charge case can involve many different kinds of crimes here in Ohio. A felony case can take anywhere from months to years to resolve typically, depending on the severity of the case and who’s involved.

The investigation often can last days, months, or even years before you’re formally charged in what’s called an indictment. After that indictment, you’ll have something called an arraignment, which is when it all gets started in court. 

After that, you’ll appear for many pre-trials, when they bring everyone into court to try to get the cases resolved. 

If the case is not resolved, it will go to trial.

Should I talk to the police if I have nothing to hide?

No. It’s always advisable to talk with your lawyer before you talk to the police, and then bring your lawyer with you to talk to the police, as well. Without your advocate there, the police may (intentionally or unintentionally) take what you say out of context, twist your words, or attempt to confuse you.

What should I do if I get stopped for a DUI / OVI in Ohio?

Remember your rights. If you get pulled over for a DUI / OVI:

  1. Pull over calmly and remain polite with the officer.
  2. Do not admit to drinking. You do not have to answer incriminating questions.
  3. Do not agree to any sobriety tests or blood, urine, or breath tests.
  4. Assert your right to call your lawyer.

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

Yes, but only if the proper procedures and permissions are followed by the police. These checkpoints are a legal method of catching and deterring drunk driving that began in Ohio in 1989. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled them legal federally with certain guidelines.

What is Implied Consent in Ohio?

  • Ohio’s “implied consent” law requires drivers arrested for an OVI to submit to testing to determine the amount of drugs or alcohol in the person’s system. There are 3 types of tests:
    1. Blood
    2. Breath
    3. Urine

The officer will be the one to choose the type of test.

What are the DUI consequences in Ohio?

  1. First-Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio: If your blood alcohol level is less than .17% (low level), you could be facing any of the following:
    • Maximum 6 months in jail
    • Minimum 3 days in jail or 3-day Drivers Intervention Program
    • Maximum 5 years of probation
    • Fine between $375-$1,075 
    • Suspended license (1-3 years)
  1. Second Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio: If you’re arrested for a second OVI in 10 years, you could be facing any of the following for low level blood alcohol findings:
    • Maximum 6 months in jail
    • Minimum 10 days in jail or 5 days in jail and 18 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring 
    • Maximum 5 years of probation
    • Fine between $525-$1,625 
    • Suspended license (1-7 years)
    • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment
  1. Third Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio: If you’re arrested for a third OVI in 10 years, you could be facing any of the following for low level blood alcohol findings:
    • Maximum 1 year in jail
    • Minimum 30 days in jail or 15 days in jail and 55 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring 
    • Maximum 5 years of probation
    • Fine between $850-$2,750
    • Suspended license (2-10 years)
    • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment
  1. After a 4th Offense, the charge becomes a felony.

What Do I Do After My Third DUI Offense In Ohio?

After your third DUI offense in Ohio, the law requires completion of an alcohol and drug addiction program and a $475 reinstatement fee owed to the BMV at the end of your license suspension. You might also face insurance premiums and issues with employment. 

For these reasons, you may want to seek the aid of an experienced Ohio DUI attorney.

Are there different levels of penalties for drug charges in Ohio?

Yes. The penalties include: 

  1. Minor misdemeanor: $150 fine and no jail time
  2. Misdemeanor of the fourth degree: $250 fine and 30 days in jail
  3. Misdemeanor of the third degree: $500 fine and 60 days in jail
  4. Misdemeanor of the second degree: $750 fine and 90 days in jail
  5. Misdemeanor of the first degree: $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail
  6. Felony of the fifth degree: $2,500 fine and 6 to 12 months in prison
  7. Felony of the fourth degree: $5,000 fine and 6 to 18 months in prison
  8. Felony of the third degree: between $5,000 and $10,000 fine and 1 to 5 years in prison
  9. Felony of the second degree: between $7,500 and $15,000 fine and 2 to 8 years in prison
  10. Felony of the first degree: between $10,000 and $20,000 fine and 3 to 11 years in prison

What Is Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking is when you are allegedly caught with drugs that you allegedly intend to sell. Drug possession, on the other hand, is when you are allegedly caught with drugs on your person or in your belongings.

Is Possession Of A Controlled Substance A Felony?

While drug possession is typically only a misdemeanor, drug trafficking is a felony charge with serious consequences.

Can I Get A DUI For Marijuana in Ohio?

Possibly. Even if you are legally using medical marijuana, you could still be charged with a DUI/OVI if you test over the state’s limit for THC, or a police officer believes you are impaired.

What constitutes “Driving under the Influence?”

In Ohio, you can be found guilty of “operating a vehicle under the influence,” or OVI, if you get behind the wheel under any of the following conditions:

    • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at least .08%
    • Your urine alcohol concentration is .110 or more
    • You have a certain amount of marijuana, LSD, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or PCP in your system
    • You are “under the influence” of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both

What to Do if I’m pulled over for a DUI for Marijuana

Whether you’re pulled over on the side of the road or stopped at a checkpoint, you still have certain rights:

    • The right to remain silent other than to give your name: Anything you say could be used against you in court, so you don’t have to answer questions like “have you had anything to drink tonight?” or “Where are you coming from?” However, you do have to provide certain identifying information such as your name, license, proof of insurance, etc.
    • The right to refuse consent to a search of your car: Unless the police officer has a search warrant (or probable cause), they’re legally not allowed to search your car without your consent.
    • The right to refuse to perform roadside field sobriety tests: These tests are almost impossible to pass even if you’re sober, and are subjectively judged by the officer and merely used to arrest you to get you back to the station to request a chemical test.
    • The right to refuse to submit to a roadside portable breath test (PBT): PBTs are inaccurate breath tests done on the side of the road to help the officer establish the probable cause needed to arrest you.  There is no penalty for refusing this test and the result of this test is not admissible in court because they aren’t reliable.
    • The right to an attorney: You have the right to ask to speak to your attorney, or ask to speak to a public defender if you don’t have one.

What Are The Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Charge?

First offenses could lead to charges of a first-degree misdemeanor, leading to a jail sentence up to six months and a $1,000 fine. 

However, if the alleged victim suffered serious injuries, you could be charged with a felony–even on your first offense. These charges could lead to a prison term of up to one year and fines up to $2,500. Additionally, previous convictions of domestic violence could bump up your charge and your penalty.

What is the difference between aggravated assault & aggravated battery?

Causing or attempting to cause harm to another person (including unborn children) is considered assault in Ohio. To intentionally or negligently cause offensive physical contact or bodily harm is considered battery

Are there different types of vehicular homicide?

Ohio has three types of vehicular homicide:

  • Aggravated vehicular homicide: A person can be convicted of this while:
    • in violation of the state’s OVI/DUI laws
    • in violation of the state’s boating under the influence (BUI) laws
    • driving recklessly, or
    • committing a reckless operation offense in a construction zone.
  • Vehicular homicide: A person can be convicted of this while:

    • driving negligently, or
    • speeding in a construction zone.
  • Vehicular manslaughter: A person can be convicted of this while:
    • committing a traffic violation that is a minor misdemeanor (i.e., speeding and running a stop sign or red light).

What Are The Differences Between Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter & Involuntary Manslaughter?

Murder charges in Ohio are the most serious types of criminal charges someone can face. That’s because murder, unlike manslaughter, suggests that the perpetrator had the intent to kill their victim.

Voluntary manslaughter is closer to murder in that the perpetrator allegedly had intent to kill someone, but in this case, the killing was the result of emotional excitement that could have led a reasonable person may have acted on impulse. This is often known as a “heat of passion” crime. 

People accused of involuntary manslaughter are assumed to have not intended to kill their victim. It’s often referred to as “criminal negligence.” 

What is considered Self Defense in Ohio?

In some instances, it may be necessary to protect yourself or others. As of April 5, 2021, Ohio’s new “Stand Your Ground” law has also gone into effect, reversing the traditional “duty to retreat” idea. 

Now, to claim self-defense, Ohio law requires a defendant to prove:

  • They were not the aggressor in the situation;
  • They had a reasonable belief that they were in danger.

What is considered Rape in Ohio?

Every state in the U.S. has slightly different laws when it comes to rape and sexual assault. Ohio law has a fairly typical definition of rape:

“any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.”

However, it’s important to note that in Ohio, someone can also be charged with rape if they:

  • “engaged in sexual conduct with another person who is not their spouse, or is their spouse but lives separately, and:
  • They substantially impaired that person’s judgment or control in order to prevent resistance, by giving that person drugs, controlled substances or some other intoxicant by force, threat of force or deception;
  • The other person is less than 13 years old; or
  • The alleged offender knew or had reasonable cause to believe the other person’s ability to resist or consent was impaired by a mental or physical condition, or advanced age.”

In short, Ohio can consider any sexual conduct outside of marriage, or outside of marriage and living under the same roof, if it meets one of those three conditions (preventing resistance in some way, with a child, or knowing the victims’s lack of ability to resist).

My promise to you:

I’m going to live this case with you. I’m going to tell your story honestly and compellingly and do everything I can to get you back home to your family.

Because my job is to look out for your rights - and I take that responsibility very seriously.

Call 330-475-3164 for a free consultation

“Max Hiltner is dynamite in the courtroom by connecting with the jury, recalling facts and cultivating good relationships with the opponents and presiding judge. He is professional, dedicated, honest and cares about the livelihood of his clients and their families. He excels in negotiating and hiring experts necessary for a well rounded defense. Max was one of my lawyers that stood between me and a life sentence. Without him on my team I would still be in prison. He will fight for you.”

- Colleen O.

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