If you are facing a criminal charge in Ohio, you may have come across the term “wobbler offense.” This type of offense is one that can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on factors such as the facts of your case and your criminal history.
Common Wobbler Offenses in Ohio
In Ohio, there are several common wobbler crimes. Some of the most commonly charged wobblers include the following:
Drug Crimes in Ohio
In many cases, drug crimes in Ohio can be charged as wobblers. Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony typically depends on the type of drug and the amount of drug the defendant possessed.
DUI Offense in Ohio
Driving under the influence (DUI) is also commonly charged as a wobbler in Ohio. A first-time DUI offense is usually considered a misdemeanor, but subsequent DUIs or first-time DUIs with aggravating circumstances can be elevated to felonies, depending on the specifics of the case.
The crime of domestic violence is considered a wobbler in Ohio because it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of injuries, the defendant’s prior convictions, whether the victim was pregnant, and more.
Theft involves taking someone else’s property without their permission. It is considered a wobbler in Ohio because it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the items stolen.
Reducing Your Felony to a Misdemeanor
If you’ve been charged with a felony wobbler offense, there is still hope that the prosecutor or judge will reduce it to a misdemeanor before you go to trial or accept a plea deal. The following factors are considered when the prosecutor is making this decision:
Prior Criminal History
Prosecutors take your criminal history into consideration when deciding what type of charge to bring against you. If you have an extensive criminal record, they will likely charge you with a more serious offense to send a message that your behavior will not be tolerated. On the other hand, if this is your first offense, they may opt for the lesser charge to give you a chance at rehabilitation.
Severity of the Crime
The severity of the crime is also taken into consideration when deciding how to proceed with charging. Prosecutors may opt for a misdemeanor charge if the crime is relatively minor.
Age of Defendant
Generally speaking, younger defendants tend to receive lighter sentences than older ones due to their lack of experience and maturity in comparison. A young defendant who has limited contact with the criminal justice system is more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor than an adult.
Defendant’s Cooperation With Police
If someone accused of committing a crime cooperates fully with police investigators, prosecutors may opt for leniency when deciding whether to charge them with a felony or a misdemeanor. Cooperating fully can demonstrate that someone has accepted responsibility for their actions and wants to make amends.
The Defendant’s Level of Involvement in the Crime
If the defendant was found to have been directly involved in planning, facilitating, or carrying out any part of the crime, they may face harsher penalties than someone who was only peripherally involved.
The Benefits of Being Charged With a Misdemeanor Instead of a Felony
If you’ve been arrested for a wobbler offense in Ohio, having your charge reduced from felony to misdemeanor can have numerous benefits. First, misdemeanors typically come with much lighter sentences than felonies do, including shorter jail sentences or no jail time at all in some cases.
Additionally, misdemeanors require less time spent on probation and carry smaller fines than felonies do.
Finally, those convicted of misdemeanors do not face many of the collateral consequences that come with being convicted of felonies, such as finding housing and employment or taking out loans.
What To Do if You’ve Been Arrested in Dayton, Ohio
Being arrested is a stressful and scary experience. It is important to know your rights and to understand the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your future. Here’s what you should do if you’re ever arrested:
The most important thing to do after an arrest is to stay calm and don’t panic. Take a deep breath and focus on staying calm, collected, and composed. This will help ensure that you are able to think clearly when it comes time for decision-making or speaking with law enforcement officers. Remaining calm can help you avoid saying or doing something that could potentially harm your case down the road.
Understand Your Rights
Your constitutional rights give you the right to remain silent, the right not to consent to searches of yourself or your property, and the right to an attorney, among many others. It is critical that you understand your rights prior to any questioning by law enforcement so that you know what questions are appropriate for them to ask and which ones should go unanswered until after consulting with a lawyer.
Hire a Lawyer
The next critical step is to hire a criminal defense lawyer who can provide legal counsel throughout the process. A defense attorney can review the facts surrounding your arrest, advise you on how best to proceed with your case, help negotiate plea deals on your behalf if necessary, represent you in court, and provide any additional legal counsel as needed during this difficult time.
Schedule a Free Case Review With a Trusted Dayton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve recently been charged with a wobbler offense, contact the experienced Dayton criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC, to schedule a free consultation. or call our law office at (937) 531-0435. You may still have time to secure a favorable outcome, and we can help you every step of the way.