Criminal Defense

Every day, individuals across the Cleveland area are arrested on suspicion of committing a criminal offense. In numerous cases, prosecutors will issue criminal charges against them that put into motion the criminal case. This process can take weeks, months, or even years to make its way through the criminal justice system.

The process is stressful and confusing and places your freedom and future on the line. Since so many elements of your life are at risk, it is imperative that you call a reputable an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you.

Attorney Rod Mastandrea is a reputable criminal defense attorney serving clients throughout Cleveland and all surrounding cities.  With over ten years of experience representing clients, our law firm has extensive knowledge about the criminal justice system and how unfair it can be to innocent arrestees.

It is no secret that law enforcement officers engage in misconduct that directly violates the rights of Cleveland residents. To make matters worse, prosecutors bring up false charges or inflate charges against defendants. The best way you can protect yourself in this situation is by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney from Mastandrea Law.

Types Of Cases We Handle At Mastandrea Law

Rod Mastandrea has over ten years of experience helping clients throughout Cleveland fight their cases in court. Some of the cases he can handle include:

  • DUI / OVI
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Offenses
  • Gross Sexual Imposition (GSI)
  • Internet Sex Crimes
  • Sexual Assault
  • Statutory Rape
  • Student Crimes
  • Traffic Violations

Each case handled by Mastandrea Law is unique. Offenses typically fall under one of three categories. These include:

  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Traffic violations

Although numerous criminal defense attorneys throughout Cleveland focus on minor offenses, Mastandrea Law focuses on helping clients with all types of criminal cases, no matter how serious the charge. Mastandrea Law knows how to tackle each case to put clients in the best possible position right from the start.

Common Cases We Handle For Clients On A Regular Basis

Felony crimes are the most serious category of offenses. These charges come with the most severe punishment. Ohio law classifies felony offenses under categories of degree ranging from first-degree to fifth-degree, based on the severity of the crime. Mastandrea Law helps clients throughout the area combat numerous case types including:

DUI / OVI: Everyday, people are arrested for driving under the influence in Cleveland. This is one of the most common criminal offenses we see. DUI charges come with severe penalties, even for first-time offenders. A skilled DUI attorney from Mastandrea Law can help you get your charges reduced or dismissed whenever possible.

Traffic Offenses: Although many people disregard traffic offenses as crimes, they are handled in criminal courts. Some of the most common violations, aside from DUI arrests, are reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, or speeding. Paying the ticket is admitting guilt in the Ohio court system. Before sending over your payment, it is important to discuss your traffic offense with an attorney to see what options are available for you.

Drug Charges: Crimes involving drugs are taken extremely serious in Ohio. Some of the most common offenses include drug possession, manufacturing, possession with the intent to distribute, and possession of paraphernalia. Drug charges are applied to any controlled substance, regardless of whether it is a street drug or a prescription medication. Penalties for these crimes are based on the type of drug you are in possession of, as well as the quantity. Several other factors are taken into consideration when determining the punishment.

Weapons / Gun Charges: Although Ohio has an open-carry gun law, we still have some rather strict regulations concerning numerous aspects of weapon possession. These laws include restrictions on what types of weapons you can have in your possession, where you can carry them, and under what conditions you are strictly prohibited from carrying them. For example, individuals with felony charges, domestic violence restraining orders, and individuals under that influence of alcohol are unable to carry weapons. There are several tough weapons charges in Ohio that require an experienced lawyer to defend.

Sex Crimes: This type of crime can come in many forms. Many of them constitute felony offenses under Ohio law. A common sex offense allegation we see in Cleveland is for child pornography. This type of charge can result from having a single photograph on a computer or in your email. Many charges for sex crimes are brought up with very little concrete evidence.

No matter what type of crime you are arrested for, Mastandrea Law is available to help fight your case.

Criminal Defenses In Criminal Cases

The consequences of a criminal conviction in Ohio can be far-reaching. They can have a serious impact on your freedom, career, and your life. Some common defense arguments used to protect clients are:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Suppression of evidence due to 4th amendment violations
  • Coercion
  • Entrapment
  • Lab errors
  • False accusations

Working with a criminal defense attorney from Mastandrea Law will provide you with the best chance possible for beating your charges.

Frequently Asked Criminal Defense Questions

Criminal defense is a very complicated area of the law. There is endless terminology applied throughout the entire criminal justice system, which can be difficult to comprehend. At Mastandrea Law, we take great pride in our ability to communicate with our clients effectively, so they understand what is going on every step of the way. Here are a few questions commonly asked about criminal defense.

What Is A “Bond”?

The Courts use a bond as a way to ensure a defendant will appear for trial. There are three different types of bonds seen in Ohio Court. These include:

Recognized Bond: This type of bond is used as a promise to appear in court without requiring any additional security. These bonds are often applied to less-severe crimes and in cases where accused parties aren’t generally a flight risk.

Appearance Bond: This type of bond requires a defendant to post money with the court in the amount of 10% of their bond amount. If the defendant appears for court, as required, they are usually refunded the money at the end of the case.

Cash Or Surety Bond: This type of bond requires that the accused defendant pays the full amount of bond with the court in order to be released. Generally, defendants use a bondsman for surety bonds. Bondsmen will post the full amount of the bond and charge the defendant a non-refundable amount to do so.

How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Case?

Traffic offenses and some misdemeanors are resolved with very few court appearances. In more serious charges or more complex cases, it is often recommended to waive your right to a speedy trial. This enables attorneys to gather more evidence in support of the defense through investigation. At Mastandrea Law, we focus on conducting thorough and accurate investigations that enable us to effectively and compellingly fight cases for clients in court.

What Will Happen In Court?

Unless you are told otherwise by Mastandrea Law, you will need to appear at every court hearing. The particular procedures used on your case depend heavily on where the case is tried. Each court, whether it is the federal, state, or juvenile court, has its own set of practices and procedures to follow. We will work with you throughout the process to personally answer any questions you have about what you can expect before you ever step foot into the courtroom.

Criminal Court Process In Cleveland

Although each criminal case may be different, they all follow the standard criminal process. Not every case will follow through each step, but we want to highlight the process to give you a better understanding as to what lies ahead.

Arrest Or Summons: The first part of the criminal law process involves being issued a criminal charge. This can occur in person (via arrest) or through the main (via summons). The prosecutor is charged with deciding whether a summons or arrest warrant is more appropriate based on the particular crime.

Arrest Warrant: When a warrant is issued, police officers can arrest you on the spot. They may come to your home and arrest you or wait until you are pulled over in your vehicle to make the arrest. Arrest warrants will be issued if you are suspected of committing a crime, the prosecutor files a criminal complaint against you, or you fail to appear at a scheduled court hearing.

Bail And Bond: Once you are arrested, you can seek bail and pay a bond to be released. In certain circumstances, you may be released on your own recognizance where you are not required to pay any financial compensation to leave the jail. Bonds are used as a form of security to ensure the defendant will appear in court.

Preliminary Hearing: A grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing is required to pursue felony charges in the state of Ohio, but they are not generally required for misdemeanors or traffic offenses. If you are required to attend a preliminary hearing, the court will decide whether there is substantial credible evidence to support a felony charge against you. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine witnesses and law-enforcement officers. This hearing is often utilized to discover the strength of the evidence against a defendant.

Arraignment: Once a defendant is indicted, they will be required to attend an arraignment hearing. During this hearing, the defendant will be read the indictment and allegations against them. The defendant will have the opportunity to enter their plea. It is very important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at this stage to protect your rights.

Pretrial Discovery And Motions: During this stage, both the defense and the prosecutor are able to collect evidence in support of their claim. The defense team can conduct their own independent investigation, and they can obtain a copy of all the evidence the prosecutor has. This is a critical phase in the criminal justice process as it is utilized to gather evidence and establish an effective defense.

Pretrial Conference And Plea Bargaining: Several pretrial conferences occur during criminal cases. These conferences are used to raise concerns about scheduling, evidence, and discovery. In many cases, defense attorneys are able to discuss and negotiate with the prosecutor in order to reach a plea agreement.

Trial: Although many cases end in pretrial, defendants are afforded the right to defend themselves in front of a jury. This is a very important part of the criminal justice system especially considering the number of wrongfully arrested defendants. The trial phase includes jury selection, opening statements, prosecutor presentation, cross-examination the prosecutor’s witnesses, defense presentation, cross-examination of the defense witnesses, closing arguments, and jury instructions. After the jury leaves the court, they enter into deliberation until they reach a verdict, which they read before setting a post-trial motion.

Sentencing: If a defendant is found guilty at trial, the judge will order a sentence for their crime. The state of Ohio has predetermined maximum sentencing, which means they cannot be sentenced an extraordinary amount for their crime. Some charges have minimum mandatory sentences as well, but this is dependent upon the type of crime and severity.

After a trial is finished, and sentencing is ordered, defendants can file appeals. Appealing a conviction is a very time-consuming and detail-oriented process that requires extensive knowledge of the law.

Working with a defense attorney is one of the best decisions you will ever make. At Mastandrea Law, we work diligently and aggressively to protect clients throughout the entire criminal justice process. We focus on developing strong cases that allow us to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.

Hire An Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney To Fight For You

A criminal conviction can have a damaging impact on your life and career. Whether you are being charged with a traffic offense, a felony, or a misdemeanor, Mastandrea Law believes each client deserves adequate representation and commitment throughout the criminal justice system. Contact our law office today to schedule a consultation with Rod Mastandrea so we can help you with your criminal charges.