The process of facing criminal charges in Columbus can be stressful, and you might not know exactly what to do next. It is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and you have the right to an attorney who can provide you with a proper defense. It is normal to have questions, and it is normal to be nervous. 

What do you need to do if you are facing criminal charges in Columbus? There are a few important points to know about the arraignment process, and our team is here to help you.

An Overview of a Columbus, OH Arraignment

The arraignment process takes place when you are formally charged with a criminal offense. During this time, you will either plead innocent, guilty, or no contest. You should talk about your plea with your attorney beforehand. That way, you are prepared when the judge asks you how you plead.

After that, the judge will review the basic circumstances of the case, and your attorney may have an opportunity to say something. The judge will use these factors to decide whether to grant bail. If the judge decides to grant bail, he or she will either set your bail at a specific number, or you will be released on your own recognizance. All of this depends on the circumstances of your case, and your attorney will work with you to put you in the best position possible to get out as fast as you can if you are granted bail.

When Does the Arraignment Process Take Place?

In accordance with the law, the arraignment process is required to take place within 72 hours of your arrest. Generally, it will take place within 24 hours, but it might take longer if you were arrested on a weekend or a holiday.

The arraignment process is important because you should not have to sit in jail if you do not have to. If your arraignment does not occur fast enough, your attorney could put forth an argument that your 6th Amendment rights were violated. This is the amendment that gives you the right to a speedy trial, and if your rights were violated, your charges could be dismissed.

Do You Have To Go To Your Arraignment?

If you are charged with a criminal offense, you will have to go to your arraignment. If you do not show up to your arraignment, the judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest, which could make your situation significantly worse. There might be some minor offenses where you do not have to go to your arraignment, but you should talk about this with your attorney beforehand.

Even if you are charged with a traffic violation, you may still have to go to your arraignment. If you do not go to your arraignment for a traffic violation when you are required to do so, your license could be suspended or revoked.

Remember that if you are supposed to go to your arraignment and you do not show up, the judge could use that as evidence that you are a flight risk. Then, you could end up being held without bail.

The General Arraignment Process

When you show up for an arraignment in Columbus, there are a few steps that will unfold. They include:

  • The judge will start by reading the charges against you. The judge wants to make sure you understand the nature of the charges you are facing.
  • Then some other judge will ask you to enter a plea. You will either say that you are guilty, not guilty, or not contesting the charges. Remember that you should talk about this with your attorney beforehand.
  • After you enter your plea, the judge will decide whether to grant you bail. If the judge decides to release you on your own recognizance, you will be let go without having to pay anything as long as you promise to appear for your trial. If the judge grants you bail, you may need to work with a bail bondsman to pay your bail to get out as quickly as possible.
  • If the nature of your charges are particularly serious, the judge may decide to withhold bail and keep you in jail until trial.

After the arraignment process is done, you will work with your attorney to figure out exactly what happens next. That way, you can make sure that you put forth a strong defense and that your rights are protected.

Call the Kalis Law Firm for Help With Your Columbus Arraignment

If you are facing criminal charges in Columbus, you have the right to a criminal defense lawyer. We are, and we will make sure your rights are protected in Columbus. Contact us today for a case consultation.

Ohio has a variety of gun laws, and they can change from time to time. Now that there is a new constitutional carry gun law that has gone into effect in Ohio, it is important for gun owners to understand what this means for them. What type of impact is this going to have on your rights to carry firearms? Take a look at a few important points below, and remember to reach out to an attorney if you have questions about firearm ownership.

What Is the New Law?

So, what do you need to know about the new concealed carry law in Ohio? The new law went into effect this past summer, and Ohio is officially a constitutional carry state. What that means is that you are no longer required to obtain a concealed handgun license to have a handgun on your person or in your car.

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that you can simply purchase whatever weapon you want. Under the laws in Ohio, you still need to be at least 21 years of age to legally own a firearm. Furthermore, even though you are not required to have a permit to own a handgun, you are not allowed to have a handgun in your vehicle when you enter a school safety zone.

Furthermore, businesses are no longer allowed to prohibit people from having firearms on their person when they enter their establishment. It is still illegal for someone to carry concealed weapons in schools, courthouses, and several other types of establishments. 

The Law Only Applies To Handguns

In addition, people should understand that the new law is only going to apply to handguns. The new law does not apply to shotguns, rifles, or any other types of longer weapons. If you are interested in owning those guns, you must have a permit to do so, and it can be difficult to get one. 

Keep in mind that if you leave the state of Ohio with a handgun, you will be subject to the laws of the state in which you travel. Not all states recognize the constitutional carry law of Ohio, and they do not necessarily have reciprocity agreements. You need to make sure you are not violating the law by carrying your handgun across state lines without a permit.

Do You Have To Inform the Police That You Have a Gun?

If you are stopped by a police officer, you are not required to inform the officers that you have a gun on your person or in your vehicle. On the other hand, if the police officer asks if you have a handgun on your person or in your vehicle, you are required by law to answer them honestly. This is an important safety issue. The police officer is not necessarily going to take your gun away, but the police officer needs to know if there is a handgun in the area.

If you do not inform the police officer that you are carrying a handgun when they asked you, you could be guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalty for a conviction is high. The fine could be $1,000, and you could have to spend as many as 180 days in jail. Furthermore, if you are carrying a different type of weapon, such as a shotgun or rifle, you are required to inform the police officer that another weapon is in the vehicle or on your person. 

You Can Still Get a Permit

Even though you are not required to apply for a permit to carry a handgun in Ohio, it might still be in your best interests to do so. For example, if you have a permit, you don’t have to go through the process of getting a background check when you purchase a handgun.

Furthermore, by taking a class, you will learn how to use a handgun safely. The class will teach you how to safely load and unload your weapon, you will get a few classes to learn how to fire your weapon accurately, and you will become more familiar with the laws related to self-defense and constitutional carry. Therefore, particularly if you do not have a lot of experience carrying a handgun, you might want to take the class.

Contact Kalis Law Firm for a Case Consultation

It is important to be familiar with the laws related to handguns in Ohio, and you might want to reach out to an attorney who can help you. We are Kalis Law Firm, and we will make sure that your rights are vigorously defended. If you have been charged with a crime, particularly if it is related to handguns, the consequences can be serious. Even though you may think the facts are on your side, you must hire a professional lawyer who has an understanding of the law and can formulate a strong defense. It would be our honor to help you, so contact us today for a case consultation. 

The Bail Process In Ohio Explained

Courts are relying on cash bail more than ever. One study found that between 1990 to 2009, bail with monetary conditions increased from 37% to 61% of cases

Bail can be daunting especially if the amount is set much higher than you can pay. A good attorney can help you navigate the bail process and advocate on your behalf. 

Our team at Kalis Law Firm put this information together so you can understand the bail process. 

What is the Purpose of Bail?

The purpose of bail is ostensibly to ensure that individuals are present for their trial.

After being charged with a crime, individuals are either sent to jail while they await their trial or they can post cash bail in order to spend the pre-trial time at home. 

The cash bail is often paired with other rules that an individual must follow while they are awaiting their trial. These include restrictions on travel, instructions to not commit any further crimes while awaiting trial, and other rules depending on the severity of the crime. 

Individuals in favor of bail argue that it ensures individuals will show up for their court date. Individuals and organizations who are opposed to bail argue that it creates an undue financial burden on people who are already financially marginalized. 

How are Bail Amounts Set?

The eighth amendment guarantees that bail amounts are fair even if they are more than an individual can pay. However, bail amounts have been increasing year after year and judges are often incentivized to set high bail amounts.

Bail amounts are often set based on the severity of the crime, an individual’s criminal history, and the judge’s determination for the individual’s likelihood to flee before their trial. 

We are increasingly seeing courts use bail algorithms to determine how much individuals have to pay. These are mathematical formulas that take into factor age, criminal history, and other considerations before calculating the bail amount.

Plenty of courts across the country also use bail schedules. You can find these often posted at your local police station. A bail schedule lists the bail charge for a given crime.

Bail Isn’t Always About the Money

Bail is most commonly set based on a cash amount. However, there could be other conditions that come with the bail that go beyond the money paid.

It’s common for other conditions to be set in addition to the cash bail. One of the most common additional conditions is that individuals cannot commit any other crimes while they are awaiting a trial. Individuals can also be instructed to not leave a certain city, state, or the country. 

There are also other bail conditions that are worth thinking about.

It’s common for individuals to be required to stay and live at a named address while on bail. Individuals can also be required to check in at a designated police station every few days while waiting for their trial.

In more extreme cases, individuals can be required to wear electronic monitors, commonly ankle monitors, that can track their GPS position. These monitors come with additional fines as well as frequent check-ins, complicated rules, and the risk of further legal trouble. 

How is Bail Paid?

Kalis Law Firm knows that bail is a complicated process. Here’s how paying a bail works. 

Your first opportunity is to pay the full amount of the bail in cash. Courts often accept cash, checks, and some even take credit and debit cards. This is by far the easiest way to pay for bail, but it can also be the most expensive up front.

A loved one can also contact a bail bondsman. These companies issue bail bonds which promise to cover the full amount of the bail should an individual not appear for their court date. In exchange, a bail bond company will take collateral often in the form of property like housing, vehicles, or jewelry. 

If you paid your bail in cash, the full amount will be returned to the individual after their court date even if they are found guilty. 

However, if an individual does not appear for their bail hearing, all of the bail funds will be confiscated. Missing your acquainted court date not only means that your bail money will not be returned, but it also means that there will be additional fines as well as additional criminal charges applied to the individual.

In addition, missing a court date while on bail means that any future bail is much more likely to be denied or set at a much higher amount. 

Get an Attorney That Can Help Your Case 

Kalis Law Firm can help you navigate the bail process. Our expert criminal defense team know to help. Reach out to Kalis Law Firm today to get the legal assistance you need. 

If you have recently been convicted of a crime and are in the process of looking for a job, you may be understandably concerned. After all, many employers these days require applicants to submit to criminal background checks before hiring. If a potential employer discovers your criminal record, you may have a harder time securing a job. 

The good news? There are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired—even with a criminal record.

Will a Conviction Keep You From Landing a Job?

First, it’s important to understand exactly what information an employer can find out about your criminal record. If you submit to a criminal background check, an employer will likely find information about any past arrests, convictions, and pleas. This applies to both misdemeanor and felony charges.

Employers have the option to run a nation-wide background check or to limit search results to the state in which the business operates. If your conviction occurred in another state, it may not come up on the background check. Still, if you are asked about a criminal history on an employment application, you should disclose any and all convictions (regardless of where they occurred).

Keep in mind that if you’ve had past criminal charges sealed or expunged from your record, these will not show up on a criminal background check. Likewise, employers are prohibited by law from asking job applicants about sealed/expunged convictions.

Even if you do have a criminal history that shows up on a background check, this may not automatically disqualify you from being offered the job. Most hiring managers will take several factors into account when considering a criminal conviction, such as how long ago the crime occurred, the severity of the crime, and how relevant the conviction is to the job itself. With this in mind, it is still very possible to land a job with a criminal record.

Tips for Job Hunting After a Conviction

Now that you have a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities when it comes to disclosing criminal history to potential employers, there are some practical tips you can follow as you begin your job search. With these tips in mind, you can increase your chances of landing a job regardless of your past.

First and foremost, remember that honesty is always the best policy. While some employers may not explicitly ask about your criminal history until later in the interview/hiring process, you should disclose your criminal history if and when you are asked about it. Just be careful not to share too much information when disclosing a criminal record; if your potential employer wants more details, they can always run a background check.

 Before you even begin applying for jobs, it’s also a good idea to see where you stand by running a criminal background check on yourself. This will only cost you maybe $50 or so, but will help you get a better idea of exactly what a potential hiring manager will see when they run a background check on you. It’s also possible that your record may have errors on it, so you’ll want to be aware of these and dispute them promptly.

Last but not least, there are steps you can take to market yourself even with a criminal history. Make sure that you include plenty of references (both personal and professional) on your resume. These should be people who can speak to your character and work ethic favorably. Likewise, be sure to highlight your skills and accomplishments as much as possible on your resume.

Explore Record Sealing or Expungement Options

Another option to consider when it comes to bettering your employment opportunities after a criminal conviction is to explore having your criminal record sealed or expunged. This is an option that is available in all states, though each state has its own specific laws and restrictions in place. When a criminal record is sealed or expunged, you do not have to disclose the information in a job application and it will not come up in a criminal background check. 

Keep in mind, however, that this option is generally only offered to first-time offenders—and it is usually only available for misdemeanor charges. If you have a serious felony conviction on your record or if you are a repeat offender, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to have any of your convictions sealed.

Get Help From an Experienced Legal Team

If you’re interested in exploring expungement and/or record-sealing options, our legal team is here to help. Likewise, if you believe your rights have been violated in your job search, we’re here to represent you. Reach out to Owen Kalis and his legal team today by calling (937) 239-9989 to schedule your free case evaluation and consultation. 

In a previous blog, we discussed the true costs of a DUI/OVI conviction in Ohio. Aside from the heavy fines and possible jail time, there are other expenses and inconveniences. You could be subject to bail and court costs, increases in insurance premiums, and lose wages due to lost work time.

The court also has the option to require an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) device for a first offense as an alternative to suspending driving privileges for 1 to 3 years. In Ohio, after a second DUI/OVI offense, the court is required to order the installation an IID device. After paying installation cost as much as $120, monthly leasing costs for the device can run another $120 per month to lease.

When the Ohio BMV issues a driver’s license, the driver implicitly agrees to obey Ohio’s implied consent law.

Under the implied consent law, “Any person who operates a vehicle…on a highway or any public or private property … shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test … to determine the alcohol, drug of abuse, controlled substance, metabolite of a controlled substance…’

The breathalyzer measures the blood alcohol concentration levels exhaled after being absorbed in the lungs. In a field sobriety test, the officer will observe the driver’s ability to, among other things, walk along a straight line heel to toe, balance on one foot, and perform other tasks like reciting the alphabet or touching your nose with your index finger while leaning your head back.

Administrative penalties for test refusal

An important provision of the Ohio implied consent law is that “a person who is arrested for DUI/OVI and refuses to submit to a blood/breath/urine test” automatically loses driving privileges for one year. The latter is not a criminal penalty. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has the administrative authority to issue or revoke a driver’s license.   

If the driver has “one or more prior test refusals (or DUI/OVI convictions) within the past ten years,” the length of the suspension increases to two years for the second refusal and three years for the third refusal.

Refusal to be tested won’t get you off the hook

Even if you are willing to surrender your driver’s privileges, refusing a field sobriety test will not eliminate evidence of guilt, because:

  • the arresting officer may have a valid probable cause for stopping you; e.g., the police car dash camera shows erratic driving—weaving or lane changes without signaling;
  • the arresting officer smelled alcohol on your breath and you admitted that you have been drinking or smoking marijuana before being stopped;
  • your appearance and behavior show evidence of alcohol or drug use–e.g., slurred speech

Finally, the court can make the obvious assumption that your refusal to take a sobriety test was based on the knowledge that you would fail the test.

Note: DUI/OVI checkpoints are legal, and anyone can be randomly chosen for a sobriety test, so long as there is probable cause.

How the arresting officer builds a case against you

You can be arrested after being pulled over if the officer takes additional reasonable steps to confirm that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For example, you could be asked to exit the vehicle, whereupon the officer will closely observe your actions. If you struggle to open the door, leave the vehicle in gear, are unable to follow the officer’s instructions, or cannot stand without leaning against the vehicle, you will be arrested for DUI/OVI.

A prior test refusal does not result in an increased mandatory sentence in a current DUI/OVI case.

The first or subsequent refusal to submit to a chemical or sobriety test results in administrative license suspension. Subsequent DUI/OVI convictions result in mandatory jail term increases. Test refusal is not factored into the mandatory sentence.

Don’t be tempted to drive without a license

The penalties for driving with a suspended license as a result of a DUI are an additional one-year suspension and jail time for up to six months and a $1,000 fine.

Reinstating a suspended license cost $475

When your license suspension expires, you must acquire proof of insurance from an insurance provider assuring everyone that in case of future accident you will be in a position to handle the financial costs that will arise. In addition to higher insurance premiums, you must pay the court $475.

If you were stopped for DUI/OVI and arrested without probable cause

We mentioned this in our previous blog, but it bears repeating: Failing a breathalyzer or field sobriety test doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted of a DUI/OVI. Many factors come into play, from the officer’s possible mistaken judgment to improper administration and maintenance of the breathalyzer and blood sampling equipment.

You should call an experienced defense attorney.

Your case may be complex and the services of Owen Kalis, your Columbus criminal defense lawyer, could discover flaws or mistakes made in your DUI/OVI prosecution. Contact Owen Kalis at 937-239-9989 or fill out his contact form online for a free consultation.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation (OWC) provides a range of benefits

In Ohio, there are 16 types of benefits available to a worker injured or killed on the job. Those benefits provide medical treatment and compensation—money—for work-related injuries or deaths.

The program is administered by the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC), the largest state-operated provider of workers’ compensation in the U.S. The BWC also pays death benefits to survivors if the death is caused by a work-related injury or disease.

Under Ohio law, employers must obtain workers’ compensation insurance for all employees under either the state fund or as self-insuring.

What you should do if injured on the job

If you are injured on the job, here are the steps you should follow:

1. Get medical attention immediately.

The approval and validity of your claim will depend on your doctor’s diagnosis. For your first visit, you can see any doctor—your general practitioner, the attending physician in an emergency room, for example.

Your follow-up care and treatment must be by a physician certified by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The BWC-certified physician will be your resource for approving a treatment plan and coordinating payment of the resulting medical bills.

2. Report the injury or accident to your employer

This is a requirement under Ohio law, and is the first step in receiving workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to report the accident because of fear of retaliation.

In Ohio, workers who suffer a workplace injury or testify on behalf of another “in any proceedings under the workers’ compensation act” are protected from employer retaliation in any form—firing, demotion, transfer, etc.

3. File an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Claim

When you receive medical care as a result of workplace injury, your doctor must submit a claim to your employer’s managed care organization within 24 hours of treating the injured worker.

In any case, it is important that you, the injured worker or your representative, be actively involved in the process. You have the option of filing the claim yourself. When the BWC receives the claim, you can expect a letter of notification as well as a BWC ID card in the mail within a few days.

The claim approval timeline

You have 12 months from the date of injury to submit your worker’s compensation claim. Here is a brief timeline for when worker’s compensation benefits begin:

  • The day of your injury: Medical treatment
  • Pay for lost wages: After 14 days of missed work
  • Full approval of benefits: Up to 28 days
  • Decision on appeal of denied benefits: 3 to 12 months

4. Know how the system works

A claim under the Ohio workers’ compensation law is allowed if a physical injury or disease was sustained during the course of employment. Workers’ compensation insurance is essentially a no-fault program. Employees can be paid, regardless of fault, and employers cannot be sued.

Exceptions would be if the employee’s injury occurred due to horseplay, self-inflicted harm, or a pre-existing condition, the claim could be denied. Claims that are denied can be appealed. If the BWC denies benefits, the worker has 14 days to file the appeal.

For employers, the single exception that could result in an employer being sued would be under a so-called “intentional tort,” where the employer:

  • intended to cause the injury to the employee
  • deliberately removed safety equipment or lied about a hazardous substance or condition to the employee
  • was reasonably certain that the actions or conditions would cause harm to workers.

To sue an employer under the above conditions, the employee must prove purposeful intent to injure. Past cases heard by the Ohio Supreme Court have been overwhelmingly decided in favor of employers.

5. Contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ injury cases

Third-parties could be sued

Workers’ compensation is designed to cover medical bills and lost wages. It cannot cover pain and suffering, mental anguish, and future lost earnings, especially for someone who relies on commissions.

While employers are generally immune from lawsuits arising from a workplace injury, third-party subcontractors and manufacturers of defective machinery could be held liable. The legal protections applied to employers do not apply to third parties. A third party is a company or its representative unrelated to the employer.

Call Columbus lawyer Owen Kalis if you’ve been injured on the job

Personal injury lawsuits are separate from workers’ compensation issues. While on the job, you could have been injured by the acts of others not under the control of your employer. For example:

  • You are accidentally injured on a construction site as the result of the negligence of a sub-contractor.
  • You are making a delivery for your employer and are attacked and bitten by the customer’s dog.
  • While traveling in connection with your employment, an at-fault motorist injures you in a traffic accident.

Each of the previous examples could entitle you to the pain and suffering damages that a workers’ compensation claim would not cover.

For more information on your workers’ compensation and eligibility for personal injury awards, contact Owen Kalis.

Probation, as discussed below, is an important element of our criminal justice system. Anyone placed on probation has to abide by its terms, conditions, and duration. Judges typically take a dim view of probation violators, since the violation is essentially a breach of trust and wasting an opportunity for a second chance.

Probation defined

Two terms you need to know are:

1. Probation: The glossary of legal terms defines probation as a sentencing option: “With probation, instead of sending an individual to prison, the court releases the person to the community (with) a period of supervision monitored by a probation officer (with orders) to abide by certain conditions.”

According to, “Probation is usually ordered for misdemeanor crimes, crimes that involve only a short jail sentence or for first time offenders.” 

2. Probation Officer: This is an officer of a court. “Probation officer duties include conducting presentence investigations, preparing presentence reports on convicted defendants, and supervising released defendants.”

Probation as part of the sentence

A person found guilty of committing certain crimes, in addition to (or sometimes instead of) having to serve jail time, can be assigned a period of probation. Probation is part of the original sentence, and the judge can impose probation in lieu of jail time.  The individual can also be given the option of going on probation instead of going to jail.

In other situations, probation is the basis of a suspended sentence. The judge could sentence a person to a specified jail term, but hold off on locking up the person. When the defendant successfully completes the probation, the jail time goes away.

Courts place individuals on probation as a balance between the interests of the defendant and society. Given the crowded conditions of the prison system, a judge may believe that putting the person in jail would serve no good purpose.

How probation works

Probation allows the person to stay in their community under the supervision of a probation officer. While not an option for every offense, common probation conditions can include:

  • jail time followed by probation
  • community service
  • drug and alcohol abuse counseling
  • payment of fines and restitution for damages caused
  • prohibitions on weapon possession
  • periodic drug testing
  • limitations on places where the person can frequent
  • reporting to the probation officer on a regular basis

For example, someone charged with possession of a small amount of drugs could be ordered to a drug treatment program. On the other hand, a person charged with domestic violence could be referred to anger management and counseling—along with being ordered to stay away from the victim.

Important note: Probation and parole are not the same. Probation is part of an offender’s sentence, but parole comes after conviction. A person on parole is granted early release from prison by a parole board. Parole is usually granted to felons who were given a long prison sentence. Parole conditions can be similar to probation.

Probation Violations

While conditions of probation are different depending on the person and circumstances of the crime, the most common violations of probation are:

  • committing or being arrested on suspicion of committing an additional crime 
  • failing a drug test
  • leaving the state without permission
  • missing scheduled court hearings
  • failure to complete community service hours
  • missing scheduled meetings with the probation officer

Consequences of violating probation

If a person violates any terms of the probation, the judge has the following options:

  • issuing a warning for a first-time violation
  • imposing additional terms of probation; e.g., increasing the frequency of reporting to the probation officer
  • extending the period of probation in order to attend treatment or counseling
  • imposing the originally suspended jail sentence

Note on parole violations: Violation of any of the conditions of parole can result in arrest and return to prison to serve the original sentence.

Your rights to legal representation

In some situations, the person accused of violating probation could be scheduled for a probation violation hearing. That scheduling is subject to the broad discretionary powers of the court and probation officer.

When the probation officer believes the history of violations is severe enough to warrant a hearing, the violator is entitled to written notice specifying the alleged violations. Also, the person accused is entitled to be represented by an attorney.

The person accused of violating probation can present evidence and corroborating witnesses to testify in an effort to refute allegations made by the prosecutor. The burden of proof for the prosecution is by the lower standard of “preponderance of evidence,” rather than the criminal jury trial standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

During the hearing, the probation officer can request other penalties, including jail time. The sentencing judge considers the nature of the violation, its severity, and any previous history of probation violations when imposing additional sanctions.

Accused of violating probation, or just need a defense attorney?

If you need the services of an experienced Ohio defense attorney, contact Owen Kalis for a free consultation.

Does the idea of making a criminal record vanish seem unrealistic? Expungement is the act of removing an individual’s criminal record from public view, effectively erasing the evidence and information pertaining to their arrest and potential conviction. Expungement is enormously important for a number of reasons and, as such, is much sought after yet difficult to acquire.

Today, we are going to explore the world of expungement, how the process works, and what you can expect along the way. By the end of our conversation, we’ll be ready to call upon the team at Kalis Law Firm to help expunge our criminal record for good.

What Is Expungement?

The term ‘expungement’ is one often thrown around in court proceedings pertaining to juvenile subjects. Expungement means to ‘erase’ or ‘remove completely’ and it has serious legal meanings in the court of law. Expungement in a legal setting means to completely destroy, seal, or otherwise remove a record of a criminal conviction. Ultimately, the expungement directs the court to treat the criminal record as if it never actually happened. In expunging the criminal record, the information will be fundamentally removed from the public record as well.

Note: Expunging a criminal engagement is not the same as forgiving it, such as through a legal pardon. Pardons are also not expungement and will not entail the removal of a conviction from the public record.  Individuals who have had their records expunged are not under any legal obligation to disclose their record of arrest or conviction unless in certain, very specific, circumstances. 

Can Criminal Records Actually Vanish?

In the event that an individual acquires a criminal record, it can be beneficial to have it removed from public and private view. Erasing a conviction or removing the record of arrest can become quite helpful in many day-to-day life activities. Primarily, expungement shields individuals from any background check or public inquiry, such as one made by a potential landlord or hiring manager.

More permanent than solely sealing your record, expungement will help to erase it completely from public view, while sealing your record will only shield it from view. Court and media records of your case may still exist. Expunged records also will appear on federal background checks. 

So, at the end of the day, yes, your criminal records can actually vanish – except in extremely specific situations.

Who Can Qualify to Have Their Record Expunged?

When it comes time to expunge a criminal record, the type of crime, as well as the jurisdiction within which it occurred, will play a massive role. Smaller crimes and first-time misdemeanors are far more often expunged than other more serious or felonious charges. There are other facets that play into whether a record can be expunged or not and that has to do with the outcome of the arrest: was the person found guilty, were the charges dropped, or were they found not guilty altogether?

There are a variety of factors that play a role in whether a record is expunged by the court or not. Let’s briefly outline them below so that we have convenient access to the information we need.

  • Background – The court will take into consideration the age of the offender, the behavior following their arrest and conviction, as well as any other pertinent pieces of background information.
  • Age – The court will also take into account the age of the individual as well as their behavior at the time of the arrest. This is often why we associate records being expunged with younger offenders. 
  • Status of Offense – Some crimes are not as likely to be expunged as others and, as such, proper legal representation is important.

How Does The Expungement Process Work?

Having your record expunged will require a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction approach. In most cases, individuals must supply all supporting documents to the court for approval. Once these documents are approved by the court, an order of expungement may be made to offending police departments, state agencies, and other facilities, including the department of corrections.

It should be made abundantly clear that a person seeking expungement may find relief in certain areas, but it does not mean that their record ceases existing. Public record, social media, and the internet are all permanent and may make it harder to keep expunged records out of the limelight. As such, an expunged record is never truly removed from the public record.

Expunge Your Record With Kalis Law Firm

Owen Kalis is a tenacious and energetic advocate for clients seeking relief from the improper action or lack thereof by the government. With years of industry experience combined with his own relentless work ethic, Owen Kalis is available 24/7 to help his clients find the solution they need through proper legal counsel.

Contact Owen Kalis today to take the next step toward cleaning your record and taking back your future!

OVI/DUI conviction penalties can be steep

In Ohio, if you’re charged with DUI/OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) you are subject to stiff fines, depending on whether you have prior convictions on your record. The fines are:

  • 1st offense: $375 up to $1,075
  • 2nd offense: $525 to $1,675
  • 3rd offense: $850 up to $2,750

Those fines are just the beginning of the financial pain. Consider the following additional national costs factored into the penalties for OVI:

  • Towing
  • Bail and court costs
  • Insurance increases
  • Alcohol education training
  • Lost Wages
  • Installation, monthly fees, monitoring, and removal of a court-ordered ignition interlock device.

In Ohio, the court is required to order the installation of an IID after a second DUI offense.

In Ohio, the court can also order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID). With an IID, before you can start your vehicle, you must blow into a mouthpiece. When the IID detects a blood alcohol content above a certain level, the vehicle is immobilized.

According to, those additional costs result in Ohio’s overall average OVI penalties of over $2,500.

What constitutes intoxication under Ohio OVI laws

In Ohio, the formal name of a DUI offense is Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI). The term encompasses the following common drugs with statutory limits as follows:

  • Alcohol: A blood alcohol content over 0.08% (a BAC level over 0.17% is prosecuted as an aggravated OVI, with resulting stiffer penalties)
    • Underage drinking: Drivers under the age of 21 need only be tested at 0.02%.*
  • Drugs and their presence per milliliter of blood:
    • Amphetamines: At least 100 nanograms  
    • Cocaine: 50 nanograms  
    • Heroin: 2,000 nanograms  
    • Marijuana: 20 nanograms  

*Note: Underage drivers are also subject to increased OVI penalties. The legal drinking age in Ohio is 21. Anyone found guilty of OVI in Ohio is subject to a jail sentence of up to 30 days, a fine of up to $250, license suspension of up to two years, referral to alcohol treatment and probation and the requirement to display yellow “party” license plates indicating restricted driving privileges.

How OVI is tested in OHIO

If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer who suspects that you have been drinking or are otherwise impaired by drugs, you will be asked to undergo the following:

  • a field sobriety test, where you’ll be asked to perform acts like touching your nose, reciting the alphabet backwards, or walking a straight line.
  • chemical testing, where your BAC is measured with devices such as a breathalyzer or blood draw, where being over the BAC is sufficient for a DUI charge

Note: In Ohio, if you are arrested for DUI, and refuse to take a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test, you can lose your driving privileges for one year. The penalties increase after subsequent refusals.

Also, refusal to undergo testing won’t necessarily help you avoid an OVI conviction. Your refusal could be evidence that you knew you would fail the test because you had been drinking.

OVI penalties beyond the fines

You could go to jail:

  • First offense: 3 days to 6 months
    • For a first aggravated offense (BAC is above .017), 3 days in jail and 3 days of driver’s intervention program training
  • Second offense: 10 days to 6 months
  • Third offense: 30 days to one year
    • For a third aggravated offense: 60 days in jail or 30 days in jail and 110 days of house arrest and alcohol monitoring under the Community Control Sanction program

You will lose your driving privileges with your driver’s license suspended as follows:

  • First offense: 1 to 3 years
  • Second offense: 1 to 7 years
  • Third offense: 2 to 12 years

A fourth OVI conviction is a fourth-degree felony

A fourth or fifth OVI during any six-year period or a sixth OVI in 20 years can result in prison time from 60 days up to 5 years. Fines run between $1,350 and $10,500, revocation of your driver’s license from 3 years to life, including vehicle forfeiture.

Are you facing an OVI charge in Columbus, Ohio?

Don’t believe the conventional wisdom that says if you are stopped by the police and arrested for DUI, that you are already found guilty. The fact is that, like any other criminal charge, you are innocent until proven guilty.

Maybe your stop was not legal. Perhaps bad weather caused poor driving performance. Or you might have taken some over-the-counter substance that interfered with test results. In fact, there are a host of mitigating circumstances that could get your case dismissed.

 Owen Kalis has the experience and knowledge to look into every aspect of your case and negotiate the best outcome. Contact us online and get a free consultation.

Get the Facts on State Crimes Versus Federal Crimes

A criminal charge can cause  more than just fear and worry; it can also produce confusion, especially if you’ve never had to navigate the world of criminal cases before. One basic (but often puzzling) aspect of criminal charges revolves around the issue of state crimes versus federal crimes, from the different types of crimes included under each category to the way state and federal courts deal with them. If you need to get clear on the differences between these two criminal categories, take a look at the following key points in the subject.

State Crimes Explained

State governments maintain their own criminal codes laying out the main categories of crimes heard by elected or appointed judges in municipal, state, or district courts. In the Buckeye State, these laws (and their potential penalties) are covered in the Ohio Administration Codes and the Ohio Revised Codes. 

The vast majority of crimes committed every day get prosecuted as state crimes. Common examples of state crimes include violent crimes such as rape, armed robbery, assault, murder, and reckless homicide. Non-violent state crimes can include drug possession and distribution, fraud, extortion, and grand theft auto.

Federal Crimes Explained

While state legislatures establish and enforce local and state laws, the federal legislature governs federal laws and penalties on the national level. Since fewer crimes actually involve the U.S. government, the list of exclusively federal crimes is slimmer than the many crimes legislated and prosecuted at the state level. Notable exceptions include:

  • The creation or distribution of counterfeit currency.
  • Violation of customs or immigration laws.
  • Crimes in which the defendant and/or the crime itself crosses state lines.
  • Wire fraud and crimes committed over the Internet.
  • Crimes in which the defendant uses fraud or deception to misrepresent the federal government, or any of its agencies or departments.

In addition to the examples listed above which count as strictly federal crimes, federal courts prosecute many of the same activities as state courts, including everything from white-collar crimes to murder and drug trafficking. The difference in these scenarios hinges mainly on whether the crime involved more than one state or occurred entirely within state lines. U.S. Attorneys or State Attorneys prosecute federal crimes in front of appointed federal judges.

State Penalties Versus Federal Penalties

State legislatures maintain detailed lists of misdemeanors and penalties, along with the range of potential penalties the judges may assign, depending on the nature/severity of the crime and the criminal history of the offender. For instance, a fourth-degree misdemeanor in Ohio may draw penalties of up to 30 days in prison and/or a $250 fine, while a first-degree misdemeanor can lead to 180 days’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Felony crimes in Ohio can result in much heavier fines and/or prison terms than misdemeanor crimes. Individuals convicted of a fifth-degree felony (the least serious felony charge) can expect to spend up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. A first-degree felony can easily lead to up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, with some felony convictions resulting in a life sentence.

If you receive a prison sentence, the prison you get sent to will depend on whether you committed a state crime or a federal crime. State criminals go to prisons run by the state’s corrections department; federal criminals go to prisons administered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Double Jeopardy Versus Dual Sovereignty

If you get charged with a crime on the state level, you might assume that you can’t be put on trial or convicted again for the same case under any circumstances. However, this interpretation of the “double jeopardy” concept is incorrect. “Double jeopardy” simply means that you can’t be tried for the same state or federal crime twice within the same state or federal jurisdiction. However, another concept known as “dual sovereignty” holds that each jurisdiction can pursue the same cases separately if the case violates both state and federal laws.

For example, if you were to murder someone in the state of Ohio, you would normally face state charges and poten tially receive a conviction and penalty according to Ohio state law. However, if the person you murdered happened to be a federal agent, or if you committed the murder on federal property (even if that property is in Ohio), then your case involves a violation against the U.S. government. Under these circumstances, the federal government may pursue a case against you even as the State of Ohio takes measures of its own.

Get the Representation Your State or Federal Case Deserves

Whether you face state or federal charges for a crime, you need and deserve the highest standard of legal representation Ohio has to offer. Contact the Law Office of Owen Kalis to request a free initial consultation and discuss the details of your case with us.