When Would a Crime Victim Need to Hire an Attorney? (Part 1)

Situation 1:  A crime has occurred but the prosecutor or police decides against filing charges.

In many jurisdictions, the general rule is that if an alleged crime constitutes a misdemeanor offense, the police decide whether to file criminal charges against the suspect, and if the alleged crime is a felony offense, the prosecutor makes that decision after meeting with the police to review the evidence and investigation.  Some prosecutors’ offices are much more willing to get involved with a complex case than others.  Maybe they lack knowledge or expertise in a particular area.  Maybe they lack resources to properly investigate a matter.  Sometimes an inexperienced prosecutor makes a poor decision on a case.  Perhaps political reasons are behind the refusal to prosecute a case.

When charges are refused by the prosecutor and crime victims seek an explanation, they are often given a less than satisfactory response, if any response at all.  By hiring an attorney in these situations who has experience with the proper handling of criminal investigations, a crime victim can have an advocate to meet with the prosecutor and/or police to discuss any issues that may arise and to demand sound reasons when declining to prosecute a case.

Situation 2:  The prosecutor enters into an unacceptable plea agreement which demeans the seriousness nature of the criminal conduct inflicted on the crime victim.

Ohio law requires that the prosecutor informs the crime victim before a case is resolved by plea agreement.  Ohio law also requires that crime victims be informed of any and all hearing and be given the opportunity to provide their input to the judge.  Although crime victims must be given the opportunity to give input, the prosecutor is not required to gain the crime victim’s approval before proceeding with a plea agreement.  If the prosecutor does not follow the above laws, the crime victim needs an attorney to protect the interests of the crime victim and work to undue any ruling that resulted from this failure.  Furthermore, if the prosecutor insists on proceeding with an inappropriate plea agreement over the crime victim’s objection, it would be wise for the crime victim to get an experienced attorney involved who can demand a meeting with the appropriate decision-makers in the prosecutor’s office before the plea agreement disposes of the case in court.

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About Jon Horwitz

Jon Horwitz is an experienced criminal defense lawyer dedicated to helping people charged of a crime. He is dedicated to providing honest, straightforward advice and advocacy in order to get the best possible result for each client. Jon currently lives in Centerville with his wife and two children. He coaches basketball through the Centerville Hustle organization and is a former soccer coach. He continues to play soccer and is an avid fan of the sport.

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