If you are an Ohio resident with a prior juvenile conviction, Ohio’s Supreme Court on August 25 handed you a gift in the event you are charged and convicted of a crime in the future. Your juvenile conviction will no longer be a weapon that the prosecution can wield against you to either add additional criminal charges to an indictment or to extend your adult sentences for any crimes you may commit later in life. This is a huge win for Ohio residents who have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense while they were a minor. Nonetheless, sentencing in criminal cases remains a very complicated process that contains many pitfalls for the unwary.
If you have been arrested for or charged with a criminal offense in Columbus, Ohio, you should contact the experienced Columbus criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates for a free consultation regarding your case today at (614) 500-3836.
The Court’s Decision Regarding Juvenile Records and Adult Sentences
In a 4-3 decision that came down on August 25, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a juvenile conviction in Ohio cannot be used as a prior felony conviction for sentencing purposes when the juvenile criminal defendant is later charged with another crime as an adult. The court determined that doing so violated the criminal defendant’s right to due process under both the United States and Ohio Constitutions. This is because, in Ohio, a juvenile court criminal proceeding does not provide a criminal defendant with the right to a jury trial, whereas every adult facing criminal charges in Ohio has that right when charged with a criminal offense.
In the case, an adult defendant plead no contest to five felony charges. However, the adult defendant had a prior juvenile adjudication for aggravated robbery, which the sentencing judge used to enhance the defendant’s criminal sentence. This resulted in a mandatory prison term of six years for the five felony counts to which the adult defendant plead no contest. His lawyers challenged the use of the adult re- offender’s prior juvenile adjudication to increase his sentence for the five adult charges as violating the defendant’s due process rights. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed, explaining that any prior conviction used to increase a penalty beyond the prescribed maximum sentence under Ohio law must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt based upon United States Supreme Court case law. Therefore, in Ohio, a criminal defendant’s prior juvenile conviction can no longer be used to increase any sentence the criminal defendant might later face for any crimes he or she may commit as an adult.
Contact Columbus Criminal Defense Attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates
If you are in need of an attorney for any criminal charges in the Columbus, Ohio area, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates for a free consultation regarding your case today at (614) 500-3836.
We represent criminal defendants in all types of criminal cases and have achieved successful results for our many satisfied clients, whether it was reducing their sentences through successful plea negotiations to representation at a hotly contested jury trial.