Richard V. Agopian - Attorney-At-Law - Defense Attorneyt/Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio since 1975
Richard Agopian - Criminal defense attorney Richard V. Agopian - Attorney-At-Law (216) 338-3120
HomeAreas of PracticeAbout the AttorneyDefense Attorney FAQ'sContact Richard Agopian - Attorney At Law - Cleveland, OHCleveland defense lawyer areas of practice

When applicable, I will help you minimize or avoid consequences of conviction by challenging the circumstances of your arrest, execution of the search warrant or a traffic stop of a motor vehicle. For first offenders, I strive to get cases referred to Drug Courts, which focus on community- based drug treatment programs and rehabilitation as a constructive alternative to punishment.

In defending each and every client, my philosophy is diligence and passion for defendants’ rights, ensuring that I will explore every option in preparing and presenting the strongest defense possible.

I have attached cases which are representative of those which I have personally handled during pre-trial negotiations, trial and on appeal. Additionally, I have represented several people prior to indictment who were not charged, using my investigators, and a polygraph examiner. Given the opportunity, in the nascent stage of case, I am usually able to develop a theory of defense, which sometimes leads to lesser charges or no charges being filed.

Finally, I am certified by the Ohio Supreme Court to represent those who are charged with death penalty specifications; I am certified by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to represent clients who are on the Mental Health Court Docket; and I have had success in having people placed in various Drug Court programs, Diversion Programs, Judicial Release and Re-entry Court.

Q: How do I hire a defense lawyer?

A: Take your time. Schedule an office conference, and ask everything that is on your mind. I recognize that you may have never hired a lawyer and may never again. My philosophy is that clients should regard the attorney-client relationship as an investment. You will have to trust your lawyer with your most significant difficulties in life. Find the right fit for you.

Q: When do I hire a defense lawyer?

A: It is never too early to consult counsel. As a criminal investigation progresses, you must know your rights to protect yourself, and you must know your obligations so that no additional allegations arise. All too often the client waits to retain counsel after critical events have occurred, and then the client’s options are significantly reduced. If there are defenses to advance at an early stage, working with counsel will help you decide what information to present and how best to present it. If there are problems to avoid, I can help you plan around them. In other words, the sooner I am hired the sooner I can help.

Q: What type of lawyer do I hire?

A: There is no substitute for experience. When selecting a criminal defense attorney, it is essential to hire someone with the background to handle your case. You need a lawyer with the judgment to provide the advice you need to make the difficult decisions you have to make. You should also select someone who is a committed and skilled advocate. You need someone who will advance your position with the judgment, has the tenacity required to be in all of the steps of the process and is an advocate for you with the prosecution, the court and the jury. I meet all of these requirements. I have handled all kinds of cases, in all kinds of courts, for all kinds of clients. Prosecutors know if there is a weakness in their case, and I will find it. Judges know that if there are legal issues to raise I will raise them and stick wit them all of the way through the case. Juries know that my clients are represented with a justified defense.

Q: What are your attorney fees?

A: I understand that few things can be more disconcerting than hiring a criminal defense lawyer. The client is and should be concerned about the expense. I work with clients using different means to develop a strategy that is not only effective but sensible. I pride myself on making exceptional representation as affordable as possible. My philosophy is simple. I provide excellent representation, and I expect to be compensated for my efforts. I do not expect windfalls. Although I cannot work for free, I plan and work with clients to make sure that the representation continues through conclusion. I am in the business of helping people, not adding to their problems.

Q: Do I need a lawyer's help if I am accused of a crime?

A: It is in your best interest to consult a Cleveland criminal defense lawyer as early as possible if you suspect you will be facing the criminal justice system. Whether or not you believe you have been wrongfully accused, an attorney will fight for your legal and constitutional rights, and monitor the proceedings for legality and fairness. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal counsel.

Q: What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

A: The traditional definition of a felony is a crime that is punishable by a year or more in jail. A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment of less than one year. Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. Exact definitions may vary by jurisdiction.

Q: What should I do if I am arrested?

A: If the police arrest you, immediately ask to call an attorney. Do not say anything to the police because you could incriminate yourself. Even if you are innocent and were in no way involved in the crime for which you have been arrested, ask for a lawyer and do not speak to the police without your criminal defense attorney present.

Q: What is the role of the grand jury?

A: The grand jury decides whether there is sufficient evidence to indict a suspect and continue the criminal proceedings against him or her. The indictment is the formal process of charging a person with a crime. The grand jury reviews the evidence and may hear testimony in deciding whether to indict someone, but the grand jury makes no decision about guilt or innocence. All states use the grand jury system to some extent, though there may be differences in procedures and numbers of jurors.

Q: What is the role of the prosecutor?

A: The prosecutor is the attorney who represents the federal, state, local or tribal government in a case against a criminal defendant. The title of the prosecutor varies by jurisdiction, but some common titles include district attorney, county attorney, city attorney, United States attorney and state attorney. The prosecutor has the public duty to punish those committing crimes, balanced with the duty to fairly try such individuals.

Q: What is the difference between probation and parole?

A: Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison, as long as he or she complies with certain conditions, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer, refraining from alcohol and drugs, and not committing further crimes. Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner from incarceration into the community before the end of his or her sentence. Conditions of parole are similar to those of probation.

Q: What is restitution in the criminal context?

A: Depending on the applicable federal or state laws, part of a criminal sentence may include the payment of restitution to the victim or victims for their related losses. Restitution may include compensation for property damage or loss, medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost income or funeral expenses. Part of the philosophy behind criminal restitution is to give the criminal offender a direct part in making things whole for his or her victim.

Q: What is white-collar crime?

A: White-collar crime, also called paper crime, refers generally to nonviolent financial crimes involving fraud or other dishonesty committed in business or commercial contexts. Examples include insider trading, embezzlement and tax evasion. "White-collar" refers to dress shirts worn in office settings as opposed to uniforms or casual clothing appropriate to "blue-collar" industrial settings.

Q: How are children and youth prosecuted?

A: A minor is prosecuted for criminal conduct in a separate juvenile court system. The philosophy of the juvenile justice system is that children should not be punished or stigmatized for criminal conduct because of their immature abilities to make proper choices and to recognize right from wrong. Instead the role of the juvenile justice system is seen as rehabilitative and guiding. For particularly violent crimes, adolescents may be tried in the adult system.

Q: Can I be deported if I am convicted of a crime while I am in the United States legally on a work visa?

A: Yes. If a person who is not a citizen of the United States is convicted of certain crimes, he or she can be deported. This includes lawful permanent residents living and working in the United States. Pursuant to U.S. immigration law, if a noncitizen is convicted of an aggravated felony, a crime of moral turpitude or any one of a number of other listed crimes (such as violations of laws relating to domestic violence, controlled substances and firearms), he or she is at risk of removal or deportation. In addition to deportation, a conviction may adversely affect a lawful permanent resident's ability to become a United States citizen.

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