Criminal Law


Criminal Defense
 
When you have been charged with a crime, your freedom and reputation are at stake. It is very important that you consider hiring a lawyer who you can trust.

Kyle Bristow gained invaluable experience while working at the Toledo Public Defender's Office, at which he defended hundreds of clients charged with misdemeanor crimes.  When he took the multistate portion of the Ohio bar exam, he scored in the 98th percentile for criminal law and in the 97th percentile for evidence.

As your lawyer, Attorney Kyle Bristow can defend you if you have been charged with:
  • Alcohol offenses, such as underage drinking and operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI)—which is commonly called by laymen "DUI" or "drunk driving"
  • Drug offenses, such as drug possession and drug trafficking
  • Property offenses, such as theft, shoplifting, robbery, vandalism, arson, trespass, and burglary
  • Offenses against the public, such as disorderly conduct
  • Crimes against children, such as child abuse and child endangerment
  • Violent crimes, such as assault and domestic violence
  • Crimes against people, such as menacing, stalking, extortion, unlawful restraint, and kidnapping
  • Sex crimes, such as statutory rape, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, public indecency, sexual imposition, importuning, voyeurism, and prostitution
  • Weapon crimes, such as those that involve carrying a concealed weapon like a gun or knife
  • Traffic offenses, such as driving without a license
  • White-collar crimes
  • All other misdemeanor and felony offenses
  • Juvenile delinquent acts
  • Probation violations
  • Federal crimes
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime and is currently incarcerated, Attorney Kyle Bristow may also be able to file a petition for judicial release, which permits the early release of the individual if granted by the judge.

OWI / OVI / DUI / Drunk Driving
 
Michigan's laws that govern motor vehicles are contained within Chapter 257 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.  Michigan's laws that proscribe operating while intoxicated ("OWI") are codified in MCL § 257.625.

A low tier, first time conviction of driving while intoxicated in Michigan carries up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, 360 hours of community service, a 180 day license suspension, and six points on one's driving record.  The possible penalties only increase if the person is a repeat-offender or if they are caught with a high amount of intoxicants in their system, which is defined by law.

Ohio's traffic laws are codified in Section 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code.  The relevant subsections of Section 4511 that pertain to operating a vehicle while under the influence ("OVI") are:
Judge Jennifer P. Weiler of the Garfield Heights Municipal Court has created a chart that lists the possible ramifications for operating a vehicle while under the influence.  For a low tier, first time OVI conviction, a defendant faces up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,075, court-ordered alcohol counseling, a driving license suspension of up to three years, restricted license plates, an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicles, active probation for up to five years, and six points on your driving record.  If a person is convicted of OVI who has been convicted of it before or if the person is caught with an amount of intoxicating substances of an excessive amount as defined by law, then the possible punishments increase.

Pursuant to current Ohio law, a conviction of OVI is not eligible for expungement and sealing.

Needless to say, laws that concern drunk driving are verbose, convoluted, and carry significant penalties, and so it is critical that a layman who is charged with driving while under the influence immediately and privately consult with an attorney.
 
Criminal Record Expungement & Sealing
 
In Ohio and Michigan, some criminal records can be sealed. In most cases, a sealed criminal record will not show up during background checks. This can be invaluable when it comes to applying for a job. In fact, for most employment opportunities, an individual who has had a criminal record sealed may even mark on job applications that they have not been convicted of a crime when said crime has been sealed.

Did you know that if the government filed criminal charges against you that were either dismissed or resulted in a "not guilty" verdict, such entries may still show up in your records? It is often advisable to seek the sealing or expungement of such entries for employment purposes.

In Ohio, all adult criminal offenses may be sealed, except for the following:
  • Any first or second degree felony
  • All traffic offenses
  • Any offense with a mandatory prison term
  • Any offense of violence or threatened violence (except misdemeanor assault)
  • Any sexual offense
  • Knowingly offering to sell a car with a tampered odometer
  • Tampering with a vehicle’s odometer
  • Selling or possessing a master key designed to fit more than one vehicle
  • Driving under suspension
  • Offenses with purpose to conceal or destroy identity of car or its parts
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (i.e., OVI, DUI)
  • Street racing
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
Juvenile offenses may be sealed, except for murder or rape.

In order for one to qualify for the expungement and sealing of a criminal record in Ohio, one must be an “eligible offender.”  An eligible offender is defined as a person who “has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions if the convictions are not of the same offense, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in this state or any other jurisdiction.”  This means that people with the following convictions or combinations of convictions will be eligible for the sealing of their record:  (1) one felony conviction; (2) one misdemeanor conviction; (3) one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction; or (4) two misdemeanor convictions.  Convictions of minor misdemeanors do not count as convictions for purposes of determining eligibility for a criminal record sealing.

Ohio's post-conviction relief statutes can be found in Chapter 2953 of the Revised Code.

In order for one to qualify for the expungement and sealing of an adult criminal record in Michigan, one must have only one criminal conviction on one's record, but exceptions to this rule do exist, which includes having up to two minor misdemeanors.  An offense is a minor misdemeanor if the maximum possible punishment was up to  90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, and the offenses happened when one was under 21 years of age.  A criminal case in which guilt was deferred does not constitute a conviction that would preclude a criminal record expungement.  Offenses that cannot be expunged in Michigan include:  traffic offenses; criminal sexual conduct of the first, second, or third degree; and felonies punishable by up to life in prison.  If one is otherwise eligible for a criminal record expungement in Michigan, the conviction must have occurred at least five years from the date one was sentenced or when one was released from imprisonment—whichever is later.

Michigan's adult criminal record expungement statute is codified in MCL § 780.621, and Michigan's juvenile delinquency adjudication sealing statute is codified in MCL § 712A.18e.

Please contact Attorney Kyle Bristow if you are interested in getting your criminal record expunged or sealed.

In the alternative to a criminal record expungement, you may be interested in seeking a pardon, commutation of a sentence, or a reprieve.  Attorney Kyle Bristow can assist you in filing such a request.
 
Appeals / Appellate Practice
 
Have you or someone you love lost a criminal or civil case that you or your loved one now wishes to appeal?

Kyle Bristow gained invaluable experience with appellate work during law school while working for Attorney Jason Van Dyke of Texas, who has filed petitions and appeals, respectively, with both the Texas Supreme Court and Texas appellate courts.

As an attorney, Bristow has filed briefs with the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Ohio Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Kyle Bristow also participated in the Charles W. Fornoff Oral Advocacy Competition that is annually hosted by the University of Toledo College of Law.  Through this endeavor, he competed against other law students by conducting legal research, organizing the research into a concise argument, and engaging in formal oral debate before panels of three judges.

Through Attorney Bristow's experiences with the Van Dyke Law Firm, his law school's annual oral advocacy competition, and his accomplishments as an attorney, he is ready to assist you in any appellate work that you may need done.

Please contact Attorney Kyle Bristow if you are interested in retaining him to appeal a case.