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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 114796
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Hello, I am being charged for animal abondonment. I took

Customer Question

Hello,
I am being charged for animal abondonment. I took a cat to a no kill shelter without permission. I have a ticket. The guy hated to give it to me but the other party a non-profit wanted to charge me. I don't know if I should just plead guilty or no contest. The cat was originally not mine, I tried to find a home but when I could not and my cats were having issues with the fostered cat I got desparate and got caught.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
You need to not plead guilty. You need to plead not guilty at your first appearance and you then need to ask for a conference with the prosecutor and this is a second degree misdemeanor, so you need an attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor to get a deferred sentence at the very least, which is where they give you 6-12 months probation and a fine and then dismiss the charge at the end of that time. Prosecutors generally will not speak directly to defendants because everything you tell them can be used against you in trial, so using an attorney would be best to avoid you having this misdemeanor permanently on your record.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Wow, the SPCA guy said it was like getting a parking ticket. Not so! He said I would have the option of no contest, not guilty or guilty. Is -not guilty and -no contest both OK in my case. I will get an attorney but really didn't know it was necessary. The SPCA guy wrote -first offense so I thought since the cat was taken to a shelter it would not be viewed the same as if I left the cat in a parking lot. Am I being naive?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
The statute itself states only, "959.01 ABANDONING ANIMALS
No owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal, shall abandon such animal." So arguably it could be argued either way. Certainly leaving the cat at a shelter is at the least a mitigating factor.

The penalty is, "959.99 PENALTIES; FORFEITURE OF ANIMALS OR LIVESTOCK; FORFEITURE OF COMPANION ANIMALS; (2) Whoever violates section 959.01 of the Revised Code or division (C) of section 959.131 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree on a first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree on each subsequent offense."

Now, you will not receive jail time for this first offense, even though you can, but it would be a misdemeanor on your record which is why you want to get an attorney and fight it from being a conviction.
Law Educator, Esq. and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This is helpful since I tried to look this up and didn't find the penality part. I have a question about this possibly being on my record. If I do end up with a misdmeanor is that something that the general public or googeling would show? How would having a misdemeanor effect me? I work for myself at this time although I may want to work for others in the future. Does a background check show misdemanors? Could I have it expunged if it doesn't go well for me. By the way I signed up for the 30 day free trial so I will accept your answer after this and I do appreciate your expertise. I may ask for you in the future but then it will be on the monthly trial time/dime.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
It would be on your record and you would have to claim it on any job or rental application if asked about convictions. It would show on your background check as well. Ohio allows expungement if you are sentenced as a first offender. Also, having the attorney will allow them to negotiate a deferred sentence where if you have no further violations of any kind in 12 months they will dismiss the charge and expunge it.