Causing or attempting to cause harm to another person or to an unborn child is an assault in Ohio. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2903.13.)
A felonious assault is:
- knowingly causing serious physical harm to another person or an unborn child, or
- causing or attempting to cause serious harm with a deadly weapon or a firearm – referred to in the Ohio statutes as a “dangerous ordnance.”
Ohio also makes it a felony assault to engage in sex with another person when you are HIV positive:
- without informing the other of your HIV status
- when the other person lacks the mental capacity to understand the risks involved, and
- when the other person is under 18, unless the person is your spouse. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2903.11.)
Felonious assault is a 2nd degree felony in Ohio, but if the victim is a law enforcement officer, it is a 1st degree felony.
Aggravated assault occurs when an offender is in an extreme emotional state or sudden rage as he commits the offense, and the emotional state was provoked somehow by the victim. The crime may be charged when:
- the offender causes serious physical harm to the victim or the victim’s unborn child, or
- the offender causes or attempts to cause harm to the victim or the victim’s unborn child with a deadly weapon or firearm. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2903.12.)
Aggravated assault is a 4th degree felony in Ohio, but if the victim is a law enforcement officer, it is a 2nd degree felony.
Penalties for Felonious Assault inOhio
A person convicted of felonious assault faces the following possible basic penalties:
- for 1st degree felony, three to eleven years in prison and a fine up to $20,000
- for 1st degree felony, if the victim was a law enforcement officer and suffered serious physical injury, three to eleven years in prison, a fine up to $20,000, and a mandatory minimum sentence of at least three years, and
- for 2nd degree felony, two to eight years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault inOhio
A person convicted of aggravated assault faces the following possible basic penalties:
- for 3rd degree felony, nine months to three years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- for 3rd degree felony, if the victim was a law enforcement officer and suffered serious physical injury, nine months to three years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, and a mandatory minimum sentence of at least three years, and
- for 4th degree felony, six to eighteen months in prison and a fine up to $5000.
A person convicted of felonious or aggravated assault must serve a mandatory minimum of at least six months in prison if the victim was pregnant and the offender knew of the pregnancy. A defendant is required to serve extra time in prison – in addition to the basic sentence – if the defendant shot a firearm at or into a residence or in a school area, shot a firearm from a motor vehicle, used certain automatic weapons or a silencer, or was wearing body armor when he committed the crime.
A person convicted of felonious or aggravated assault in Ohio can be required to pay restitution, which involves reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling or repair or replacement of damaged property.
Deferred Sentence, Suspended Sentence, and Probation
A court in Ohio can impose a deferred or suspended sentence and probation for felonious or aggravated assault. If a sentence is deferred, the court does not impose any jail or prison time; instead, it imposes certain conditions on the defendant such as probation, counseling or other treatment, or community service. At the end of the deferment period, if the defendant satisfies the conditions and completes the period without further criminal activity or arrests, the case is dismissed. The arrest and dismissal will be part of the defendant’s criminal record. A deferred sentence is less likely in a criminal action involving a violent felony, particularly if the defendant already has a criminal record.
For a suspended sentence, the court can suspend all or a portion of the prison sentence as long as the defendant successfully completes probation and any other conditions the court imposes. A person on supervised probation must meet with a probation officer and comply with conditions of probation such as treatment, maintaining employment and avoiding any further criminal activity or arrests.
Pleas and Pre-Trial Options
If you are facing a charge for felony or aggravated assault in Ohio, an attorney can investigate the case and determine if you were wrongfully charged or there are other reasons why the case should be dismissed before trial. An attorney also may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or prepare a defense and represent you at trial if you believe you have been wrongly accused or if there are no reasonable plea options. Prosecutors may negotiate and agree to a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea or to the defendant pleading guilty to a different, less serious crime.
The Value of Good Representation
A charge of aggravated or felonious assault is a very serious matter. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror (for seven years) and carry or own firearms. A felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license and can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.