Ohio Criminal Charges

If you are charged with a crime in Ohio, it can be difficult to determine what could happen to you based on reading the law. You need to understand the severity of the charges, misdemeanor vs. felony classes, and how prior offenses are likely to factor into any penalties if you are ultimately found guilty.

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Possible maximum penalties under Ohio criminal law are really a worst case Understanding what is likely to happen in most cases is critical to making decisions about your legal defense options.

Please contact us for a consultation for help in determining what you are up against when charged with a criminal offense in Ohio. And even more importantly, you can talk to a criminal defense lawyer for a consultation, free of charge, to help you figure out exactly what you can do about it.

Ohio Misdemeanor Criminal Charges – Penalties

In Ohio, misdemeanors are categorized by degrees of seriousness, with 1st degree being the most serious and a “minor” misdemeanor being the least. The law which covers the offense you are convicted of will say which class your offense belongs in.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and the judge decides to sentence you to jail time, you could face the following penalties:

1st Degree MisdemeanorUp to 6 months in jail and fines no more than $1,000.
2nd Degree MisdemeanorUp to 90 days in jail and fines no more than $750.
3rd Degree MisdemeanorUp to 60 days in jail and fines no more than $500.
4th Degree MisdemeanorUp to 30 days in jail and fines no more than $250.
“Minor” MisdemeanorUp to $150 in fines.

Ref: ORC 2929.24

Ohio Felony Charges – Penalties

Felonies are far more serious than misdemeanors. If you are sentenced to a felony you will serve time in a state prison rather than a county jail or local facility. The fines are higher for felonies and you will have to report your conviction when applying for most jobs and some housing.

Like misdemeanors, felonies in Ohio are grouped into degrees, with first degree felonies being the most serious.

1st Degree Felony3-10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines
2nd Degree Felony2-8 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
3rd Degree Felony1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
4th Degree Felony6-18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
5th Degree Felony6-12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines

Ref: ORC 2929.14

The judge will determine your sentence within the recommended range by looking at the laws, your pre-sentence report, and the severity of the offense.

Will I Be Sentenced to Probation?

If the judge feels that you would not pose a risk to the community, your sentence may be suspended for you to serve a period of probation. This simply means that your prison or jail sentence will be put on hold while you serve probation.

If you violate the terms of your probation you stand to have this privileged revoked and your original sentence imposed. The terms or rules of your probation are dictated by statute, the judge, and the probation officer assigned to supervise your case.

Having an experienced Ohio defense attorney attorney can greatly increases your odds of getting probation rather than an active prison sentence. We can also help if you are facing probation violations.

Ohio Criminal Sentencing Process

Once you plead guilty or are found guilty of an offense, you will be sentenced. The judge may sentence you immediately; but more than likely, a future date will be set for sentencing.

When determining your sentence, the judge will take several things into consideration. Typically when your sentencing date is set, a pre-sentence investigation will also be ordered

Pre-Sentence Investigation

The pre-sentence investigation is a tool used in sentencing that is ordered by the judge and completed by a probation officer. The investigating officer may complete interviews with you, your family or employer, and any victims of your offense.

The report created from this investigation will include much information that the judge may find useful in determining your sentence. It will examine everything from your criminal history to your employment and ties to the community.

Your pre-sentence report may include:

  • Family history
  • Psychological evaluation or history
  • Connections in the community
  • Employment history
  • Criminal history
  • Victim statements
  • Circumstances of the offense

Lastly, the pre-sentence report will include a sentencing recommendation from the investigating officer. The officer will evaluate whether or not you would be a good candidate for probation, post-release control or other community sentence alternatives.

Although the judge is not required to follow the recommendation, he will likely consider it given the officer’s experience in supervising people on probation.

Another thing that will be considered in determining your sentence is what the crime you are convicted of. Each crime if classified in a few different ways. Your crime’s classification and special circumstances will prescribe a sentencing range for the judge to sentence within.

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