Criminal Sentencing in Ohio
Kyle J. Bristow, Copyright© 2012
In Ohio, there are three versions of murder, five degrees of felonies and five degrees of misdemeanors. Although the possible punishments for some crimes deviate from these rules, the maximum punishments for most offenses are as follows (from most serious to least serious):
- Aggravated Murder with Death Specification: death, life without parole, life with parole after 20, 25, or 30 years and a fine up to $25,000
- Aggravated Murder without Death Specification: Life with parole after 20 years and a fine up to $25,000
- Murder: Fifteen years to life, life without parole if sexual motivation specification and sexually-violent predator specification, and up to a $15,000 fine
- Felony of the First Degree: 3-11 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine
- Felony of the Second Degree: 2-8 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine
- Felony of the Third Degree: 1-3 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine
- Felony of the Fourth Degree: 6-18 months in prison and/or a $5,000 fine
- Felony of the Fifth Degree: 6-12 months in prison and/or a $2,500 fine
- Misdemeanor of the First Degree: 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine
- Misdemeanor of the Second Degree: 90 days in jail and/or a $750 fine
- Misdemeanor of the Third Degree: 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine
- Misdemeanor of the Fourth Degree: 30 days in jail and/or a $250 fine
- Minor Misdemeanor: No jail or prison, but up to a $150 fine
Some offenses, such as operating a vehicle while intoxicated and certain sex offenses, may carry mandatory jail or prison sentences. Also, there may be aggravating factors that may permit lengthier prison sentences beyond what is listed above.
Also, there are other ramifications for being convicted of crimes. For example, a person convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors—such as domestic violence or drug offenses—will be prevented from ever possessing a firearm. If one is convicted of a drug offense, then one would be ineligible for federal student loan aid. Other collateral consequences of a criminal conviction include: job loss and rejection by potential employers, denial of professional licenses (i.e., law, medical, or nurse), child custody problems, housing and rental application difficulty, increased insurance premiums, possible civil liability to the victims, and much more.
It is advisable to hire a criminal defense attorney at the earliest time as possible when one is being investigated or prosecuted for a criminal offense. Procedural and constitutional rights can be waived unintentionally by the uninformed pro se defendant.
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