Convictions based on violent offenses can carry some of the harshest penalties under Ohio law. For this reason, it is imperative to consult with a criminal defense attorney at the earliest stage of the prosecution or investigation. The penalties for these crimes range from light prison sentences and fines for less serious offenses to the death penalty for conviction of aggravated murder. Because the penalties can be harsh, it is important to consult with an Ohio criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The crime of kidnapping is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2905.01. It states that it is illegal to restrain the liberty of another person through force, threat or deception, or by any means in order to:
- Hold the person for ranson, or as a shield or hostage;
- Commit any felony;
- Terrorize or inflict serious physical harm on the victim or another person;
- Engage in sexual activity with the victim against their will;
- Obstruct a governmental function; or
- Keep in involuntary servitude.
This crime is a felony, but can be charged as a felony of the first or second degree.
The crime of abduction is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2905.02, which states it is illegal to:
- By force or threat, remove another from the place where the other person is found;
- By force or threat, restrain the liberty of another person under circumstances that create a risk of physical harm to the victim or place the other person in fear;
- Hold another in a condition of involuntary servitude.
Furthermore, it is illegal to do anything prohibited in the above three sections with a sexual motivation. The crime of abduction can be charged as a felony of the second or third degree, depending on which prohibition is violated.
The crime of unlawful restraint is defined in Ohio Revise Code § 2905.03, which states it is illegal to:
- Without privilege to do so, knowingly restrain another of the other person’s liberty; or
- Without privilege to do so and with a sexual motivation, knowingly restrain another of the other person’s liberty.
The crime of unlawful restraint is a misdemeanor of the third degree.
The crime of assault is defined in §2903.13 of the Ohio Revised Code and occurs when a person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm, or serious physical harm, to another person or a person’s unborn child.
Assault can be a misdemeanor of the first degree, or felony of the third, fourth or fifth degree, depending on the victim and place where the offense occurred.
The crime of aggravated assault is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.12, and occurs when a person causes serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn, or causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn by using a deadly weapon, when provoked or in the heat of passion or rage.
The crime of aggravated assault is either a felony of the third or fourth degree, depending on the victim.
Ohio Revised Code § 2903.03 defines the crime of voluntary manslaughter. This offense occurs when a person knowingly causes the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation on the part of the victim.
Voluntary Manslaughter is a felony of the first degree.
The crime of involuntary manslaughter is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.04, and occurs when a person causes the death of another or unlawfully terminates the pregnancy of another by:
- Committing or attempting to commit a felony, or
- Attempting to commit or committing a misdemeanor or other regulatory offense.
If the death or termination of the pregnancy occurred during the felony, then the crime is a felony of the first degree. However, if it occurred during the misdemeanor then it is a felony of the third degree.
Murder is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.02, and occurs where a person purposefully causes the death of another person or unlawfully terminate another person’s pregnancy. A person can also commit this offense if they cause the death of another person from the commission of a first or second degree felony. According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.22, a person acts purposely when it is his specific intention to cause a certain result, or, when the gist of the offense is a prohibition against conduct of a certain nature, regardless of what the offender intends to accomplish thereby, it is his specific intention to engage in conduct of that nature.
The crime of aggravated murder is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.01, which states it is illegal to:
- Purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy;
- Purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy while committing or attempting to commit, or while fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit, kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, terrorism, or escape;
- Purposely cause the death of another who is under thirteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense;
- Purposely cause the death of another while under detention, or after breaking out of detention, when the detention was a result of having been found guilty of or having pleaded guilty to a felony.
Also, the crime specifically applies to purposely causing the death of a law enforcement officer whom the offender knows or has reasonable cause to know is a law enforcement officer when either of the following applies:
- The victim, at the time of the commission of the offense, is engaged in the victim’s duties, or
- It is the offender’s specific purpose to kill a law enforcement officer.
Ohio Violent Crime Penalties
Below are the basic penalties for convictions of violent crimes in Ohio, although these basic sentences may be enhanced or amended depending on the individual circumstances of the case, including the offender’s criminal history, age of the victim, or whether a different, mandatory sentence is imposed.
- Misdemeanor of the First Degree – A conviction for this degree of misdemeanor can lead to 180 days in jail and/or fines up to $1,000.
- Felony of the Fifth Degree – A person convicted of this degree of felony could face imprisonment from six months to one year and/or fines not more than $2,500.
- Felony of the Fourth Degree – A conviction for a felony in this degree can result in imprisonment from six to 18 months, and/or fines up to $5,000.
- Felony of the Third Degree – Violent offenses in this degree can result in a prison sentence from one to five years, and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
- Felony of the Second Degree – These offenses can lead to imprisonment from two to eight years, and/or fines no more than $15,000.
- Felony of the First Degree – A person who is convicted for violent offenses in this degree can result in imprisonment from three to ten years, and/or fines not exceeding $20,000.
- Penalties for a person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to an aggravated murder offense can be sentenced to death or life in prison and/or a fine of $25,000. A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to murder can be imprisoned for 15 years to life and/or a fine up to $15,000. If the murder involved a victim under 13 years old or was a sexually motivated offense, the alleged offender can be sentenced to a mandatory prison sentence.
Consult an Ohio Violent Crime Defense Lawyer
If you would like to consult a Cleveland criminal defense attorney regarding your criminal charges, you can contact Thomas G. Haren at Haren Law, LLC at (216) 503-2232.
Please remember that this is not legal advice. It is presented for informational purposes only.