Being charged with a felony of any degree in Ohio is serious, and the courts are cracking down on offenders with tougher sentences. Just ask the roughly 50,000 men and women incarcerated in Ohio’s prisons at any given time.
Felony convictions change lives forever. They tear families apart, cause devastating financial consequences, and place a label on those convicted that they can never remove. They also lose the right to vote while in prison and might lose their right to own a firearm anywhere in the country forever.
For more than 50 years, the attorneys with Peterson & Peterson, LLC have been representing clients charged with felonies in Xenia, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, and surrounding Ohio communities. Our experience and knowledge in criminal defense make us tough and aggressive advocates for our clients. We offer comprehensive legal services and will help you strategize a strong defense. Contact us today.
Any crime listed in Ohio statutes as a felony is a felony, regardless of the amount of prison time a judge can impose. If a crime is not specifically listed as a felony, it can still be charged as a felony if the crime allows the judge to sentence a perpetrator to more than one year in prison as a penalty for the crime.
For example, someone can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony domestic assault. They will be charged with a felony if they have one or more previous domestic violence convictions or if they assaulted a woman whom they knew was pregnant and harmed the unborn child. Both permit imprisonment of longer than one year.
Felonies in Ohio are classified into five degrees, with a first-degree felony being the most serious and a fifth-degree felony the least serious. The most serious felonies are “unclassified” and carry the greatest penalties.
First degree: Includes murder, kidnapping, and rape.
Second degree: Includes abduction, sexual assault, burglary of an unoccupied building, and illegal creation of explosives.
Third degree: Includes fleeing and eluding capture, perjury, bribery, assisting suicide, and certain drug offenses.
Fourth degree: Includes grand theft auto, vehicular assault, and sexual conduct with a minor.
Fifth degree: Includes breaking and entering, forgery, theft in excess of $1,000, and receiving stolen property.
Unclassified: Includes aggravated murder, comprising premeditated murder, murder of an unborn child, a child under the age of 13, or a law enforcement officer, and murder committed while committing other serious felonies.
First- and second-degree felonies committed on or after March 22, 2019, are punishable by an indefinite sentence. The judge will sentence the offender to a minimum prison term within a range of years, then add 50% to get the maximum term.
The minimum for first-degree felonies is three to 11 years. The minimum for second-degree felonies is two to eight years. To calculate the maximum prison term, add 50% of the minimum sentence to the minimum sentence. For example, if an offender is sentenced to 10 years for a first-degree conviction, the maximum prison term would be 15 years.
Convictions may also be accompanied by fines of up to $20,000 for first-degree charges and up to $15,000 for second-degree.
Third-degree convictions are generally punishable by prison terms of nine to 36 months; however, some are punishable by 12 to 60 months. Those more serious offenses include sexual conduct with a minor and aggravated vehicular assault, among others. Third-degree convictions also carry fines of up to $10,000.
Fourth-degree convictions may result in a sentence of six to 18 months and fines up to $5,000.
Fifth-degree convictions may result in a sentence of six to 12 months and fines up to $2,500.
An unclassified felony conviction for aggravated murder can carry the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole and a fine of up to $25,000. Other unclassified murder convictions carry indeterminate sentences of 15 years to life in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
Felony convictions destroy lives, families, and dreams. Those charged with felonies need a tough and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can investigate the charges, mitigate aggravation when possible, be an effective negotiator with the prosecution, and present their case fully to a judge and jury.
At Peterson & Peterson, LLC, we are committed to putting our experience and expertise to work for our clients charged with felonies. Regardless of what charges you’re facing, our attorneys will take the time to learn about you and the details of your case to effectively pursue the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation. We proudly represent clients in Xenia, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, and the surrounding areas of Greene County, Clark County, Montgomery County, Warren County, Clinton County, and Fayette County, Ohio.