In Ohio, a person could be charged with assault in two ways. One, they knowingly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to someone else. Two, they recklessly cause serious physical harm to another individual (O.R.C. § 2903.13).
Assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The level depends not on whether the person knowingly or recklessly injured someone else. Instead, it is tied to the relationship between the alleged offender and victim or the victim’s employment position.
Whether assault is a misdemeanor or felony, the penalties are severe. They include confinement and fines. In certain situations, they may also have mandatory minimum terms of incarceration or increased fines.
When Assault Is a Misdemeanor
Assault is generally a first-degree misdemeanor, provided that no special association existed between the alleged offender and victim.
In Ohio, first-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to:
- 180 days in jail and/or
- $1,000 in fines
The potential penalties can be enhanced if aggravating factors are present.
For instance, the court can impose a maximum fine of $5,000 if the alleged victim were a:
- Health care professional,
- Security officer at a hospital, or
- Judge, magistrate, or court personnel performing their official duties.
Also, if the alleged offender knew that the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense, the court can sentence the defendant to a mandatory minimum jail term of 30 days.
When Assault Is a Felony
Assault can be a fifth-, fourth-, or third-degree felony. The grade is connected to the status of the alleged victim.
Assault is a fifth-degree felony when:
- The alleged victim is an employee, visitor, or vendor of a local correctional facility (e.g., a county jail or workhouse), and the alleged offender is in the facility's custody.
- The alleged victim is a correctional or youth services facility employee, the alleged offender is under the institution’s custody, and the offense occurs offsite during the alleged victim’s work hours and while the alleged victim is performing their official duties.
- The offense occurs on a school bus or school grounds and the victim is a teacher, administrator, or bus operator.
- The alleged victim is an employee of a public children's services agency or private child placement agency performing or attempting to perform their official duties.
Fifth-degree felonies in Ohio are punishable by:
- No more than 12 months in prison and/or
- No more than $2,500 in fines.
Two situations exist where assault is a fourth-degree felony:
- The alleged victim is a functionally impaired person and the alleged offender is a caretaker charged with caring for the individual.
- The alleged victim is a peace officer, investigator, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel performing their official duties.
A fourth-degree felony carries:
- A maximum term of imprisonment of 18 months and/or
- A maximum fine of $5,000
However, if the alleged victim is one of the persons specified in the second bullet point above and suffered serious physical harm, the court can impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 months in jail.
Assault could be a third-degree felony if the offenses happened on or within the premises of a state correctional or department of youth services institution. Additionally, the alleged victim was an employee and the alleged offender was incarcerated or institutionalized in the facility.
For a third-degree felony, a court can impose the following sentence:
- A prison term not to exceed 36 months and/or
- A fine not to exceed $10,000
Special Sentencing for Some Felony Assault Cases
As with misdemeanor assault, if the offense is charged as a felony and the alleged offender knew that the alleged victim was pregnant, the court can impose enhanced penalties. The judge may subject the defendant to a mandatory prison term of 6 months or a length prescribed by law.
Contact Our Dayton for Help Fighting Your Charge
You don’t have to handle your assault case on your own. Our attorneys at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC can build your defense and present arguments to the prosecutor, judge, or jury. Regardless of whether you have been accused of a misdemeanor or felony violation, we are prepared to stand beside you and pursue an optimal outcome on your behalf.
Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (937) 685-7006 or submitting an online contact form today.