Facing a Deadly Weapon charge in Cleveland?

Ohio’s assault laws define assault as “causing or attempting to cause harm to another person.” This includes unborn children. The statutes break assault down into two categories: simple assault which is charged as a misdemeanor, and felony-level assault. Depending on who you are accused of assaulting, a simple assault could be elevated to a felony charge. It is always considered a felony-level assault.

What Is Considered Assault With a Deadly Weapon in Ohio?

Ohio Statute §2923.11(A) defines a deadly weapon as anything that could cause the death of someone. It could be something that is designed to be used as a weapon or something that you or someone else specially adapted to use as a weapon. A deadly weapon could also be an everyday item, such as your vehicle or a kitchen knife if you intentionally use it to assault someone. It could be a gun or other devices that are meant to be used as weapons.

Potential Penalties for Assault With a Deadly Weapon Charges

An assault with a deadly weapon is a felony-level assault according to Ohio Statute §2903.12(2). Generally, this would be a fourth-degree felony. However, if the person you allegedly assaulted is a police officer or an investigator with the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, it becomes a third-degree felony.

A conviction or a guilty plea that results in a third-degree or fourth-degree felony could come with the following penalties:

  • Third-degree felony: 9 to 36 months in prison
  • Fourth-degree felony: 6 to 18 months in prison

If the person you allegedly assaulted is a police officer or other named person, which results in a third-degree felony, the prison term is a mandatory term.

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Defenses for Assault With a Deadly Weapon

If the police arrested you for assault with a deadly weapon, you should always contact an attorney to review your case, especially if you had a reason for the assault. A skilled criminal defense attorney looks at all of the evidence in your case and determines a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

You could have a defense that we could use in your assault case, including:

  • A violation of your rights by the police, including search and seizure, incorrect or missing Miranda rights, wrongfully gathered evidence, or other administrative errors
  • The police or the victim mistakenly identifies you as the person who committed the assault.
  • Acting in self-defense of yourself or others
  • The prosecution cannot prove that you intended to assault the victim but can show that you assaulted the victim by mistake
  • The prosecution is missing one of the elements of assault with a deadly weapon (The elements of assault are: The defendant takes action and intends to cause harm with the action, and the action causes the victim to suffer harm)

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How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Charges

A criminal defense attorney takes several steps to help with an assault charge. The attorney will enter a plea for you at your arraignment and then request all of the evidence the police and prosecutor have in their possession.

Your attorney will also investigate the case to determine if you actually assaulted someone with a deadly weapon, if you are the person who committed the act, and whether the police used proper procedure when arresting you.

The attorney will also speak with the prosecutor prior to a trial to discuss a reduction of charges or drop the charges completely. Whether the prosecutor agrees depends upon the facts of the case and the evidence. For example, if your attorney investigates your case and finds out that your actions were in self-defense, your attorney could ask the prosecution to drop the charges.



Process step-by-step

  • 01.
    Initial Arrest

    01. Initial Arrest

    The process to charge someone that’s been accused of a crime begins with an arrest. If the police have reason to believe that someone has committed a crime, the accused can be taken into custody. Police will usually start by asking basic questions like name and address to identify a person, and then they’ll often pivot to more specific questions related to the incident. At some point during this, you should have been read your “Miranda warnings.”

  • 02.
    Reading Your Rights

    02. Reading Your Rights

    You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court. Those are your unwavering rights that must be recited upon taking someone into custody. Take note of when these rights are read to you, as it could be helpful information for your attorney.

  • 03.

    03. Booking

    When you’ve been taken down to the station, police will fingerprint you and get your photograph to update their records. Once this is done, you should be granted the opportunity to contact your criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a loved one to book a consultation with a lawyer on your behalf. It’s important that you do NOT disclose any details about your case over the phone with your loved ones, as those calls are monitored.

  • 04.

    04. Investigation

    After you’ve made it through the booking process, the police may begin conducting their investigation with you. Depending on the situation, this might include a personal search, collecting samples, interviewing/interrogating, police lineups, etc.

  • 05.
    Court Appearance

    05. Court Appearance

    You’ll be held at the station until you can be brought before a judge. The initial court appearance will happen within 48 hours or less of the arrest. Here, the judge will review the case and decide if there’s any reason to keep you in holding or if bail can be granted. If bail is granted, you’re allowed to be released upon certain conditions.

  • 06.

    06. Hearing

    Depending on the seriousness of your allegations, you may have a preliminary hearing at which a judge can determine whether enough evidence exists to charge you with that level of crime. You’ll be able to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you plead not guilty, your case will be sent to trial. You may get the opportunity to enter a plea deal. That’s something your attorney will advise you on.

  • 07.

    07. Discovery

    In the discovery stage, the case against you is made much more transparent. The prosecutor will share the evidence they have against you with your defense attorney. During this time, your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be. All of the evidence on the table will be considered, and your lawyer will work with you to form the best plan for your defense.

  • 08.

    08. Trial

    If a plea deal is unable to be reached, the case will enter trial. During the trial, the prosecutor begins by presenting the case to the jury. They share any evidence they have against you and have witnesses make their statements for the prosecution. This can be tough to sit through. Afterward, it’s your lawyer’s turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. Your lawyer can question the prosecutor’s witnesses and all of the evidence that was used against you. There are many different strategies that your lawyer will use to defend you during the trial.

  • 09.

    09. Sentencing

    In a best-case scenario, you will have been found not guilty by the end of the trial, and the charges against you have been dropped. If you are found guilty, the judge must determine what your sentence/penalties will be. The sentencing will happen at another hearing, usually a few weeks after your trial ends.

Ohio Felony Sentencing

Prison TIme
Maximum Fine
First Degree
3-11 years
Second Degree
2-8 years
Third Degree
9-36 or 12-60 months
Fourth Degree
6-8 months
Fifth Degree
6-12 months

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing

Jail Time
Maximum Fine
First Degree
Up to 180 days
Second Degree
Up to 90 days
Third Degree
Up to 60 days
Fourth Degree
Up to 30 days
Minor Misdemeanor

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Example of Assault With a Deadly Weapon?

An assault with a deadly weapon might include intentionally hitting someone with a vehicle, shooting at a person (even if you miss), or stabbing someone. Even if the assault is done in self-defense, it is considered assault with a deadly weapon. However, you might have a defense to your assault, such as protecting yourself from someone attacking you.

Can Assault With a Deadly Weapon Charges Be Dropped?

Yes. If you can prove that your assault was self-defense, if the police and/or victim wrongly identified you, if the police violated your rights, or if the prosecution cannot prove that your actions were intentional, your charges could be dropped. In some of these cases, the charges could be reduced instead of dropped.

How Much Time Do You Get for Assault With a Deadly Weapon?

If you do not kill someone, you could face prison time from 6 months to 36 months, depending on how the prosecutor charges you (a felony in the third degree or felony in the fourth degree). Prior convictions could also play a part in how much time the prosecutor recommends.

Ohio Courts System

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