If you are facing assault charges in Ohio, you need a Cleveland assault and battery lawyer with the experience and track record to build a strong defense.
Assault charges are serious, and a conviction can change your life. It’s important to understand the types of assault crimes in Ohio and their penalties.
The State of Ohio doesn’t technically have battery charges like many other states do. Assault covers all assault and battery-related charges in the state.
There are several types of assault, and they can vary from misdemeanors to felonies.
Under Ohio law, you can be charged with simple assault if:
You can be charged with simple assault even if no physical contact is made and there are no injuries.
Simple assault is generally charged as a misdemeanor. It can be charged as a felony if the assault is directed at:
In Ohio, it is illegal for anyone to knowingly cause serious physical harm to another person or unborn child in a fit of rage or sudden passion. You can also be charged with aggravated assault if you cause or attempt to cause harm with a deadly weapon.
The State of Ohio considers aggravated assault to be a crime of passion. This charge is largely based on your mental state at the time of the crime.
Aggravated assault is typically a fourth-degree felony, but it can be escalated to a third-degree felony if the assault is direct at a police officer.
The most serious of assault crimes in Ohio. You can be charged with felonious assault if:
Felonious assault is usually charged as a second-degree felony. The charge can be escalated to a first-degree felony if the assault is directed at a law enforcement officer.
In Ohio, you can also be charged with felonious assault if you engage in sexual conduct with a person while knowingly tested positive for HIV if:
Ohio law prohibits the reckless use of firearms, explosives and other weapons. Accidental shootings and hunting accidents can result in a negligent assault charge.
The term “negligent” simply means that you acted carelessly but did not cause intentional harm.
Negligent assault is considered a third-degree misdemeanor.
If you cause physical harm with a vehicle, you can be charged with vehicular assault in Ohio. This includes reckless operation of a vehicle in construction zones and driving while under the influence.
Vehicular assault can apply to:
Depending on the circumstances, the crime can range from first-degree misdemeanor to felony-level charges. If you are driving while under the influence and cause an accident that leads to injuries, you can be charged with aggravated vehicular assault, which is a third-degree felony.
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Assault charges have serious penalties and potentially life-altering consequences. The penalties depend on the type of assault and the victim:
It is also important to remember that there is a presumption of a prison sentence if you’re convicted of a first or second-degree felony. This means that if you are convicted of either of these felony types, it is presumed that you will be required to serve a prison sentence. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney will give you the best chance at either avoiding or greatly reducing any prison time you might be required to serve.
In addition to fines and potential jail or prison time, an assault conviction can also have other consequences, including:
An assault conviction can follow you for the rest of your life and may make it difficult to find a job, go to college, rent an apartment or obtain a professional license. You may also lose your gun ownership rights and your ability to vote while incarcerated.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have been charged with assault in Ohio, you should seek the services of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Assault charges can have serious consequences, and the best way to protect yourself is to have someone with the necessary legal knowledge on your side fighting for your rights.
The penalties for assault in Ohio will depend on the severity of the charges and the type of assault that was committed. Possible penalties could include:
Dropping assault charges can be very difficult, and in some cases impossible. If someone wants to drop assault charges, they should actually reach out to the criminal defense attorney representing the individual whom they originally had the charges against. This attorney can help advise whether dropping the charges is even possible and if so, they can help facilitate the necessary conversations to get this accomplished.
We have successfully represented clients across Northern Ohio. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help you too. Don’t delay. The district attorney is building their case against you right now.
The Prosecutor will not take your charges lightly — Will you?