Facing Assault And Battery charges in Cleveland?

Facing Assault And Battery charges in Cleveland, OH?

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.

If you’re facing assault charges in Ohio, you need a Cleveland assault and battery lawyer with the experience and track record to build a strong defense.

Understanding Assault and Battery Crimes in Ohio

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.

Simple Assault

Under Ohio law, you can be charged with simple assault if:

  • You knowingly cause or intend to cause physical harm to a person or unborn child, OR
  • You recklessly cause harm to another person or unborn child.

You can be charged with simple assault even if no physical contact is made and there is no physical injury.

Simple assault is generally charged as a misdemeanor. It can be charged as a felony if the assault is directed at:

  • A law enforcement officer, EMT, firefighter, health care provider or hospital staffer
  • A prosecutor, judge, or courthouse employee while on the job
  • A volunteer, staff member, or visitor at a correctional facility by an incarcerated person
  • A school teacher or employee while on the job
  • An impaired person by his/her caregiver
  • An employee of a public child services agency while on the job

Aggravated Assault

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 during the crime.

Aggravated assault is typically a fourth-degree felony, but it can be escalated to a third-degree felony if the assault is directed at a police officer.

Felonious Assault

The most serious of assault crimes in Ohio. You can be charged with felonious assault if:

  • You knowingly cause serious physical harm to a person or unborn child, OR
  • You attempt to cause physical harm using a deadly weapon

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 positive for HIV if:

  • You do not disclose your HIV status
  • The other party is under the age of 18
  • You know or believe the other party does not have the mental capacity to understand your condition

Negligent Assault

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.

Vehicular Assault

If you cause physical harm with a vehicle, you can be charged with vehicular assault in Ohio. This includes the reckless operation of a vehicle in construction zones and driving while under the influence.

Vehicular assault can apply to:

  • Automobiles
  • Boats and other watercraft
  • Motorcycles
  • Snowmobiles

Depending on the circumstances, the crime can range from a 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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What Are the Penalties for Assault in Ohio?

Assault charges have serious consequences and potentially life-altering effects.

The penalties depend on the type of assault and the victim:

  • First-degree misdemeanor: Fines up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail
  • Fifth-degree felony: Fines up to $2,500 and up to one year in prison
  • Fourth-degree felony: Fines up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in prison
  • Third-degree felony: Fines up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison
  • Second-degree felony: Fines up to $15,000 and up to eight years in prison
  • First-degree felony: Fines up to $20,000 and up to eleven years in prison

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 experienced Cleveland assault lawyers 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:

  • The loss of your driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Restitution
  • Living with a criminal record

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.

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Call a Cleveland Assault and Battery Lawyer

Ohio’s assault laws define assault as “knowingly 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 law 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 law. 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.

Defenses for Assault With a Deadly Weapon

If the police arrest 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)

How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Criminal 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.

Don’t Wait — Call The Botnick Law Firm Today!

If you are facing assault charges, call a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Experienced Cleveland assault attorneys will fight on your behalf and help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

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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

Should I get a lawyer for an assault charge?

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.

What is the punishment for assault in Ohio?

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:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Criminal charges on your record

Can an assault charge be dropped?

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.

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