Facing Felony charges in Cleveland?

Facing felony charges in Cleveland, OH?

Everyone makes mistakes – even good people. But felony charges are nothing to mess around with. Not only is jail time a possibility, but you could also be facing hefty fines and all the other consequences of having a criminal record. Your freedom and your future could be at stake. If you are currently facing felony criminal charges in Cleveland, OH, the most important step you can take is to consult with a Cleveland felony lawyer today. Criminal defense lawyers can help you navigate the ins and outs of felony charges and a criminal investigation, and they can increase your chances of avoiding a felony conviction altogether. Read on to learn more about felony offenses in Ohio and the very serious consequences that come with felony convictions.

Felony Offenses in Ohio 

The most severe criminal offenses in the state of Ohio are felony offenses. A step below felony charges is misdemeanors. While not as serious as a felony criminal conviction, misdemeanor charges still come with severe consequences, including possible jail time and fines. Since any criminal record can jeopardize your future, you need a criminal defense team that is knowledgeable and experienced. Contact a team of Cleveland criminal defense attorneys that will advocate for your rights after a felony arrest.

Here are some common felony criminal charges in the state of Ohio.


Arson and aggravated arson are outlined in Chapters 2909.01—2909.03 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). Arson that involves property valued over $1,000 generally brings a more serious felony charge.

Drug Crimes

Drug offenses and drug crimes are laid out in ORC Chapter 2925. Minor offenses, like possessing a small amount of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, are generally treated as misdemeanors. However, depending on the circumstances, drug possession or trafficking can quickly rise to felony charges.

Sex Offenses

Sexual offenses are defined in ORC Chapter 2907. Almost all sex crimes are treated as felonies due to the violent and sensitive nature of the offense.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes include homicide and assault, kidnapping and extortion, and offenses against the family. Many violent crimes, like homicide and assault, are outlined in ORC Chapter 2903. Kidnapping and extortion are outlined in ORC Chapter 2905. Offenses against the family are outlined in ORC Chapter 2919.

Firearms and Weapons Offenses

Firearms and weapons offenses include the improper handling of a gun or weapon and the improper discharge of a firearm. These types of offenses are listed under ORC Chapter 2923.

Theft and Fraud

Some theft and fraud charges are treated as misdemeanors. However, theft and fraud charges are often based on the value involved and can quickly escalate to a felony offense. Theft and fraud charges are outlined in ORC Chapter 2913, and robbery, burglary, and trespass charges are outlined in ORC Chapter 2911.

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Penalties for Ohio Felony Criminal Convictions 

The consequences of a felony conviction are obviously more severe than that of misdemeanors in the Buckeye State. It’s the prosecution’s responsibility to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charge. That’s why having skilled criminal defense attorneys on your side during the trial portion of your legal battle is crucial. Once a jury delivers a guilty verdict, however, sentencing can vary and is based on the judge’s discretion.

The following are the possible penalties for felony convictions in Ohio.

First-degree Murder

The most serious criminal offense in Ohio, first-degree murder conviction is punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment without the chance of parole.

Second-degree Murder

In Ohio, second-degree murder is punishable by 15 years to life imprisonment. There is a chance of parole with this charge.

First-degree Felony

A first-degree felony conviction is the most serious felony criminal charge in Ohio. A first-degree felony is punishable by 3-11 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.

Second-degree Felony

A second-degree felony conviction is punishable by 2-8 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.

Third-degree Felony

A third-degree felony conviction is punishable by 9 months to 5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Fourth-degree Felony

A fourth-degree felony conviction is punishable by 6-18 months in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

Fifth-degree Felony

A fifth-degree felony conviction is punishable by 6-12 months in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.

Common Consequences of Felony Convictions

While each degree of felony comes with a different penalty, each carries severe consequences. Incarceration and fines are not the only consequences that come with a felony conviction. For example, if convicted of a sex crime in Ohio, you will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years into the future. With a felony conviction, you might also be required to complete probation, counseling, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, or education and work training programs.

The following are other common consequences that come with a felony conviction:

  • Difficulty renting a place to live
  • Difficulty getting and maintaining employment
  • Difficulty gaining college admission
  • Difficulty obtaining professional licenses
  • Loss of child custody or visitation
  • Loss of access to government assistance programs like food stamps or assisted housing
  • Loss of gun ownership rights
  • Loss of voting rights during incarceration
  • Immigration issues
  • Ineligibility to hold public office and government positions
  • Inability to volunteer at schools and youth programs

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Consult With a Cleveland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today 

Felony crimes are very serious and should not be taken lightly. If convicted of a felony, you will experience life-changing consequences that will significantly impact your ability to function in society. If you are currently facing felony charges in Cleveland, OH, it would be in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Don’t leave your future up to chance. Consult with experienced Cleveland criminal defense lawyers before it’s too late. We look forward to hearing from you and representing you in your case.

Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney Near You

Facing felony charges? Worried about what the criminal process will look like? If you are unsure of what to do next and need help navigating Ohio’s criminal law, contact The Botnick Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. Your future is at stake. Call us now to get the help you deserve. An experienced criminal defense law firm can help get you through this complicated ordeal.

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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

Is there a statute of limitations on a felony in Ohio?

In the Buckeye State, the statute of limitations for most felonies is six years. After this time, no charges can be brought against the alleged offender and no convictions can be sought by the prosecution. There are, however, certain felony crimes that have much longer statutes of limitations. For example, many sex crimes—like rape—have statutes of limitations that extend to 20 years or beyond. Homicide has no statute of limitations at all.

Can a felony be reduced to a misdemeanor in Ohio?

There are some criminal cases where the prosecution has agreed to drop felony charges if the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser misdemeanor offense. This is not always an option in all criminal defense cases, but having a good criminal defense attorney that can negotiate such a deal with the prosecutor is beneficial.

What happens at a felony arraignment in Cleveland, OH?

The first court appearance of a person charged with a felony is called their “arraignment.” This hearing has the sole purpose of determining the defendant’s plea – whether it’s guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Make sure to discuss your defense strategy with your team of Cleveland criminal defense lawyers before attending this hearing. This will ensure the plea you enter is in line with your plan of defense.

Ohio Courts System

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