Facing Felony charges in Cleveland?

Felony charges are nothing to mess around with. If convicted of a felony, your life and future options will be significantly impacted. If you are currently facing felony criminal charges in Ohio, the most important step you can take is to consult with a Cleveland felony lawyer today. Hiring the right criminal defense attorney will greatly help you navigate these charges and increase your chances of avoiding a felony conviction. 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 are misdemeanors. While not as serious as a felony conviction, misdemeanor charges still come with severe consequences, including jail time and fines.

The following are common felony charges:


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 Convictions 

The following are the various severity and penalties of 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 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 Felony Lawyer Today 

Felony charges 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 Ohio, 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 an experienced Cleveland felony lawyer today. We look forward to hearing from you and representing you in your case.

Contact us for a free case evaluation today.


Cleveland, Ohio Felony 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 laws, 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 Cleveland felony lawyer can help get you through this.

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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

Does a felony ruin your life?

No, a felony does not have to ruin your life. While there are severe penalties and repercussions involved when someone is convicted of a felony, it is still possible to move on after a felony conviction. In order to have the best possible outcome in your felony case, you should reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you know you are being investigated or once felony charges have been filed against you.

What is the most common felony?

Some of the most common felonies in Ohio include:

Do employers ask about felonies?

Many employers will ask about your criminal record during the hiring process. In most cases, they are focused primarily on felonies. Different employers will be looking for different things on your background check, depending on the position for which you are applying. For example, a felony conviction for fraud charges would likely prohibit someone from having a career in the financial industry.

Ohio Courts System

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.

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