Is domestic violence a felony charge in the state of Ohio? The answer is complicated and depends on the specific details of the case in question.
If you are facing a domestic violence charge in Ohio, you need to understand how the courts look at the case in order to determine the severity of the charge and the accompanying sentencing if you are found guilty. In Ohio, some domestic violence charges carry mandatory sentencing requirements, and the way that the case is classified can have a lasting impact on your life.
Here’s what you need to know.
Generally speaking, crimes fall into one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are considered the more serious of the two. Misdemeanors are typically reserved for crimes that have a less-severe or lasting impact on victims.
Within these two categorizations, there are different severity levels. These are sometimes called “classes.” Typically labeled with letters, the more severe a crime is considered, the closer it is to the beginning of the alphabet. A Class C Misdemeanor, therefore, is less serious than a Class A Misdemeanor and will typically carry a shorter or less severe sentence.
In Ohio, these distinctions are called “degrees.” In that case, they are typically ordered numerically with anything in the “First Degree” being the most serious while charges in the “Fourth Degree” are less serious.
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is an important one. Some crimes carry both potential felony and misdemeanor charges, but the way that the case is classified can have a major impact on a defendant who is found or pleads guilty. The most obvious difference is that felonies often come with harsher penalties—longer incarceration periods and steeper fines. Another important distinction is that felonies will usually become part of the defendant’s permanent record. Having a prior felony conviction can make it difficult to get hired at some jobs or even apply for housing.
In the State of Ohio, prosecutors have the flexibility to bring a range of domestic violence charges based on the severity of the crime. This range includes both felony and misdemeanor charges. While that might not seem like a clear answer, there are some clear guidelines about how the determination is made.
As stated in Ohio Revised Code §2919.25, the following domestic violence charges are considered misdemeanors:
The same legal code allows for the following domestic violence incidents to be charged as felonies:
In the State of Ohio, some domestic violence charges carry mandatory sentencing guidelines. Those whose charges have been escalated to felonies because of prior offenses or because the victim was pregnant will face increased penalties under the law.
Mandatory minimum prison charges can range from six to 12 months, with a minimum of six months sentenced if the accused knew the victim was pregnant and 12 months sentenced if harm was caused to the fetus.
It’s incredibly important that anyone facing a domestic violence charge seek the guidance of an experienced Ohio domestic violence attorney who can help navigate the details of the case. In Ohio, domestic violence is a serious offense that can carry substantial prison sentences and a long-lasting felony conviction. There are many options to strengthen your defense in order to have your charges potentially reduced or even dropped, so contact us today for a free and confidential case review.