There are two categories of crimes and within those categories different sub categories. The sub-categories determine the seriousness and penalties for the crimes in the state of Ohio. The two categories are Felonies and Misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors are the least serious of the crimes in Ohio. However, that does not mean if you are charged with a misdemeanor that you can ignore it or not use an attorney. Misdemeanors carry serious penalties. Upon conviction most misdemeanors have a varying degree of jail time, fines and court costs. You can also be put on probation for the conviction of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are divided into degrees. Felonies are more serious crimes and have more serious penalties.
The GENERAL PENALTIES for Misdemeanors are:
The general penalties for Felonies are:
Sex crimes are crimes which have an additional penalty in that most of them have a requirement that for a particular crime there is a registration period in which the defendant must register with the Sheriff where he lives and he works as a sex offender. For the worst sex crimes this may be a requirement that one register every 90 days for life. Being charged with this type of crime definitely requires competent counsel. These crimes include, among others, rape, sexual battery, sexual imposition, importuning, and prostitution offense to name a few. If you are charged with a sex crime, whether or not listed here, you need an attorney. The consequences of a conviction may be devastating to your future. Do not talk to the police without an attorney. Contact me right away.
Domestic violence is a crime involving family. It is an assault or threat against a family or household member. Family member generally refers to family as we would us it in everyday language; i.e. parents, mother, father and children. Household member means: someone who resides with the defendant (person charged with the crime); a spouse or former spouse; a person living as a spouse; a foster parent, a natural parent. This list is not all inclusive but covers the majority of the definitions.
This particular crime has escalation clause which may make a conviction after a 1st conviction a more serious crime, up to and including a 4th degree felony. Additionally, the alleged victim may file a petition in Domestic Relations Court for a Civil Protection Order (CPO).
A CPO is an order of the Court which may order the alleged attacking household member or family member to stay away from the party who is complaining that they were threatened or assaulted. This may include your children. The process starts with the complaining party going to the Domestic Relations Court and filing a Petition for a CPO. After the petition is complete there will be a brief ex party hearing regarding the allegations in the petition. An ex party hearing means that the person who is being accused is not at the hearing only the magistrate and the complaining witness are at the hearing. If the magistrate believes that a CPO should be filed he or she signs an order which may exclude you from the house, from owning firearms and from seeing your children. The order will be served on you usually by a Deputy from the Sheriffs Office. That CPO will have information on it which tells you when there is a full hearing on the CPO at which you are to be there and your attorney. Because of the grave consequences of this type of order you should have an attorney present. Remember this type of order can keep you from seeing your children for up to 5 years. Obviously, you should have an attorney to protect your rights. If you get served with one of these orders you should contact me immediately so that I may help you protect your rights. This is especially important because some people use this important order to raise false claims to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody proceeding.
Assault occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly causes harm to another person. How badly the person is hurt and whether a weapon was used may determine the severity of the consequence. The level of the crime, felony or misdemeanor depends on the victims injuries.
Robbery is the use or threat of the use of force in committing a theft offense. If a weapon is used the charge is usually Aggravated Robbery. This is a serious crime. Aggravated Robbery is a 1st degree felony. If no weapon was used then the robbery is simple called a robbery and is a 2nd or 3rd degree felony depending on the facts.
Burglary is generally a crime against the property of another in that a person enters a building without permission. If a weapon was used the crime is called Aggravated Burglary, 1st Degree felony. If no weapon was used then the Burglary is usually a 4th Degree Felony. The preceding crimes are situations where the structure (usually a house) is occupied or likely to be occupied. If the building is not occupied the crime usually is "breaking and entering" a 5th Degree Felony. A crime also related to the burglary family is trespass which is a 4th Degree Misdemeanor. These are the basic crimes regarding burglary. There are some others; however, if you are charged with any of these crimes you should contact me as you need an attorney.
Theft offenses are what the layman would call stealing. There are different kinds of theft offenses in addition to "theft." The severity of the punishment depends on the section of the Ohio Revised Code violated and the value of the items stolen. Criminal Damaging is essentially destroying the property of any other by any means. If a person is injured or could be injured criminal damaging has a more severe punishment. Generally, it is a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor. This crime has punishments depending on the facts of up to a Felony of the 4th Degree.