Every assault is different. Some cases involve reacting under duress, others involve a momentary loss of self-control, others involve an accident, and others involve self-defense or acting out of necessity. Most times, assault allegations are based on an injury and statement of one other person only telling one side of the story. Sometimes that story includes false, exaggerated, or inconsistent claims. There are always two sides to a story. Make sure your side is heard by an attorney strong enough to represent your interests.
Assault is defined as the act of recklessly or knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. Most times it is charged as a 1st degree misdemeanor.
When is assault a felony?
Assault is a felony in Ohio if there is serious physical harm or if a deadly weapon is used. Assault is also considered a felony when it is committed on people such as police officers, medics, or corrections officers.
Simply being charged with a misdemeanor or felony assault can result in a high bonds, loss of a job, or jail time. If convicted, the penalties include imprisonment, fines, probation, court-ordered counseling, and restitution. A conviction is also difficult to get expunged. This means it can have a potential impact on employment, military service, professional licensing, firearm ownership, and securing a place to live.
Types of Assault in Ohio
There are a number of different assault charges in section 2903 of the Ohio Revised Code, including:
- Felonious Assault (F2) - R.C. 2903.11 - knowingly causing serious physical harm; causing or attempting to cause harm with a deadly weapon; engaging in sex with another person when you are HIV positive and they are unaware of or unable to comprehend your status; knowingly causing physical harm to a police officer. The penalties for this offense include up to 8 years in prison, up to $15,000 fine, and up to 5 years probation.
- Aggravated Assault (F3 or F4) - R.C. 2903.12 - knowingly causing serious physical harm; or "while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage… knowingly causing serious physical harm to another or causing physical harm to another…by means of a deadly weapon."
- Assault (M1) - R.C. 2903.13 - knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm or recklessly causing or attempting to cause harm to another person or unborn child. The penalties for this offense include up to 180 days in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, and up to 5 years probation.
- Vehicular Assault (M1) - R.C. 2903.08 - causing serious physical harm to another person while recklessly operating a motor vehicle. This can be charged as aggravated vehicular assault (F3) in a few circumstances, including if defendant has previously been convicted of a violation in this section.
- Negligent Assault (M3) - R.C. 2903.14 - negligently causing physical to another person by means of a deadly weapon or firearm. The penalties for this offense include up to 60 days in jail, up to $500 fine, and up to 5 years probation.
Because of the potential impact on your life, it is common to get overwhelmed when charged with assault. This is why it is especially important to understand the importance of a skilled criminal defense attorney in this situation. Makridis Law Firm will request and review each and every detail of your case (including police reports, witness statements, medical records, 911 calls, etc.) and spot each and every potential weakness / shortcoming. From there, we will craft a strategy aimed at achieving the best possible outcome, whether that means reducing the charge to something less serious or even getting the case dismissed.
The following are examples of defenses that can be used in certain assault cases:
The police violated your rights - You have constitutional rights when being searched and seized by the police. If your rights were violated or if the police wrongfully gathered evidence against you, that evidence can be excluded from trial, which, in turn, can lead to a reduction or dismissal of the assault charge.
Mistaken Identity – Many cases of assault are the result of a chaotic event, and the police sometimes detain, arrest, and charge the wrong person.
Self-defense or Defense of others – If you acted to protect yourself or someone else from being harmed by another person, then your assault charge could be dismissed.
Intent cannot be proven – If you are charged with intentionally assaulting someone, but it can’t be prove that your actions were not an accident, your assault charge could be reduced or even dismissed.
Lack of an element of the offense - The police and prosecution have to prove each and every element of the offense in order to be convicted. If they are not able to do this at trial, you cannot be found guilty.
Most people do not expect to ever be charged with assault. If you find yourself in that situation, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights. We at Makridis Law Firm will make sure you are treated fairly and not wrongly accused or punished. We will review the evidence, investigate thoroughly, explore all legal defenses, and negotiate a fair resolution to the case.