Violent crimes are some of the most serious charges in Ohio. Generally, these crimes involve injury/death or the threat of harm to others. Prosecutors fight hard to secure a conviction and ensure that the harshest possible punishments are applied. A conviction carries heavy penalties such as lengthy prison sentences, steep fines, and even the death penalty in the most serious violent crime cases.
Besides severe criminal penalties, a conviction for a serious felony offense can lead to the loss of a number of important civil rights. Having a criminal record has life-altering consequences, including limited future employment, housing, and educational opportunities. It also affects your ability to qualify for certain types of government aid or assistance.
If you are loved one has been charged with a violent crime in Toledo, you need to get the best legal representation you can as soon as possible. An experienced Toledo violent crimes lawyer gives you the best chance of proving your innocence, having your case dismissed, or minimizing the severity of the potential consequences.
At Patituce Law, we have over 7 decades of combined experience. Our Toledo criminal defense attorneys fight for the rights of people accused of violent crimes. We have the resources and connections to put up the best defense for you.
Call us today at 419-737-4556 to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Types of Crimes Are Considered to Be Violent Crimes?
A violent crime is any crime in which the offender uses, attempts to use, or threatens to use physical force against another individual. The state of Ohio recognizes a number of offenses as violent crimes.
Assault and Battery
Under Ohio criminal law, assault refers to the act of causing or attempting to cause harm to another individual. The law defines battery as the act of causing offensive bodily contact, intentionally or negligently.
There are four types of assault and battery charges.
Assault occurs when a person intentionally causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another person or a person’s unborn child. This crime is generally classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.
You can be charged with negligent assault for causing physical harm to another person or another person’s unborn child through the negligent use of a deadly weapon. Negligent assault is classified as a third-degree misdemeanor.
A felony assault occurs when a person causes or attempts to cause harm to another person or another person’s unborn with a deadly weapon. This is the most serious type of assault. Felony assault can be charged as a first-degree felony or second-degree felony.
An aggravated assault charge arises when a person (i) causes serious physical harm to another or another person’s unborn, (ii) causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another person or another person’s unborn with a deadly weapon; all while in a fit of rage or in the heat of passion after being provoked by the victim.
Aggravated assault is typically charged as a fourth-degree felony. However, it can be upgraded to a second-degree felony if the assault was against a police officer.
The unjustified taking of another person’s life is considered the most serious offense and carries the harshest penalties.
Ohio law defines murder as the act of purposefully taking another person’s life. Murder also includes causing the death of another person while committing or attempting to commit a violent crime that is a first or second-degree felony.
Under Ohio law, aggravated murder is the most serious type of crime. Here are the circumstances that lead to an aggravated murder charge:
- Purposefully killing someone with malicious aforethought;
- Purposefully killing an individual below the age of 13 years;
- Purposefully killing a police officer;
- Purposefully killing another while in prison or while escaping prison;
- Causing the death of another while committing certain felonies.
The state of Ohio classifies sexual assault into two categories: Rape and sexual battery.
Rape is the act of obtaining sex without the consent of the victim or by way of force, the threat of force, coercion, or intimidation.
Sexual battery involves offensive sexual conduct with another person in circumstances that inhibit the victim’s ability to give consent. These circumstances give the offender an unjust and unfair advantage over the victim.
Rape is classified as a first-degree felony while sexual battery can be charged as a third or second-degree felony.
A domestic violence charge arises when a person:
- Recklessly or knowingly cause physical harm to a family member or household member.
- Threatens physical harm to a family member or household member, making the said person fear an imminent physical attack.
Victims in an Ohio domestic abuse case can include current and former spouses, romantic partners, children, parents, foster parents, members of the extended family, and even the family members of spouses, former spouses, or partners.
Domestic violence involving harm to the victim is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. However, in the presence of prior convictions or if the victim was pregnant and the offender was aware of this, it can be charged as a 3rd, 4th, or 5th-degree felony.
Domestic violence involving the use of threats is charged as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. It can also be charged as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree misdemeanor depending on the number of previous convictions and if the victim was pregnant and the offender knew.
Ohio state law defines voluntary manslaughter as the act of knowingly causing the death of someone or their unborn child, while in a sudden fit of rage or a sudden passion caused by provocation by the victim. The provocation was adequate enough to incite an average person into using deadly force.
Voluntary manslaughter is charged as a first-degree felony.
Under Ohio state law, involuntary manslaughter is defined as the act of unintentionally causing the death of a person or their unborn while:
- Committing or attempting to commit a misdemeanor;
- Committing or attempting to commit a felony;
- Involuntary manslaughter is charged as a first-degree felony if committed while committing a felony; It is charged as a third-degree felony if committed while committing a misdemeanor.
Ohio state law defines vehicular manslaughter as the act of unintentionally causing the death of a person or their unborn child while operating a vehicle while committing a traffic violation that is a misdemeanor.
Vehicular manslaughter is typically classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.
What Are the Penalties for Violent Crimes in Ohio?
Convictions for violent crimes in Ohio carry harsh penalties, even a misdemeanor violent crime conviction can result in prison time and a hefty fee. The severity of the punishment varies based on the degree of the offense, the victim, and the presence and number of previous convictions.
Here are the penalties for violent crimes as listed in the Ohio Revised Code.
A conviction for a first-degree violent crime misdemeanor carries a maximum jail term of 6 months and a fine not exceeding $1,000. Violent crimes that fall into this category are simple assault, domestic violence involving harm to the victim (first offense), domestic violence involving the use of threats with previous convictions, and vehicular manslaughter.
A conviction for a fifth-degree violent crime felony carries a prison sentence ranging from 6 months to one year and a fine not exceeding $2,500. Violent crimes that fall into this category include domestic violence involving harm with a prior conviction.
A conviction for a fourth-degree violent crime felony carries a prison sentence ranging from 6-18 months and a fine not exceeding $5,000. Violent crimes that fall into this category include aggravated assault, and domestic violence involving harm (based on the number of previous convictions).
A conviction for a third-degree violent crime felony will result in a one-year to a five-year prison sentence and a fine not exceeding $10,000. Crimes in this category include sexual battery (based on the circumstances), and involuntary manslaughter committed while committing a misdemeanor.
A conviction for a second-degree violent crime felony carries a prison sentence ranging from 2-8 years and a fine not exceeding $15,000. Crimes in this category include sexual battery (based on the circumstances), felony assault, and aggravated assault against a police officer.
A conviction for a first-degree violent crime felony carries a three- to ten-year prison sentence, and a fine not exceeding $20,000.
A person convicted of murder faces a prison sentence ranging from 15 years to life in prison, and a maximum fine of $25,000. If the murder was sexually motivated or involved a victim below 13 years, the minimum prison sentence increases to 30 years.
The penalties for aggravated murder are life in prison or death.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Arrested for a Violent Crime?
If you’ve been arrested on the suspicion of committing a violent crime, there are a number of things you need to do to protect your rights and give you the best chances of securing your freedom.
Exercise Your Miranda Rights
The Fifth Amendment guarantees your right to remain silent while being questioned by the police or prosecution. The last thing you want is to mistakenly say something that may end up putting you behind bars. Politely decline to answer any questions relating to the crime or make any statements to the police until your attorney is there.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
Get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as you are put under police custody. Getting an attorney involved early can make all the difference in your case.
Take Notes of the Events Surrounding Your Arrest
Write down everything you can recall about your arrest as soon as you find an opportunity to. This can help your attorney to identify any violations and infringements that can be used to dismiss your case.
Why Should I Hire a Violent Crime Defense Lawyer?
Being charged with a violent crime is a very serious legal matter that should be treated with urgency and outstanding legal expertise. Hiring an experienced violent crime defense attorney is your best and only chance at securing the best outcome for your case, whether it is a complete dismissal of your case, proving your innocence, or substantially reducing the severity of penalties.
An experienced Toledo violent crimes lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the law and keen attention to detail. This allows them to easily spot inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case, violations of the law and your rights, and other weaknesses to attack.
An attorney will also guide you throughout the process, teaching you what to do and say and what not to do and say. This helps you to avoid simple mistakes that may have a detrimental effect on your case.
An attorney will also help to negotiate a favorable plea deal for you to ensure that you get the minimum punishment.
All in all, there is a lot that an attorney can do for your case, from your arrest to your trial that will heavily influence the outcome of your case, in the best way possible.
An Experienced Toledo Violent Crimes Lawyer Can Help!
A violent crime charge carries severe legal penalties including some of the lengthiest prison sentences and heftiest fines. This is all in addition to the loss of key civil rights and major consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Even after completing your criminal penalties, redeeming yourself in the public’s eye is very difficult. Finding ideal employment and/or housing will be a major hassle. A conviction can also limit your educational opportunities if you are a student.
Your best chance of beating your case and avoiding all these negatives lies with hiring a skilled and experienced Toledo violent crimes lawyer. At Patituce & Associates, we have a team of highly skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have decades of experience fighting for the rights of people accused of violent crimes.
We have a proven track record of getting cases dismissed and helping our clients successfully their innocence and freedom. Depending on the circumstances of the cases, we can also help secure the lowest level of punishment to help you get back to your life faster and with little to no damage.