If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Columbus, Ohio, you need to be aware of whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony and the degree of the offense you are alleged to have committed. It is essential you know whether you face a third-degree or other level misdemeanor versus any felony. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, and they lead to much harsher penalties.
The best way to learn more about the level of the charges against you and the potential consequences is to contact our Columbus felony defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates. We have years of experience as Columbus criminal defense lawyers, and we are prepared to help you. Contact us today at 614-500-3836, or reach out via our online form to schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case.
What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors and felonies differ in the level of the offense you alleged committed. Misdemeanors are lower-level charges. They are considered less serious crimes than felonies. Therefore, they are punished less harshly. In Ohio, misdemeanors are typically punished with fewer than 180 days in jail. They also tend to have fewer or less significant collateral consequences.
Felonies are the more serious offenses. They tend to be harshly punished. Felony convictions lead to months or years in prison. They also have significant, long-term consequences. For example, if you are convicted of a felony, you lose your right to possess any firearms for the rest of your life. Other penalties stem from social stigmas. You may find it very difficult to find and maintain a job with a felony on your record.
Common First-Time Felony Offenses
Some of the most common felony offenses we handle include:
Your DUI charge can be a felony if it is your fourth drunk driving offense within the past 10 years, your fifth DUI within 20 years, or you have previously been charged with a felony. When you are facing a felony-level OVI with multiple previous convictions, call a felony DUI attorney right away.
The degree of the charge against you for theft or fraud typically depends on the value of property or services you unlawfully obtained. If you acquired tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of property or services, or if you victimized an elderly or disabled person, then you are likely to face felony charges. Contact our Columbus felony defense attorneys to learn more about situations in which you may face charges for this offense.
Ohio harshly punishes possession, manufacturing, and trafficking of controlled substances. Possession of even small quantities of certain drugs, is considered a felony. Additionally, trafficking is always a felony, no matter the type of drug involved.
Robbery, Burglary, or Trespassing
If you commit a crime against another person and their property, you may face a felony charge, depending on the circumstances.
You can face a felony offense for carrying concealed weapons without a permit, improperly handling a gun in a car, or possessing criminal tools.
If you face accusations of kidnapping an adult or child, you will face a high-level felony. Abduction is also a felony, though it is typically a lower level than kidnapping.
If you are accused of committing arson against an occupied building or arson that resulted in serious physical harm to a person, then you will face felony charges.
While felony DUIs typically occur because you have previous convictions, you can be charged with other felonies without having a criminal record. Many crimes can lead to a first-time felony offense. Whether or not you have a criminal record as you face this felony, you need the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Columbus felony defense attorneys from Luftman, Heck & Associates to learn more about your legal options moving forward.
Ohio Felony Penalties
If you face felony charges, you need to be aware of the potential punishment you might incur if you’re convicted. There are five degrees of felonies in Ohio, in addition to capital offenses. Ohio law defines the minimum and maximum penalties for each degree of felony. Additionally, certain crimes have specific potential penalties outlined under the law.
- Capital Offense (Aggravated Murder) – Up to life in prison with or without parole, fines reaching $25,000, or a potential death penalty sentence
- Murder – Between 15 years and life in prison, and fines of up to $15,000
- First-Degree Felony – Between three and 11 years in prison, and fines reaching $20,000
- Second-Degree Felony – Between two and eight years in prison, and up to $15,000 in fines
- Third-Degree Felony – Between one and five years in prison, or nine to 36 months in prison, and fines reaching $10,000
- Fourth-Degree Felony – Between six and 18 months in prison and fines reaching $5,000
- Fifth-Degree Felony – Between six and 12 months in prison and fines up to $2,500
To learn more about the possible punishment you face for a first-time felony conviction, call the Columbus felony defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates right away.
The Ohio Felony Sentencing Chart
Although there are minimum and maximum penalties for each level of felony, these are not the only guidelines for your potential punishment. If you are convicted of a felony, then the judge will refer to the Ohio Felony Sentencing Table to determine an appropriate term of imprisonment. In this table, the judge must take into consideration whether you are a first-time offender or a repeat violent offender, which calls for a sentence enhancement.
Additionally, when you face a lower-level felony, the judge must consider 11 factors in determining whether you should receive a lower or higher sentence within the minimum and maximum boundaries. These 11 factors include, but are not limited to:
- Your offense involved physical harm to a person.
- You attempted or actually threatened physical harm to a person with a deadly weapon.
- You attempted or actually threatened the use of physical harm to a person, and you have a prior conviction for causing harm.
- The offense was for-hire or part of organized crime.
- The offense was a sex crime.
- You served a previous prison term, or you were in prison at the time of the offense.
- The offense was committed while you were under community control or out of jail on bail or bond.
- You committed the offense while possessing a gun.
To learn more about sentencing for felony crimes in Ohio, contact our Columbus felony defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates.
Federal Felony Charges
If you are charged with a federal offense, your offense will be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. Under federal sentencing laws, a felony is technically any crime that can be punished with one year or more of imprisonment or death.
The degrees of federal felonies and their potential sentences are:
- Class A Felony – Life imprisonment or death
- Class B Felony – 25 years’ imprisonment or more
- Class C Felony – Between 10 and 25 years in prison
- Class D Felony – Between five and 10years in prison
- Class E Felony – Between one and five years in prison
Let Our Columbus Felony Defense Attorneys Help You
If you have been charged with a crime in Ohio, or if you are being investigated for what might be a felony (or federal felony) offense, contact the criminal defense attorneys from Luftman, Heck & Associates right away. We will immediately begin to investigate your case, analyze the available evidence, and search for additional evidence. Then, we will discuss with you the various options, including negotiating a plea bargain or fighting the charges at trial.