Facing Assault Charges in Ohio? Our Defense Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been charged with assault in Cincinnati, you might be worried. You may be facing jail time and other serious penalties. However, this can be avoided if you secure a dismissal or acquittal – effectively beating the case.
By working with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can better understand your assault case and how to get assault charges dropped or dismissed in Ohio. Call (513) 338-1890 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Cincinnati assault lawyer.
What Is Assault in Ohio?
According to O.R.C. 2903.13, assault is defined as knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another or another’s unborn baby. The physical harm may or may not be “serious” or life-threatening. Any harmful touch may be considered assault.
Ohio law makes assault a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony in certain circumstances. Penalties include:
- Misdemeanor Assault – Up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Felony Assault & Repeat Assault Charges – Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
Other penalties include probation, community service, mandatory anger management classes, and a tarnished reputation.
Defenses to Assault Charges in Hamilton County
There are ways to get an assault case dismissed or dropped. The prosecution has the burden of proving you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not have to prove your innocence. However, there are arguments you can make that poke holes in the state’s assault case and help you avoid a conviction.
1. Target the Elements of the Crime
To convict you of simple assault, the prosecution must prove that you intended to harm another person knowingly or recklessly. If they cannot prove every element of the crime, then you should not be found guilty.
Your assault lawyer can attack the elements of assault. For example, if you accidentally made contact with another person and caused harm, you did not knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally hurt them. Each element can be broken down and targeted individually for the best defense.
2. You Did Not Have the Intent to Harm
Assault is a specific intent crime. That means you must have had the goal of harming another person knowingly or recklessly. If you accidentally hurt someone, you cannot be convicted of assault.
3. You Did Not Actually Harm the Person
Actual harm is an element of assault. So if the other person suffered no harm, then under Ohio’s assault law, you cannot be found guilty of assault.
4. You Acted in Self-Defense
You have a right to defend yourself if someone attacks you. In most cases, you can use as much force as you believe necessary to stop the other person. That means you should not use lethal force if the other person is not likely to cause death or serious injury. However, self-defense is a valid assault defense.
5. You Acted in Defense of Others
Just like you have a right to defend yourself, you can defend others even if it means using force. If your assault charge stemmed from you protecting another person, you might be able to avoid a conviction.
6. You Were Defending Your Property
If someone threatens you, you typically have a duty to retreat before resorting to violence. However, Ohio has a “stand your ground” law that allows you to protect yourself and your property. If someone breaks into your home, you can use force if you are threatened.
7. You Had Consent to Act
Assault involves touching another person. If another person consents to the contact, you are not guilty of assault. This may involve intimate situations, sports, and other circumstances that your attorney can present in your defense.
Avoiding Jail for Assault Is Possible
There are options other than incarceration, even if you are convicted of assault in Ohio. Some ways to avoid jail even if you are convicted of a crime include:
Depending on your prior record and other factors, you may be able to serve time on probation or house arrest for assault. This will keep you out of a correction facility. Although your movement will be restricted, you can avoid incarceration.
If there is considerable evidence against you, you may consider a plea agreement with the prosecutor. You might plead for a conviction for a lesser offense or lower penalties. You can even use a plea agreement to avoid incarceration altogether.
Expungement is available in some assault cases after penalties are imposed. While it cannot keep you from being convicted, it can clear your record and help you get a fresh start.
If You’re Arrested for Assault in Ohio, Here’s What Not to Do
If you are arrested and charged with assault in Ohio, certain actions will harm your case. You should never:
- Talk to the police without an attorney
- Post on social media about the situation
- Try to talk to the alleged “victim.”
- Talk to other people about your case
- Destroy evidence
As with any criminal charge, the prosecutor must prove that you committed the assault. But, any further actions you take can also be used against you.
The Importance of an Assault Lawyer
By working with an experienced defense attorney, you can develop a solid defense against assault charges. By reviewing the prosecution’s evidence and collecting as much evidence as possible, you can target weak elements of the case and cast doubt on the other side’s version of events.
Your attorney can also protect your rights and that you are not taken advantage of in a harsh legal system. It is common for the police and prosecution to try to get defendants to admit to actions by making false statements. It’s not even illegal for them to do this. Your attorney can ensure you don’t make any such missteps.
Luftman, Heck & Associates Creates Strategic Defenses
Whether you didn’t take part in the assault or your actions took place because of self-defense, the attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates are here to develop the best possible defense so you can beat the assault charge and move on with life.