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Cincinnati Felony Defense Attorney
Being charged with a felony offense in Ohio is incredibly difficult to face. Felonies are punishable with years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines. There is nothing quite as terrifying as realizing that prosecutors are charging you with a felony. The possibility of losing your freedom, as well as the long-term effects of a felony conviction on your criminal record, can be overwhelming. Your first step should be to get a Cincinnati felony defense attorney on your side so you can determine what your next steps are with the advice of an advocate.
If you have been charged with a felony, you will face aggressive prosecutors who may be prone to overcharge and overstep their boundaries. You do not have to face them by yourself. Our experienced Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates will fight for your rights and ensure that every avenue of defense is explored. Having an attorney as early as possible in the process is crucial for an effective defense, so contact us today at (513) 338-1890.
Levels of Crimes in Ohio
Ohio has several levels of crime. The broad categories are infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are the lowest levels and they do not result in criminal convictions. Infractions are technically actions that are against the law, however, they result in tickets and fines. You do not go to jail or prison for an infraction. One of the most common infractions is speeding.
Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions, yet they are less serious crimes than felonies. Many offenses are misdemeanors as long as there are no aggravating factors in your case. Ohio has five degrees of misdemeanors. The lowest, a minor misdemeanor, does not result in jail time, only fines. The highest, a first-degree misdemeanor, can lead to up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.
Felony charges are the most serious crimes and result in the harshest punishments. There are five degrees of felonies, from fifth to first degree. A fifth-degree felony is the least serious, while a first-degree felony is one of the most serious crimes you can be accused of. There are also unclassified felonies, which are the highest-level crimes you can be charged with in Ohio. If you are accused of murder, you will be charged with an unclassified felony.
Ohio’s Felony Degrees & Penalties
If you are charged with a felony, there are always minimum and maximum penalties you may face depending on the degree:
- Unclassified Felonies: Murder and aggravated murder are Ohio’s only two unclassified felonies. Murder is punishable by between 15 years and life in prison. Aggravated murder is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. When a prosecutor can seek the death penalty for a crime, it is known as a capital offense.
- First-Degree Felonies: Many violent and sex crimes are charged as first-degree felonies, including voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, and trafficking large quantities of drugs. If convicted, you can be punished with between three and 11 years in prison and fined up to $20,000.
- Second-Degree Felonies: This degree of felonies includes many violent crimes, some sex crimes, and many drug offenses, including abduction, illegally manufacturing explosives, selling bulk amounts of drugs to minors, and soliciting sex when HIV positive. You can be sentenced to prison for two to eight years and fined up to $15,000.
- Third-Degree Felonies: Certain violent, drug, and property crimes are third-degree felonies. You may be forced to spend between nine months and five years in prison and pay fines reaching $10,000.
- Fourth-Degree Felonies: This degree of felonies includes unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor, vehicular assault, and grand theft auto. If convicted of a fourth-degree felony, you may spend between six and 18 months in prison and fined up to $5,000.
- Fifth-Degree Felonies: This is the lowest degree of felony crimes and includes simple possession of Schedule I and II drugs, illegal gambling, and breaking and entering. These crimes can be punished with between six and 12 months in prison and $2,500 in fines.
Additional Potential Penalties for Felonies
There are certain additional sanctions that the court may impose upon conviction of a felony, depending on what the law will permit. These sanctions may include:
- Residential sanctions in community-based correctional facilities, halfway houses, or alternative residential facilities for qualifying offenses. During residential sanctions, you are not housed in a prison or jail. You live in another type of facility and your freedom is heavily restricted.
- Non-residential sanctions such as probation, community service, drug and alcohol monitoring and treatment, victim-offender mediation, counseling, and sex offender registration.
- Financial sanctions such as restitution and reimbursement of costs.
Consequences of Felony Convictions
If you are convicted of a felony, you will have to deal with more than a term of imprisonment and fines. Once you are released from prison, you may have to abide by the rules of probation for months or years. During probation, it is essential you do not violate the law or a term of the probation. Otherwise, you may find yourself back in court and harshly punished.
Convicted felons are not allowed to own or possess firearms. If you are found with a gun in your possession, whether it is on your person, in your vehicle, or in your home, then you will be charged with a new crime. You may be sent back to prison for possessing any type of firearm.
Felony charges will also impact your education and career. If you are interested in furthering your education after your conviction, you will have to acknowledge your criminal record. While school officials should not discriminate against you based on a felony conviction, it could result in your being denied admittance to a college or university. It could also make it difficult to obtain financial aid once you are enrolled.
In most situations, a conviction results in your losing your job. Then, once you are released from prison, you may have a difficult time finding a new position. Certain felony convictions make you ineligible for certain positions. Employers could also feel that the conviction makes you an inappropriate candidate. They may also simply not give you a chance once they learn you have a felony on your record.
When you are facing felony charges in the Cincinnati area, the best thing you can do for yourself is to call an Ohio felony defense attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates.
Felony Charges we Handle at Luftman, Heck & Associates
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we are here to represent you when facing charges of:
- Felony Arson: If you destroyed property with more than $1,000, you can be charged with a fourth-degree felony. Certain other types of destruction of property by arson are third-degree felonies.
- Aggravated Arson: If you are accused of committing arson of an inhabited or occupied building, you may face a second- or first-degree felony.
- Felony Vandalism: Knowingly damaging, defacing, or destroying property can be charged as fifth-, fourth-, or third-degree felony.
- Felony Damaging or Endangering: If you create a substantial risk of harm to another person’s property and to any other person, you could face a fifth- or fourth-degree felony.
- Felony Criminal Mischief: Criminal mischief is often charged as a misdemeanor. However, in more serious circumstances, you may face a fourth- or third-degree felony.
- Felony Assault and Aggravated Assault: If you are accused of hurting certain individuals or anyone to a significant degree, you may face between a fifth- and third-degree felony charge.
- Felony Child Abuse: A second or subsequent conviction of child abuse is charged as a fourth-degree felony.
- Felony Domestic Violence: Many crimes are deemed domestic violence when they occur between individuals with current or previous romantic, sexual, or familial relationships. Depending on the severity of the underlying offense, you may face a felony for domestic abuse.
- Felony Violation of a Protection Order: If you are convicted of violating a protection order for a second or subsequent time, or if you violated the order while committing another felony, you will be charged with a fifth-degree or third-degree felony.
- Felony Drug Possession: Depending on the amount and type of controlled substance allegedly in your possession, even marijuana, you may be charged with a felony.
- Drug Possession With Intent to Sell or Distribute: If you are found with a large quantity of drugs, you may be charged with the intent to sell or distribute, which is a felony.
- Drug Trafficking: Trafficking controlled substances within the state, into Ohio, or out of Ohio is a felony.
- Drug Manufacturing: Cultivating, manufacturing, or any way creating or producing controlled substances is a felony. You may be charged with a third-, second-, or first-degree felony depending on the type and amount of the drug.
- Felony DUI Charges: If you are currently facing your fourth or an additional OVI, then you will be charged with a felony DUI in Ohio. Depending on the circumstances, you may face a third- or fourth-degree felony.
- Kidnapping: Kidnapping is typically a first-degree felony, though you may face a second-degree felony if the alleged victim is unharmed.
- Abduction: This offense is typically charged as a third-degree felony. However, you could also face a second-degree felony charge.
- Manslaughter: If you are accused of voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter during the commission of a crime, you will be charged with a felony.
- Felony Vehicular Homicide: Aggravated vehicular homicide and certain other vehicular manslaughter offenses are charged as felonies.
- Felony Homicide: Reckless homicide is a third-degree felony.
- Felony Public Indecency: Many public indecency cases are charged as misdemeanors. However, if the allegations against you are serious, repeated, or involve minors, then you will face a felony.
- Felony Resisting Arrest: If you resist arrest with the use of a weapon and a police officer is injured, you will be charged with a felony.
- Felony Pandering Obscenity: It is illegal to create, promote, or distribute erotica or pornography for commercial purposes. If you do, you may be charged with a fifth- or fourth-degree felony. If the offense involves minors, you may face a second-degree felony.
- Robbery: If you are accused of taking another person’s property from their possession and without consent, you may face a third- or second-degree felony.
- Burglary: Entering or remaining in a person’s home or a business with the intent to commit a felony is illegal. Burglary can be charged with a fourth- and first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.
- Grand Theft: You may be charged with a felony if you are accused of stealing property worth more than $75,000, or if the property is a firearm, vehicle, dangerous weapon, or artillery. This is typically a fourth-degree felony.
- Felony Forgery: Forging a document or a signature could result in felony charges, the degree of which depends on the value of the money or property you obtained.
- Felony Fraud: Most types of fraud, including embezzlement, extortion, and identity theft, are routinely charged as felonies.
- Rape: If you are accused of rape, you will face a first-degree felony.
- Sexual Battery: If you are accused of sexually assaulting and harming someone, you will face a third- or second-degree felony.
- Felony Gross Sexual Imposition: If you are accused of gross sexual imposition with a minor under the age of 13 years old, you will be charged with a third-degree felony.
- Sex Offenses Against Minors: Most sex crimes committed against minors are charged as felonies and harshly punished.
- Felony Prostitution: You may be charged with a felony if you promote or solicit prostitution. If your case involves a minor, you may be charged with a second- or first-degree felony.
- Felony Hit and Run: If you were part of an accident that resulted in someone being seriously hurt or killed and you failed to stop, then you may be charged with a fifth-degree or third-degree felony.
- Felony Fleeing and Eluding: If you attempt to flee from the police in your car after committing a felony, or if you cause someone serious harm while fleeing, you will be charged with a fourth- or third-degree felony.
- Having Weapons While Under Disability: If you are caught with a gun or dangerous weapon when you are not lawfully entitled to possess that weapon, you will be charged with a third-degree felony.
- Felony Unlawful Concealed Carry: If you are facing a second or subsequent charge for carrying a concealed weapon illegally, you will face a felony charge.
- Felony Possession of Criminal Tools: If you possess items, substances, or devices you intend to use to commit a felony, you will be charged with a fifth-degree felony.
Talk to an Experienced Cincinnati Felony Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a felony, your situation may seem daunting. Navigating the maze of laws and procedures involved in felony prosecutions is the last thing on your mind when you are already anxious about the possibility of being convicted and imprisoned. It is an incredibly vulnerable time, and you need a Cincinnati felony defense attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected at all times.
Attorney Brad Groene at Luftman, Heck & Associates has years of experience defending people in Cincinnati against criminal charges, including negotiating with prosecutors, challenging police and prosecutorial overreach, and defending cases in trial.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at (513) 338-1890 for a free initial consultation on your case.