Criminal Penalties in Ohio
Misdemeanors are considered as less serious offenses in the United States. In Ohio, misdemeanors can be classified into five categories: first degree, second degree, third degree, fourth degree, and minor misdemeanors. First degree misdemeanors are the most serious while minor misdemeanors are the least serious offenses. Some examples of misdemeanors include petty theft, carrying a gun without a permit, loitering for the purpose of prostitution, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, and reckless driving.
Penalties for Misdemeanors
- First Degree Misdemeanors: First-degree misdemeanors are punishable with a prison sentence of up to 180 days, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.
- Second Degree Misdemeanors: Second-degree misdemeanors are usually punishable with a prison sentence of up to 90 days, a fine of not more than $750, or both.
- Third Degree Misdemeanors: Third-degree misdemeanors are normally punishable with a prison sentence of up to 60 days, a fine of not more than $500, or both.
- Fourth Degree Misdemeanors: A person convicted of a fourth-degree misdemeanor may face a prison sentence of up to 30 days, a fine of not more than $250.
- Minor Misdemeanors: There is no prison sentence for a person convicted for a minor misdemeanor, but they may face a fine of up to $150.
The statute of limitation or the time-period to initiate criminal prosecution begins to run from the day on which the crime is committed. The limitation period for first, second, third, and fourth-degree misdemeanors is two years. The limitation period for minor misdemeanors is 6 months.
Felonies are considered to be more serious criminal offenses and are punishable with stricter penalties. Felonies can be broadly categorised into aggravated murder, murder, first-degree felonies, second-degree felonies, third-degree felonies, fourth-degree felonies, and fifth-degree felonies.
Penalties for Felonies
- Aggravated Murder- A person convicted of aggravated murder may face a penalty of death or life imprisonment with or without a possibility of parole, along with a fine of not more than $25,000.
- Murder- A person convicted for the charge of murder may face a prison sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment, along with a fine of not more than $15,000.
- First and Second Degree Felonies- In Ohio, first and second-degree felonies committed after March 22, 2019, may be punished with an indefinite prison sentence. This means that in the case of first-degree felonies the court will first choose a minimum sentence between three to eleven years. In the case of second-degree felonies, the court will first choose a minimum sentence between two to eight years. Then the court will add 50% of the minimum sentence to arrive at the maximum sentence. For example, if the minimum sentence is of ten years, the court will add five years (50%) to it to arrive at the maximum sentence. Therefore, the indefinite sentence would be ten to fifteen years. In addition to this, the fine for first degree felonies may be up to $20,000 and up to $15,000 for second-degree felonies.
Kidnapping and rape are considered as first-degree felonies.
Abduction and illegal creation of explosives are considered as second-degree felonies.
- Third Degree Felonies- Third-degree felonies are normally punishable with a definite prison term of nine to thirty-six months, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. Some more serious third-degree felonies may be punishable with a definitive prison sentence of twelve to sixty months, or a fine, or both.
- Fourth Degree Felonies- In Ohio, a person convicted for a charge of fourth-degree felonies may normally be punished with a definitive prison sentence of six to eighteen months, a fine of not more than $5000, or both.
- Fifth Degree Felonies- Fifth-degree felonies are usually punishable with a definitive prison term of six to twelve months, or a fine of $2500, or both.
The time period for the initiation of criminal proceedings for most felonies is 6 or 20 years. There is no limitation on murder or aggravated murder proceedings.