What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
In Ohio, a felony is distinguished from a misdemeanor in that felonies are considered more serious and generally carry a possible prison sentences of over 1 year. This difference can have a substantial impact on college applications, immigration proceedings, and future job prospects as well personal liberty. As such, aside from the penalties imposed by the court, the outcome of a case can have long term impact on a person’s life and family.
The Importance of Good Legal Counsel
Sometimes, felony charges are dismissed if law enforcement hasn’t properly followed the law themselves. Other times, charges can be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. For this reason, it is especially important to have an experienced attorney on your side from the very beginning to ensure the best possible outcome. At Funkhouser Law, we fight to lessen, not only the short-term consequences, but also the long-term impacts of serious criminal charges made against our clients. The attorneys at Funkhouser Law have personally and successfully handled every type of serious felony charge from the investigation phase through final argument during a jury trial. There is no better protection from a felony charge than an experienced criminal attorney.
Ohio Felony Law divides felonies into six categories based on the seriousness of the crime. These categories are used for the purposes of imposing penalties. The categories include unclassified felonies and first through fifth degree felonies, listed below. For a felony conviction, the burden of proof required to obtain a conviction by the prosecutor is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
- Aggravated murder (generally)
- Acting with purpose and prior calculation and design,
- Resulting in the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.
- Causing the death of another or the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of another
First-Degree felony (F1) (3-11 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines)
- Engaging in sexual conduct with another including the insertion of a body part or object into the vagina or anus of another,
- Without privilege to do so.
- Voluntary manslaughter(generally)
- While under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage,
- Brought on by provocation,
- Knowingly causing the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.
- By force, threat, or deception,
- Removing another from the place where the other person is found or restraining the liberty of another person,
- For ransom, involuntary servitude, sex, or other such reason.
Second-degree felony (F2) (3-10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines)
- Illegally manufacturing explosives(generally)
- Manufacturing or processing an explosive,
- Without a license or permit to do so.
- Assault with a deadly weapon(generally)
- Causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn child,
- With a deadly weapon or dangerous ordinance.
Third-degree felony (F3) (1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines)
- Reckless homicide(generally) 1-5 years in prison
- With disregard to a substantial and unjustifiable risk that conduct is likely to cause a certain result,
- Resulting in the death of a person or unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.
- With use of a deadly weapon or threat of physical harm,
- Commits or attempts to commit theft
Fourth-degree felony (F4) (6-18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines)
- Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor(generally)
- Being 18 years of age or older
- Engaging in sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 13 and 16.
- Grand theft Auto(generally)
- Without consent of the owner, and
- With purpose to deprive the owner,
- Obtaining or exerting control over a motor vehicle.
Fifth-degree felony (F5) (6-12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines)
- Breaking and entering (generally)
- Trespass in an unoccupied structure
- By force, stealth, or deception,
- With purpose to steal or commit a felony.
- Gambling (generally)
- Engaging in bookmaking, or any game of chance conducted for profit, or using a gambling device,
- Without a license, and
- Not done by a charitable organization.