What Constitutes Assault in Ohio?
In Ohio, there are multiple levels of assault. Assault does not require an actual attack or injury to take place. Credible threats also fit the definition of an assault under Ohio law.
Ohio separates assault into four categories:
- Felonious assault
- Aggravated assault
- Negligent assault
Each of these involves proof of different elements.
Simple Assault in Ohio
A person commits assault when he or she recklessly causes a serious physical injury to another person OR when he or she knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another or another’s unborn child.
Ohio law categorizes simple assault as a first-degree misdemeanor unless the victim was one of the following:
- A functionally impaired person assaulted by their caregiver;
- A staff member, volunteer, or visitor of a correctional facility assaulted by an incarcerated person;
- A school teacher or employee while they are working;
- A law enforcement official, firefighter, EMT, hospital worker, or healthcare provider while discharging their duties;
- A public child services agency worker while they are working;
- A judge, prosecutor, or courthouse employee while they are working.
The situation applicable to your case determines what level of felony applies.
Simple assault carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and five years of probation.
Felonious Assault in Ohio
Ohio law defines felonious assault as knowingly causing serious harm or causing or attempting to cause serious harm to another or another’s unborn child by means of a deadly weapon.
Additionally, this statute prohibits engaging in sexual intercourse with another person if you are HIV positive and your sexual partner is unaware of or unable to comprehend your status as HIV positive. Causing physical harm to a police officer is also considered felonious assault.
Felonious assault carries a maximum penalty of up to eight years in prison, a $15,000 fine, and five years of probation.
Aggravated Assault in Ohio
Ohio law defines aggravated assault as a felonious assault that is committed while under the influence of sudden passion or rage brought on by serious provocation. But what qualifies as serious provocation?
The provocation must be one that would rouse a reasonable person to the heat of passion. Additionally, a defendant must show that he or she was actually provoked by the victim’s actions.
In determining whether serious provocation exists, Ohio courts look at the defendant’s subjective state of mind, not at the objective standard of whether a reasonable person would be seriously provoked.
Aggravated assault convictions carry a maximum of six years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and five years of probation.
Negligent Assault in Ohio
A person commits the crime of negligent assault in Ohio when he or she negligently causes physical harm by means of a deadly weapon. Negligent assault carries a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and five years of probation.
Aggravated Battery vs. Aggravated Assault in Ohio
Intentionally or negligently causing offensive physical contact or bodily harm to another person is defined as battery. Ohio repealed its criminal battery statute several years ago. Thus, you cannot be charged with battery.