Ohio felony sentencing laws classify felony crimes into five categories, or degrees, ranging from most serious to least serious. Felonies can be first, second, third, fourth, or fifth-degree offenses.
Felonies can be first, second, third, fourth, or fifth-degree offenses.
First-degree felonies are the most serious class of felonies, and fifth-degree felonies are the least serious. Felony sentencing laws in Ohio also include unclassified felony offenses.
Unclassified felonies are not categorized by degree. These are very serious offenses.
Felony Crimes by Class & Sentence
Each felony category corresponds to a specific sentencing range. The sentence is proportional to the seriousness of the offense.
More serious felonies get longer prison sentences.
Ohio felony sentencing laws may also require mandatory minimum sentences for certain felony offenses.
First- and Second-Degree Felonies
First-degree felonies are the most severe category of offenses.
For example, first-degree felonies include:
The minimum Ohio felony sentences for a first-degree felony range from three to 11 years in prison.
Second-degree felonies are the next most serious level of offenses.
These offenses include, for example:
- Aggravated arson
- Felonious Assault
Second-degree felonies can result in minimum prison sentences of two to eight years.
Indefinite Sentences for First- and Second-Degree Felonies
A new Ohio felony sentencing law requires indefinite sentencing for certain first- and second-degree felony offenses.
First- and second-degree felonies committed on or after March 22, 2019, and that are not subject to life in prison are punishable by indefinite sentencing.
Indefinite sentencing means that a judge will select a minimum sentence from the specified range of penalties.
The judge will then determine the maximum term by adding 50% of the minimum term.
For example, if a defendant is convicted of kidnapping, a first-degree felony, the judge may select a minimum term of six from the specified sentencing range.
The maximum term, in this case, would be nine years.
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This is because 50% of the minimum term of six years is three years, which is then added to the minimum term for a total of nine years.
The defendant, thus, will serve six to nine years in prison.
Some third-degree felonies are subject to longer sentences ranging between one and five years.
Offenses subject to the longer sentencing include, for example:
- Aggravated vehicular assault or homicide
- Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
- Assisting suicide
However, most third-degree felonies are punishable by shorter sentences ranging between nine months and three years.
Crimes classified as fourth-degree felonies include, for example:
- Aggravated assault
- Vehicular assault
- Grand theft of an automobile
Felony sentencing in Ohio for fourth-degree felonies can range between six and 18 months in prison.
Fifth Degree Felonies
Fifth-degree felonies are considered the least serious felonies.
Examples of fifth-degree felony offenses include:
- Breaking and entering
- Receiving stolen property
In Ohio, felony sentences for fifth-degree offenses range between six and 12 months in prison.
Unclassified felonies are felonies that are not classified by degree.
Unclassified felonies include, for example:
- Aggravated murder
Ohio law supplies specific sentences for unclassified felonies. Sentences for aggravated murder, for instance, can include death, life without the possibility of parole, or life with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
In Ohio, felony sentences for murder range from 15 years in prison to life in prison.
Ohio felony sentencing laws may also impose mandatory prison terms in some cases. For example, Ohio requires mandatory sentences for aggravated murder, murder, rape, or attempted rape of a child under the age of 13, and first- or second-degree felony drug trafficking. In these cases, a court must impose a sentence or sentence range specified for the offense.
Contact an Experienced Ohio Felony Sentencing Lawyer
Ohio felony sentencing is complicated and depends on the specific circumstances of each case.
If you face a felony charge, it is imperative to your defense that you speak with a lawyer experienced in felony sentencing in Ohio.
At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we have over 50 years of combined experience in criminal defense.
The defense lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can help you understand your case and discuss possible defenses to overcome your charges.
We offer a free initial case consultation. To schedule yours, contact our legal team today at (937) 222-1515.