When Is an Offense Charged as Felonious Assault?

In Ohio, assault occurs when a person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm to someone else, or they recklessly cause someone else to suffer serious physical harm. With a few exceptions, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, penalized by a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

However, if specific aggravating circumstances are present, the crime is referred to as felonious assault. In this case, the lowest level of charge is a second-degree felony. In some instances, it can be a first-degree felony.

What Elevates Assault to Felonious Assault?

Felonious assault is considered a more serious offense than simple assault, meaning that the alleged offender did something to increase the severity of the crime.

Under O.R.C. 2903.11, factors that elevate an offense to felonious assault include:

  • Knowingly causing serious physical harm to another (Note that causing serious physical harm to someone else is also an element of assault. But in that case, the alleged offender acted recklessly, whereas, in this instance, they acted knowingly. Thus, it's the criminal state of mind that separates the two offenses and makes one more serious than the other.);
  • Knowingly using a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance to cause or attempt to cause physical harm to someone else. (A deadly weapon is an instrument that can be used as a weapon that can cause death, and dangerous ordinances include devices such as sawed-off firearms, explosives, or rocket launchers); or
  • Knowing that they have AIDS (or a virus that can cause the disease), the person engages in sexual conduct with someone without letting them know of their condition, someone mentally incapable of understanding that the person has AIDS, or someone under 18 years of age. For the purposes of a felonious assault offense, sexual conduct involves vaginal or anal penetration or oral copulation. The definition does not include the use of an instrument to penetrate the vagina or anus unless the person using the object knew that it had their bodily fluids on it.

What Are the Penalties for Felonious Assault?

As mentioned previously, felonious assault is generally a second-degree felony. The punishments upon conviction include up to 12 years in prison and/or up to $15,000 in fines.

However, if the victim is a law enforcement official, the crime becomes a first-degree felony. In this case, the penalties include a maximum of 16.5 years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $20,000.

If the deadly weapon used to commit the crime was a vehicle, in addition to incarceration and fines, the alleged offender faces a class two driver's license suspension. If the court imposes this sanction, the defendant can lose their driving privileges for anywhere from 3 years to life.

The punishments for felonious assault are serious and can have long-term effects. That's why it's crucial to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney who will work tirelessly for you.

At Patituce & Associates, we invest the time and resources necessary to seek favorable results for our clients in Cleveland. To learn how we can help fight your charge, call us at (440) 709-8088 or contact us online.