“I was wrongly convicted of murder. I spent nearly 17 years in prison fighting my case. When I finally won a new trial, I chose Greg Robey to be a part of my defense team. He found an FBI agent who had worked on the case in the 1980s, along with critical pieces of evidence that we thought were long lost. After a long and very hard-fought trial, I was found Not Guilty of all charges. I owe my freedom to Greg Robey and my defense team.” -R.R., Ravenna, Ohio
The most serious types of crimes are considered felonies in Ohio, but within the definition of felony is a range of classifications and penalties. Anyone arrested for a felony should understand the nature of the classification and the possible penalties they could face.
Felony offenses are divided into five categories, first through fifth, with first-degree felonies including the most serious crimes. The crimes descend in degree of severity, with fifth-degree penalties comprising least serious in nature.
First-degree felonies include crimes like rape, voluntary manslaughter and kidnapping. These are considered extremely serious and convictions carry with them severe penalties. A person convicted of a first-degree felony faces three to 11 years in prison and fines up to $20,000. Prison sentences might include both a minimum (three) and a maximum (11) amount of years a convicted felon must serve for a crime.
Abduction and illegal possession or processing of explosions are crimes included under the definition of a second-degree felony. The penalties for those who are convicted include up to $15,000 in fines and a prison sentence of two to eight years. Individuals convicted of a third-degree felony, which includes reckless homicide and robbery, face nine months to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Fourth-degree felonies in Ohio are crimes such as unlawful sexual contact with a minor (statutory rape) and grand theft of a motor vehicle. A person convicted of this type of felony must pay up to $5,000 in fines and serve six to 18 months in prison. Finally, crimes considered fifth-degree felonies are those such as breaking and entering and gambling. These are punishable with six to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
Some might have noticed particularly serious crimes are not listed. That is because there are certain crimes considered so serious that they are not actually classified in the first through fifth-degree schedule. Murder and aggravated murder are the two most serious felonies under Ohio law, and they do not come with specific sentencing requirements. Those who are convicted of these types of crimes face, at the very minimum, 15 years in prison and may also be sentenced to the death penalty.
Felonies are serious offenses, so if you face these types of charges, meet with a trusted Cleveland criminal defense attorney.