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From misdemeanors to felonies, what your assault charge means

Ohio’s definitions of assault and how they affect your case

While most people commonly think of “assault” as a fight or violent altercation, Ohio law isn’t so black-or-white. You can be charged with assault without ever meaning to hurt anyone. Keep reading to find out what you’re up against before the gavel falls.

What are the different assault charges?

Assault can be caused deliberately, negligently or recklessly. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to claim self-defense if you can prove that the amount of force you used was reasonable compared to how much force was being used or threatened against you.

The following charges can be brought against you in an assault accusation:

  • Negligent Assault: The lowest level of assault charge and a third-degree misdemeanor, negligent assault applies strictly to firearms and explosives. Anyone causing physical harm to another or to someone’s unborn child by the negligent use of a deadly weapon. For example, these kinds of crimes can occur when hunting and not following proper safety precautions.
  • Simple Assault: This first-degree misdemeanor charge argues that you knowingly or recklessly caused harm to someone, including an unborn child. This means that you can be charged with simple assault even if you didn’t intend to hurt anyone. When lawyers or judges refer to assault, they usually mean simple assault.
  • Felonious assault: Knowingly causing serious physical harm to another or to someone’s unborn child, or intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another person or an unborn child with a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance. If you have sex without disclosing that you tested positive as an HIV carrier, that also constitutes felonious assault. A conviction for this second-degree felony carries an extended prison stay.
  • Aggravated Assault: A felony assault is a fourth-degree felony if the defendant committed the offense while in a fit of rage or under the influence of sudden, powerful emotion brought on by serious provocation.

What is aggravated assault?

Aggravated assault in Ohio is an assault provoked by the victim of the assault. In order for the assault to be “aggravated,” the state requires that:

  • the assailant was under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage
  • this rage was due to “serious provocation” by the victim
  • the victim provoked the assailant enough to incite him or her into using deadly force
  • the assailant knowingly attacked the victim and caused serious harm or attempted to cause serious harm to another or to someone’s unborn child

Building your defense against assault charges

There are two sides to every story, especially when it comes to an assault case.

Whether it was a domestic dispute, a physical attack or a simple misunderstanding, our attorneys examine the facts of the case and determine exactly why charges were brought against you. The criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer establish a strong defense that tells your side of the story as we work to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether.

Call Yavitch & Palmer at 614-224-6142 or use our contact form to arrange an appointment at our Downtown Columbus office to discuss your case.

Columbus Criminal Defense AttorneyClick here to learn about  Stephen Palmer’s 19 years as a Columbus criminal defense attorney.

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