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The Various Kinds of Assault Crimes in Ohio

Ohio has assault laws that cover almost every conceivable scenario where one person hurts or tries to hurt another. Although titled “assault”, Ohio’s laws prohibit not only simple assault and battery in their traditional sense, but expand on the topic by outlawing reckless actions which result in serious physical harm to another.  Depending on what kind of assault a person is charged with, it can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Not all assaults are created equal

Simple assault can be a first degree misdemeanor or a third, fourth or fifth degree felony depending on where the offense happened and who the victim was. You can be charged with assault if you knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm or serious physical harm to another, or recklessly cause serious physical harm to another or to someone’s unborn child. Felony charges are brought where a caregiver assaults the person being cared for, or where an inmate assaults a visitor or employee at a state prison or country jail. Anyone who assaults a school teacher, school bus driver, police officer, fire fighter or health care worker in the performance of their duties may also face a felony assault charge.

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 or dangerous ordnance can be charged with this third degree misdemeanor.

Felonious assault is 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 ordinance. 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 a significant state prison sentence.

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

  • the assailant be under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage
  • this rage was due to “serious provocation” by the victim
  • the assailant was incited by the victim to a degree that is reasonably sufficient to incite a person into using deadly force
  • the assailant knowingly attacked the victim and causes serious bodily harm or attempts to cause serious harm to another or to someone’s unborn child

Assault can be caused deliberately, negligently or recklessly. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to assert self-defense if you can show that the amount of force you used was reasonable in proportion to the amount of force that was being used or threatened against you.

Assault can apply to a wide variety of scenarios. If you or someone close to you is charged with assault, seek the experienced advice of a dedicated professional at Yavitch & Palmer Co., LPA. Our firm handles only criminal matters and will be pleased to advise you about defending against such charges.

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