While most people know that assault is unlawful in Ohio, many are unaware that a person does not actually have to physically attack someone in order to be charged with this offense. In fact, a person can be charged with assault without even making contact with another person. Whether assault is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense depends on the specific circumstances of a case, so if you were recently accused of assault, it is important to contact an experienced Dayton assault lawyer who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.
Ohio law divides assault into a number of different categories, including simple assault, felony assault, negligent assault, and aggravated assault. Simple assault is defined as knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to, or recklessly causing serious physical harm to another person. It is important to note that acting knowingly is not the same thing as acting intentionally, but only requires knowledge that harm could result from a person’s actions. Reckless behavior, on the other hand, means that a person acted without regard as to whether a person would suffer harm as a result of his or her conduct. Simple assault is usually charged as a first degree misdemeanor, which could mean up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, misdemeanor assault charges could be enhanced to felony assault if the case involved an assault on:
An offense will automatically be charged as a felonious assault if the defendant is accused of knowingly causing, or attempting to cause serious physical harm to another person through the use of a deadly weapon. To qualify as a deadly weapon, an object need only be an instrument or device that is capable of inflicting death and was either designed or adapted for use as a weapon, or was possessed as a weapon. Under this definition, everything from a vehicle to a ballpoint pen could be considered a deadly weapon. These offenses are usually charged as second degree felonies, which are punishable by between two and eight years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Aggravated assault is essentially a form of felonious assault that is committed while the accused was in an extreme emotional state and was provoked in some way by the other party. This offense is penalized less harshly than standard felonious assault, although it is still punishable by a prison term of up to six years and fines of $5,000.
The last form of assault in Ohio is negligent assault, which occurs when someone negligently causes physical harm to another person through the use of a deadly weapon. Negligent conduct involves a substantial lapse of due care, as a result of which, a person fails to avoid or perceive the risk that his or her conduct has on someone else. Like simple assault, negligent assault is a misdemeanor offense.
To speak with an experienced Dayton assault lawyer about defending yourself against a pending assault charge, please call The VanNoy Firm at (937) 952-5043 today.
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