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Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Criminal charges in Ohio are divided into felonies and misdemeanors. While many have heard these legal terms before, some people are not certain about the difference between these classifications of crimes. Not only do felonies and misdemeanors differ regarding the seriousness of the offense, but the two classifications also differ in resulting penalties. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Felonies in Ohio

The state of Ohio classifies felonies as the most serious type of charge. A person who is charged with a felony can face over six months in prison and can sometimes even the death penalty or life in prison. Ohio divides felonies into the following categories:

  • First-degree felonies: Being convicted of a first-degree felony results in a person facing three to 11 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000. Kidnapping is an example of a first-degree felony.
  • Second-degree felonies: These offenses result in two to eight years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Illegally creating explosives is one type of second-degree felony.
  • Third-degree felonies: A person charged with this offense can end up facing nine months to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Robbery is an example of a third-degree felony in Ohio.
  • Fourth-degree felonies: A person charged with this type of felony can end up facing six to 18 months in prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000. Grand theft of a motor vehicle is just one type of fourth-degree felony in Ohio.
  • Fifth-degree felonies: These offenses result in prison sentences of six to 12 months and can lead to fines of up to $2,500. Receiving stolen property is just one example of a fifth-degree felony in Ohio.
  • Unclassified felonies: Another group of felonies is unclassified felonies, which do not fall into any of the above categories. These offenses are the most serious felonies in Ohio and include things like murder.

Misdemeanors in Ohio

Less serious than felony charges, misdemeanor charges can still result in significant penalties. In some situations, including repeat offenses, misdemeanors can be upgraded to felonies. Much like felonies, Ohio divides misdemeanors into several categories, which include:

  • First-degree misdemeanors: These offenses result in a person facing up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. An example of a first-degree misdemeanor is petty theft.
  • Second-degree misdemeanors: These offenses result in a person facing fines of up to $750 as well as a maximum jail sentence of 90 days. Obstructing official business is one example of a second-degree misdemeanor.
  • Third-degree misdemeanors: These offenses result in a person facing a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum jail sentence of 60 days. Negligent assault is a third-degree misdemeanor.
  • Fourth-degree misdemeanor: A person charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor faces up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $250. Criminal trespass is one example of a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
  • Minor misdemeanors. These misdemeanors do not result in jail time and can require a person to pay up to $150 in fines. Disorderly conduct is one type of minor misdemeanor.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like the legal counsel at Kruger & Hodges. Contact our law office today to schedule an initial free case evaluation.

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