In Ohio, felonious assault occurs when someone attempts to hit another person with a hand or object but misses. Assault can also refer to any intentional act or threat of action made with the goal of inducing a reasonable fear of being struck or hurt if the assailant appears capable of carrying out the threat. A “battery” felony in Ohio is defined as committing a real physical attack rather than merely threatening to hit. An “assault,” on the other hand, might apply to either a basic assault or an assault and battery. Although felonious assault and aggravated assault appear to be comparable offenses, they carry substantially distinct criminal punishments. As the name implies, felonious assault is a felony, whereas aggravated assault is a misdemeanor.
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors because they carry larger penalties, longer periods of jail, and more collateral repercussions, such as restrictions on your right to own firearms under the second amendment.
What Is the Definition of Felonious Assault?
The act of threatening to attack another person with a weapon that could cause serious harm is referred to as felonious assault. A felonious assault is defined as pointing a gun at someone, holding someone at knifepoint, or displaying brass knuckles at someone. The heightened seriousness of the offense renders the assault punishable as a felony.
A felonious assault charge is filed in Ohio when an assault is committed with the intent to murder or cause serious bodily harm, or with the intent to conduct another felony, such as robbery or arson.
Aggravated Assault or Felonious Assault (with a Deadly Weapon) In Ohio
Felonious assault – assault with a deadly weapon – is defined as an assault committed:
- with an object capable of inflicting serious injury; and
- with the aim to injure or cause the victim to fear attack or injury. Objects can be classified as deadly weapons if they are intrinsically harmful (for example, firearms, knives, or brass knuckles) or if they are used as weapons in a way that can result in serious injury.
According to this notion, anything can be used as a weapon. A baseball bat, spray can, or dog, for example, can all be deadly weapons since they can cause serious injury if used intentionally. Offenders who commit assault with a hazardous weapon face up to four years in jail, a $2,000 fine, or both.
For the courts to consider an aggravated assault case, the injuries sustained in an assault do not have to be severe. An aggravated assault is defined as an injury that necessitates immediate medical attention or an assault that results in physical injury or deformity, health impairment, or bodily function impairment.
Any assault in a weapon-free zone, such as on school grounds or in school-operated vehicles, is punishable by up to four years in prison, a $6,000 fine, 150 hours of community service, or any combination of these three punishments.
Providing Evidence of Felonious Assault In Ohio
In order for a person to be convicted of felonious assault, the prosecution must prove all of the components of felonious assault. To prove a felonious assault, four factors must be present. The accused:
- Must have attempted to conduct assault or done something that would make any reasonable person fear immediate assault
- either planned to hurt the other person or create a reasonable fear in the other person that he was going to hurt him (like pointing a gun at him).
- Was capable of committing assault, appeared to be capable of committing assault, or believed he was capable of committing assault
- Committed an assault with a lethal weapon
Proving felonious assault also requires the prosecutor to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the conduct was a felonious assault. Only then can a judge or jury convict the offender legally.
Examples of Felonious Assault
The following are some examples of felonious assault as defined by the law.
The first of our felonious assault instances is an assault that results in serious bodily harm. Tamarkqua Garland earned many assault convictions in People v. Garland (2018) after shooting a gun five times into a crowd, one of which injured a 15-year-old bystander in the leg. At trial, the victim testified that his injuries were “extremely distressing.” He testified that he was on crutches for two months following the incident and that he endured aftereffects such as limping and needing crutches in the shower.
The second of our felonious assault scenarios involves an assault on a member of a protected class, in this case, a police officer. In January 2019, police officers in Texas responded to a disturbance at Spec’s Liquor Store. Officers approached a suspect and asked him if he was the source of the noise.
After the suspect continued to provide false information to the cops, he was arrested for failing to present identification. He helped the authorities until they tried to place him in the back of the police cruiser. After getting him into the car and attempting to drive, the suspect spat on the officer in the passenger seat.
Officers uncovered a notation that the suspect was “extremely contagious” since he had HIV/AIDS after running the suspect’s criminal history, making this seemingly small crime a major felony. The culprit was eventually sentenced to 12 years in jail for attacking a public official.
Felonious Assault Penalties
The consequences for felonious or aggravated assault are harsh, as is the punishment for all felonies. Of course, the consequences for felonious assault kick in if the offender is found guilty by a judge or jury. Penalties may include the following:
- Several years in prison
- A hefty fine ranging from $5,000 to $10,000
- many hours of community service
This is why most people who face a felonious assault charge retain a lawyer to represent them in court. The penalty for felonious assault is too severe to risk representing oneself.
Example of Felonious Assault: Assault with a Steel Rod
While there are surely several examples of felonious assault in today’s societal milieu, the following example of felonious assault reached the United States Supreme Court in the case of Goswick v. State (1962). In this case, Henry Goswick assaulted a man with a steel rod, and police charged him with aggravated assault.
Goswick protested the charges leveled against him throughout his trial. He said that if the jury thought the weapon he used was not “deadly” in the sense that a knife or a rifle might be, they would have lowered his charge to assault and battery (which carries less severe punishment).
The trial judge refused to give the jury instructions on how to continue in this case. Goswick was subsequently convicted as charged by the jury. He challenged his conviction, but the District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s decision. The case was later heard by the United States Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court Decision
The Supreme Court found in favor of Goswick and overturned the District Court’s ruling. The case was remanded to the lower court for a reversal of the conviction and a fresh trial. In its decision, the Court stated:
“It is obvious from the preceding that the offense of aggravated assault, as defined by Florida legislation, does not necessitate proof of a battery.” It is sufficient to demonstrate that the weapon used in the assault is lethal. The offense of aggravated or felonious assault, on the other hand, may include a battery, such as when the accused not only assaults the victim with a lethal weapon but also strikes him. (The citation is omitted.) If the jury determines that the weapon used was a lethal weapon, even if there was also a battery, the crime is classified as an aggravated or felonious assault.
On the other hand, in a specific case, such as the one before us, the jury may reach the conclusion that the weapon was not lethal. If the evidence discloses both an assault and a battery, the accused could be convicted of only the assault and battery. This is because a necessary component of aggravated assault, the deadly weapon, is missing. If the weapon is not lethal and there is no violence, the offense is simply assaulted. (Note: citation omitted.)
Sentencing for Felonious Assault in Ohio
If you have been charged with felonious assault, you should consult an attorney to see if you were unfairly accused or if the case should be dismissed before trial for another reason. If the charges cannot be dropped, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or they may be able to prepare a defense and represent you at trial if no fair plea option is available. Prosecutors frequently bargain and agree to let the defendant plead guilty to a less serious offense. Whether or not the defendant committed a crime, the prosecution may offer a lesser sentence, such as probation, in exchange for a guilty plea.
The Importance of Accurate Representation
A felony conviction, regardless of the sort of offense, has a significant influence on your life. A felony conviction disqualifies a person from voting, holding public office, serving on juries, or carrying or owning guns. You may lose your professional license if you are convicted of a felony. Furthermore, a felon convicted of a subsequent offense may face a heavier penalty as a result of their earlier convictions. Convictions for felony offenses, particularly severe felonies, can be detrimental when looking for work or renting an apartment.
An specialist versed with the local criminal court system and cases should handle your chances of a successful outcome in court or at the negotiation table. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side will help you safeguard your legal rights.
Many jurisdictions, however, require a prison sentence that can last years or even decades, depending on the particular offense and any relevant circumstances. Depending on the circumstances, fines and probation may also be imposed. In many jurisdictions, attacks on law enforcement officers can result in a significantly harsher sentence.
Felonious Assault FAQs
In Ohio, what constitutes negligent assault?
Under Ohio law, a person commits “negligent assault” when he or she negligently causes physical harm with a lethal weapon. 2903.14 ORC Negligent assault is a third-degree misdemeanor.
In Ohio, what is the distinction between assault and felonious assault?
In Ohio, assault is a felony if there is substantial bodily harm or a lethal weapon is used. When an assault is done on people such as police officers, medics, or prison officers, it is also deemed a felony.
Can you get probation for a second-degree felony in Ohio?
In Ohio, a felony of the second degree is punishable by probation, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 years in prison, and a fine of up to $15,000. For a first-degree felony, there is a presumption in favor of incarceration.
What is the gravity of a simple assault charge?
The least serious of the assault accusations are common assault. Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act of 1988 governs it. A variety of factors influence whether you will go to prison for a first-time common assault offense. Sentencing guidelines apply to all offenses brought before the courts.
In Ohio, how long does a felony stay on your record?
If convicted of three to five felonies, the sentence is five years from the date of final discharge. Convictions for all felonies F-4 or F-5: Removes the five-felony restriction and allows the sealing of F-4 and F-5 convictions to be unlimited. F-3 Conviction: The offender may be convicted of two felonies, four misdemeanors, or two felonies and two misdemeanors.
Is a Felony Ever Forgiven?
A felony charge will remain on your record for the rest of your life. The only way to get a felony removed from your record is through a rigorous process known as expungement.