Unfortunately, there are situations in which a verbal argument escalates to a physical altercation. Any of the people involved in the fight, or a witness to the incident, might call the police to report it, which may lead to criminal charges being filed. Now, whether or not any of the fighters will be charged with a felony depends on the circumstances.
Ohio’s Assault Laws
Ohio has several laws that can be applied to actions taken during fights. Three of these are the assault, aggravated assault, and felonious assault statutes.
Various factors determine what crime a person involved in a fight is charged with, including:
- The individual’s state of mind at the time of the offense,
- The severity of the harm caused to others, and
- Whether or not a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance was brandished or used during the altercation
Let’s look at each of the crimes a little deeper.
Simple assault occurs when someone causes or attempts to cause injury to another person. For example, if Dave and Jason got into a fight and Dave swung a fist at Jason, and either missed or landed the punch and caused an injury, he could be charged with simple assault. In this instance, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, there are occasions in which simple assault is a felony, such as when it’s committed by a caretaker or on the grounds of a jail, prison or juvenile detention center.
Returning to the above example, let’s say Dave swung at Jason in the heat of passion – Jason had said something that provoked Dave. As a result of the blow, Jason falls, hits his head on a curb, and suffers a skull fracture. Now, this fight is considered a felony as it falls under the definition of aggravated assault. If, while under the influence of passion, Dave brandished a deadly weapon and attempted to harm Jason, even if no injury was caused, he could still be accused of this fourth-degree felony offense. A conviction may result in a prison sentence of up to 18 months and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Another fight situation that could lead to a felony charge is when someone knowingly causes serious physical harm to another or when they use a weapon to cause or attempt to cause harm. In Ohio, this is referred to as felonious assault. An example of this would be similar to that for aggravated assault. The difference is, however, the actor’s state of mind at the time of the offense. Felonious assault occurs when someone acts knowingly, whereas aggravated assault is when someone is influenced by “sudden passion or a fit of rage.” Felonious assault is a second-degree felony and is punishable by a minimum prison sentence of up to 8 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000.
Have you been accused of an assault crime in Dayton? At Rion, Rion & Rion, our attorneys have the experience and skills needed to aggressively fight your charge. Call us at (937) 223-9133 or contact us online today.