The question of whether a crime is a felony or misdemeanor can be gleaned from closely reading the statute. To begin, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2901.02 states the following:
- (D) Regardless of the penalty that may be imposed, any offense specifically classified as a felony is a felony, and any offense specifically classified as a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor.
- (E) Any offense not specifically classified is a felony if imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed as a penalty.
- (F) Any offense not specifically classified is a misdemeanor if imprisonment for not more than one year may be imposed as a penalty.
The majority of criminal offenses in Ohio are classified as either a misdemeanor or felony in the criminal statute. This means that we know if a crime is a misdemeanor or felony by reading the statute and applying the facts of the case to the statute. Let’s look at this in context.
(A) – No person shall knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog.
(C)(3) – If the drug involved in the violation is marihuana … whoever violates (A) … is guilty of possession of marihuana.
(C)(3)(a) – Except as otherwise provided in (C)(3)(b), (c), (d), (e), (f), or (g), possession of marihuana is a minor misdemeanor.
(C)(3)(b) – If the amount of the drug involved equals or exceeds 100 grams but is less than 200 grams, possession of marihuana is a misdemeanor of the 4th degree.
(C)(30(c) – If the amount of the drug involved equals or exceeds 200 grams but is less than 1000 grams, possession of marihuana is a felony of the 5th degree.
Let’s take a look at another example.
ORC 2903.13 – Assault
(A) – No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.
(B) – No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.
(C)(1) – Who violates this section is guilty of assault. Except as otherwise provided in (C)(1), (2), (3), (4) or (5), assault is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree.
(C)(2) – Except as otherwise provided, if the offense is committed by a caretaker against a functionally impaired person under the caretaker’s care, assault is a felony of the 4th degree. If the offense is committed by a caretaker against a functionally impaired person under the caretaker’s care, if the offender has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of this section or 2903.11 or 2903.16, and if in relation to the previous conviction the offender was a caretaker and the victim was a functionally impaired person under the offender’s care, assault is a felony of the 3rd degree.
Therefore, in order to know whether an action is a felony or misdemeanor under 2901.02(D), the attorney needs to know the facts of the case and the statute involved in order to determine if a particular action is a felony or misdemeanor. If no classification is contained in the statute, ORC 2901.02(E) or (F) will apply in determining whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your criminal offense case.
Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for Criminal Defense:
Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Pataskala, Granville, Whitehall, Franklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Union County, Madison County and Delaware County