Felony Defense

Crimes are conduct that is prohibited by a written statute that designates a punishment to be imposed by a judge if an offender is convicted. Crimes in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton, Ohio are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are the least serious crimes for which the law imposes a maximum jail sentence of 180 days. Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses and can result in prison sentences ranging from more than one year to life in prison without parole.

A felony conviction can have an effect on a person’s life far beyond the sentence handed down by a judge. Felony convictions can prevent a person from getting a job, holding certain types of professional licenses, serving on a jury, holding public office, qualifying for some types of federal housing assistance, and can limit the person’s ability to travel outside the United States.

Wooster attorneys handling felony defense must be aware of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction in addition to having a thorough knowledge of the Ohio criminal code. A person charged with a felony should speak to a Medina criminal defense attorney to review the facts and potential consequences associated with the criminal charges.

Classified and Unclassified Felonies

Most felonies are classified according to the severity of the proscribed criminal conduct. For example, a criminal offense classified as a felony of the first degree is more serious, and would subject the offender to a harsher, more severe penalty than a felony of the fifth degree which is the lowest felony classification in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton, Ohio.

Some Ohio crimes are referred to as unclassified felonies because they fall into the felony category, but they are not classified by degree. Aggravated murder and murder are unclassified felony charges. As opposed to classified felonies where the recommended sentences are based upon the degree classification, the penalty for an unclassified felony is specified in the statute under which the prohibited conduct was made a criminal offense.

Examples of classified felony crimes include:

  • Felony of the first degree: rape, manslaughter and kidnapping
  • Felony of the second degree: prostitution after diagnosis of HIV and criminal abduction
  • Felony of the third degree: trespassing on property with intent to commit another crime
  • Felony of the fourth degree: sexual contact involving a minor and grand theft of a vehicle
  • Felony of the fifth degree: theft of a credit card and theft of a motor vehicle’s license plate

Penalties for Felony Convictions in Medina

The punishment imposed upon a person convicted of committing a felony in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton, Ohio is left to the discretion of the sentencing judge. State law provides guidelines for judges to follow depending upon the seriousness of the crime as determined by the degree:

  • Felony of the first degree: Imprisonment for a minimum of three years and a maximum of 11 and a fine up to $20,000
  • Felony of the second degree: Imprisonment for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 8 and a fine up to $15,000
  • Felony of the third degree: Incarceration for a minimum of 9 months and a maximum of 5 years and a fine up to $10,000 – depending on the charge.
  • Felony of the fourth degree: Incarceration for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 18 and a fine up to $5,000
  • Felony of the fifth degree: Incarceration for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 and a fine up to $2,500

Sentencing reform legislation now require judges to favor probation, or community control sanctions as it is referred to in the legislation, as an alternative to incarceration for individuals convicted of committing a felony of the fourth or fifth degree. Factors such as an offender’s record of prior criminal convictions and the type of sentences previously imposed are taken into consideration by judges when deciding if probation is an appropriate sentence.

Representation by a Medina felony defense attorney who is knowledgeable of the various sentencing options is important. An experienced attorney can help to ensure that the sentence given to a client is the correct one under the statutory guidelines. Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction

A recently enacted law in Ohio allows officials to take a DNA sample from anyone arrested on a felony charge in Medina, Wooster, North Canton, and elsewhere in the state. Previously, DNA samples were taken from those individuals convicted of a felony and the information was entered into a statewide database. The change in the law means that even if a person is found to be not guilty of the felony charges, the DNA information will remain in the state’s database. The United States Supreme Court has upheld the right of states to enact such laws.

Other consequences of a felony conviction include:

  • Drastic limitations or outright prohibition on the right of a convicted felon to carry or possess a firearm
  • Convicted felons in Medina, Wooster, or North Canton are prohibited from holding public office
  • Felons cannot serve on state or federal juries
  • Felons lose their right to hold licenses to work as pawnbrokers or other occupations when the crime committed involved theft
  • Felons who are nonresident aliens are subject to deportation upon completion of their sentence
  • Some countries, such as Jamaica or Canada, restrict some felons from entering

A knowledgeable Medina felony defense attorney can advise a person charged with committing a crime of the penalties and collateral consequences that might be associated with a conviction.