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Adam G. Burke is a top Columbus criminal defense attorney. He represents clients in federal and state courts in Columbus, Ohio and surrounding areas. He has successfully defended men and women facing serious felony and misdemeanor charges.

Columbus Felony Charges Defense

Facing felony charges can be a traumatic experience, especially if it’s your first time. You must keep calm, remember your rights and contact a lawyer as soon as you can. A criminal record with felony on it can make it difficult for you to find employment in the future. It is imperative that you contain the damage as much as possible by following legal counsel when necessary and understanding your case thoroughly.

You may be facing a felony charge in state court (which is the most common), or even federal court. If you are convicted of a felony charge, you may have to go to prison for a significant period of time.

You may also have to pay large fines, depending on the crime you have committed. Even the least severe felony involves a mandatory stay in prison.

By rough federal estimates, some of the most common crimes that lead to felony charges in the country include drug abuse, intoxicated driving, assault, property crime (breaking and entering, theft), larceny theft, fraud, vandalism, disorderly conduct, , burglary, drunkenness, aggravated assault, weapon violations, curfew breaking and loitering, offenses against family and minors, motor vehicle theft, stolen property, forgery, counterfeiting and disorderly conduct and, of course, violent crimes like rape and murder.

If you’ve been accused of committing any of the crimes given above, you are likely facing a felony charge. Here’s a small guide explaining the most common crimes in a little more detail, and how the state of Ohio views these crimes.

Property Crime – Breaking and Entering

In Ohio, you are considered to be breaking and entering if you enter an unoccupied structure with the intent of committing theft. You are also considered to be breaking and entering if you trespass on another person’s lands with the purpose of committing theft.

Breaking and entering is considered to be a felony of the 5th degree, the least severe felony possible. If another person was present on the premises, if aggravated burglary was committed, if a weapon was involved or if someone was harmed, the severity of the crime, and subsequently the penalty, goes up. 1 2

Property Crime- Burglary and Aggravated Burglary

In Ohio, you may be charged of committing burglary if you are accused of trespassing on someone’s property at a time when that someone was present or was likely to be present. This is a 4th degree felony. If you trespass on someone’s property at with the intent of committing any possible criminal offense, then you are committing a 3rd degree felony burglary.  If you happen to trespass on someone’s property when they were present with the intent of committing a criminal offense, you may be committing a 2nd degree felony.

An aggravated burglary occurs when there is someone present in the property, and either there is a deadly weapon with you or you threaten to cause harm to the person occupying the property. It is considered a 1st degree felony. 3

Ohio Felony Theft

The state of Ohio considers you to have committed felony theft if you knowingly and intentionally deprive a person of his property or his services. This is done without the consent of the owner. Theft may be committed through deception, threats and misdirection.

Depending on the value of the property stolen, theft may be considered to be anything from a 5th degree felony to a 1st degree felony. 4

Stolen Property- Receiving Stolen Property (also Buying and Possession)

In Ohio, if you receive, and then keep or dispose of, property that has been taken against its owner’s permission or knowledge, then you can be found guilt of receiving stolen property. This has to be done intentionally.

You are can also be found guilty of having committed a crime if you buy stolen property or possess stolen property.

Depending on the value of the property involved, you may be charged with committing a felony of the 5th degree, a felony of the 4th degree or a felony of the 3rd degree. 5

Drug Crimes – Drug Abuse and Related Crimes

Drug abuse attracts major penalties in a state court of Ohio as well as a Federal court. Penalties assigned by the federal court are far harsher, and have more of an impact on a person’s criminal record.

Drug related crimes include possession of drug paraphernalia, drug tampering, illegal manufacture of drugs, drug trafficking and possession of controlled substances. If you commit any of these crimes, you may be tried by either the state court or the federal court, or in rare cases by both.

Drug related crimes are usually all charged as felonies. Drug trafficking, manufacture, possession and tampering especially are the gravest of felonies. On the federal level, a person, if convicted, may even be assigned a life sentence for a drug crime. 6

Violent Crimes- Assault and Aggravated Assault

In the state of Ohio, you are guilty of committing assault if you knowingly cause harm, attempt to cause harm, or recklessly cause harm to someone or someone’s unborn. A simple assault, as such, is usually a misdemeanor. However, if assault is committed against an officer, a firefighter or a medical professional, it is considered to be a felony of the 4th degree.

An aggravated assault is assault committed with passion or great rage as a driver. Aggravated assault, as compared to assault, involves serious injuries on the part of the victim. If you are accused of committing aggravated assault, you will be charged with a 3rd degree or a 4th degree felony, depending on the details of your case. 7

Violent Crimes – Murder, Rape, Robbery (and Non-Negligent Manslaughter)

Murder: By Ohio law, you are guilty of murder if you purposely cause the death of another, or you terminate a pregnancy unlawfully (assuming certain conditions are fulfilled). In Ohio, murder may be punished by life imprisonment or death. Cases involving voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, are treated as felonies. 8

Rape:  Generally, if you engage in sexual conduct with another person by force or by threat of force, then you are guilty of rape. It is already considered to be rape if the act is carried out with a person who is less than 13 years of age in the state of Ohio. Depending on the case, rape may be charged with a 5th degree felony, a 4th degree felony or a 1st degree felony. 9

Robbery: By Ohio law, if in an attempt to commit a theft or while getting away after committing a theft, you happen to have a deadly weapon on you, or if you threaten to harm a person, or if you harm a person, you are considered to be guilty of robbery. Robbery is generally treated as a felony of the 3rd degree or 2nd degree, depending on the case. 10

Ohio White Collar Crimes (like Forgery and Counterfeiting)

White collar crimes are fairly common in the state of Ohio. If you are accused of committing a white collar crime, you may be tried by the state court if the sum of money involved isn’t significant. The federal government only steps in when the sum involved is astronomical or when public figures are involved in the crime, or if the crime has been committed across multiple states.

White collar crimes almost always include a financial component. They can be defined as non-violent crimes committed for financial gain. White collar crimes are crimes including, but not limited to, corporate crimes, cybercrimes, bribery, money laundering, embezzlement, tax evasion, public corruption, frauds and racketeering.  They are carried out by people of a certain reputation, hence the term “white collar”.

Sentencing for white collar crimes can be very harsh. In fact, some people convicted of a white collar crime have been given longer sentences than people convicted of murder (exceeding 20 years). Every white collar crime is treated differently, and consequently will attract different penalties. 11

Drinking and Driving

Drinking while under the influence of alcohol, sadly, remains a common felony crime in the state of Ohio. You are breaking the law if you operate a vehicle, streetcar and trackless trolley in the state when under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug. The quantity of alcohol, of course, has to be beyond a certain limit set by law.

While drinking and driving may be charged as a misdemeanor for the first time, repeated offenses are considered to be 4th or 3rd degree felonies. 12

Ohio Carrying Concealed Weapons Felony Charges

In the state of Ohio, if you knowingly have or carry, concealed upon your person or concealed within easy reach, a deadly weapon that is not a handgun, a handgun (which is not a dangerous ordinance) or a dangerous ordinance, you are guilty of committing a crime. It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Carrying concealed weapons is not a major offense, and if accused of it, you will be charged with a low level felony charge. Most of the times it is considered to be a felony of the 5th degree, but in some cases if may be considered a felony of the 4th, or even the 3rd degree. 13

Ohio Felony Vandalism Charges

Vandalism is also a common crime in the state. You may be charged with felony if you are suspected of having committed vandalism in the state.

It is considered vandalism if you knowingly cause serious physical harm to a private occupied structure, or its contents, or a government operated structure like a public library, or a burial place like a gravestone or a tomb. An example of serious physical damage would be breaking furniture, or destroying markers and doors.

If the property damaged amounts to less than $7,500, it is considered to be a felony of the fifth degree. If the property damaged is valued between $7,500 and $150,000, it is considered to be a felony of the 4th degree. If the property damaged is worth more than $150,000, it is considered to be a felony of the 3rd degree.

Penalties for Felonies in Ohio

If you are convicted of that felony charge, you will have to serve a mandatory prison sentence. You will also have to pay a fine, which may involve the cost of the prosecution undertaken against you.

Depending on the crime, you will be charged and convicted of either a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or a 5th degree felony. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree felonies carry the harshest penalties, and are usually only handed out to repeat offenders, while 4th and 5th degree felonies don’t have very severe penalties.

For a 5th degree felony, you will have to go to prison for 6 to 12 months, and pay fines of up to $2,500. For a 4th degree felony, you will have to go to prison for 6 to 18 months, and pay fines of up to $5,000. For a 3rd degree felony, you will have to go to prison for 1 to 5 years, and pay fines of up to $10,000. For a 4th degree felony, you will have to go to prison for 2 years to 8 years, and pay fines of up to $15,000. For a 5th degree felony, you will have to serve out a prison sentence of 3-10 years, and pay up to $20,000 in fines.

Ohio Felony Charges Expungement

If you have been charged with felony, it’s not the end of the world. Even if you are charged with a major felony, it is possible to get your record expunged, or, in other words, erased, so that you can start over again with a clean sheet. Please note that by erased, it means that your record is sealed away and is not open for the public, which makes it much easier for you to obtain employment.

Expungement cases are difficult to prepare, and the state does not grant Expungement easily, but it is a distinct possibility if the case against you was inconclusive in any way. 14

Choosing a Columbus Felony Charges Attorney

Of all the choices facing you, none is more important than your choice of attorney.

Adam Burke understands that each case is unique, carrying defenses and penalties specific to your circumstances.

Mr. Burke will guide you through the process of a successful criminal defense. Call Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Burke at 614-280-9122.