Misdemeanor offenses in Ohio include traffic violations as well as other criminal charges punishable by up to one year in a county jail. Misdemeanors in Ohio are classified into five categories. These offenses range from one to four, with one being the most serious, and also include minor misdemeanors. Minor misdemeanors are traffic offenses such as red light violations and speeding. Most minor misdemeanors are punishable by license probation, license suspension, community service, treatment programs, and counseling programs.
Certain offenses, such as driving while suspended and driving under the influence, are punishable by jail time and license suspension. Penalties differ depending on whether the person is charged with violating a municipal ordinance or state law. Because Ohio’s legal systems are complicated, those charged with misdemeanors are frequently advised to consult with local criminal defense attorneys. Regardless of the complexities of the law, felony offenses are always more serious than misdemeanor offenses.
Misdemeanors in Ohio
Those charged with misdemeanors in Ohio face either confinement in a county jail or a fine of several hundred dollars. Certain crimes may result in both incarceration and fines. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Class 2 misdemeanor offenses are punishable by up to ninety days in jail and a fine of no more than $750. Class 3 misdemeanor offenses can result in a jail sentence of no more than sixty days, with or without a fine of up to $500. Class 4 misdemeanor offenses can result in up to thirty days in jail and a fine of $250. Minor misdemeanors are not punished with jail time, but are instead fined up to $150.
Charges involving driving while suspended, drugs, and driving under the influence almost always result in the maximum sentence under each classification. In addition, almost every drug offense in Ohio is punishable by a six-month to three-year license suspension. This can occur even if a vehicle is not involved in the offense. Repeated charges of driving while suspended can result in vehicle forfeiture. If an offender is convicted of theft involving a vehicle, he or she may be required to pay for towing and storage fees.
Expungement is the legal sealing of criminal records so that they are no longer accessible to the public. Not every criminal conviction is eligible for expungement. Charges that have been dismissed, those found not guilty, and whether or not a criminal conviction has been applied are all eligible. If a person has pending criminal proceedings against him or her, he or she will not be eligible for expungement. The majority of the time, anyone who has been convicted of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, will not be eligible for expungement.