What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony In Ohio?

In Ohio, criminal offenses are divided into Misdemeanors and Felonies based on their maximum potential punishment.  The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor in Ohio is up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.   Felonies have potential sentences that are far more severe and can result in imprisonment in the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

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Maximum sentences for misdemeanor offenses are set forth in R.C. 2929.24 and 2929.28.  You should check the current version of these sections for any changes.  However, the current maximum sentences for misdemeanors are as follows:

  • 1st Degree Misdemeanor Jail: 180 days maximum Fine: $1,000.00 maximum
  • 2nd Degree Misdemeanor Jail: 90 days maximum Fine: $750.00 maximum
  • 3rd Degree Misdemeanor Jail: 60 days maximum Fine: $500.00 maximum
  • 4th Degree Misdemeanor Jail 30 days maximum Fine: $250.00 maximum
  • Minor Misdemeanor  Jail: None allowed  Fine: $150.00 maximum

The classification of a charge as either a misdemeanor or felony also affects your right to a speedy trial. For example:

  • Minor misdemeanor – your speedy trial right is 30 days
  • 3rd or 4th degree misdemeanor – your right to a speedy trial is 45 days
  • 1st or 2nd degree misdemeanor – your right to a speedy trial is 90 days
  • Felony – your speedy trial right is 270 days

For the purpose of calculating whether your speedy trial rights have been violated, each day spent in jail counts as 3 days toward your speedy trial deadline.  Because your right to a speedy trial can be of critical strategic importance, you should never waive your right to a speedy trial without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

You are also entitled to a jury trial for both felony and misdemeanor offenses.  However, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, you must immediately request a trial by jury in order to preserve your right.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense in Ohio, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your right to a jury trial has been properly preserved.

Our Columbus criminal attorneys have a proven record of aggressively and successfully representing persons charged with nearly every Ohio misdemeanor and felony offense.