An assault charge can devastate someone’s public and private reputation. However, if you are facing accusations of assaulting someone else in Cincinnati, you have the right to defend yourself. Indeed, you deserve a skilled local assault and battery defense lawyer who can maximize your chances of a good outcome.
For over 35 years, the team at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC has used an aggressive and personalized approach to build top-notch defense cases. Don’t wait to call (513) 421-9790 for a free, confidential consultation.
What are Assault and Battery?
In Ohio, someone commits assault when they knowingly or recklessly cause physical harm to another person or an unborn baby. Similarly, an attempted assault is also considered “assault” under the law.
While “assault” and “battery” are often mentioned together, the two have separate meanings. In contrast, Ohio used to have statutes against “criminal battery,” but state legislators have since repealed them. As a result, both crimes now fall within the assault statute.
Ohio Assault Offenses and Penalties
There are multiple different types of assault in Ohio, each with differing penalties. For instance, they include:
- Simple assault – Simple assaults do not have any “aggravating factors” or elements that would worsen the charge. As a first-degree misdemeanor, it carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Negligent assault – If someone acted carelessly and harmed someone with a deadly weapon, it is negligent assault. As a third-degree misdemeanor, this offense carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- Aggravated assault – If someone “under the influence of sudden passion” uses a deadly weapon to harm another person, they have committed aggravated assault. It is a fourth-degree felony carrying an 18-72 month prison sentence and a $5,000 maximum fine.
- Felony/felonious assault – A felony assault occurs when someone knowingly harms or tries to harm another person using a deadly weapon. Assaults against police officers, correctional workers, or paramedics, or where the harm is grave, are also felonies. The maximum sentence for a felony assault is 2-8 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Furthermore, if a jury convicts someone of felonious or aggravated assault, the offender will lose additional privileges such as:
- Voting rights – Convicted felons cannot vote in Ohio until their prison term ends, or they earn parole. Offenders who remain on probation after their release can still vote.
- Gun privileges – Felons who committed a violent or drug-related offense in Ohio lose their right to own, possess, purchase, or carry guns and ammunition. Depending on their jail/prison sentence length and the nature of their offense, they may petition a court to get their privileges back.
- Jury duty rights – In Ohio, convicted felons cannot serve on a state or federal jury.
- Benefits eligibility – Some state or federal benefits programs render convicted felons ineligible to participate.
Moreover, an assault conviction could also affect your employment, academic opportunities, military service, or vocational credentials.
Common Defenses to Assault and Battery
Each assault case presents unique circumstances, and your lawyer’s job is to identify strategies that improve your odds of a good outcome for your case. For example, some potential defenses for an assault case include:
- Mistaken identity – If you were someplace else at the time of the assault, or if law enforcement arrested the wrong person, your assault and battery defense lawyer will try to show mistaken identity.
- No harmful intent – The jury could dismiss the charges if your legal team proves that you did not intend to cause harm.
- Self-defense – Self-defense does not necessarily constitute assault. If your attorney can provide evidence that you or someone else were under threat of force, the court could dismiss the charges.
- Unlawful entry of property – According to Ohio’s “castle doctrine” law, if someone unlawfully enters another person’s home or car, the owner may use force to defend their property.
- Procedural errors – If the police or prosecution does not correctly follow procedural rules, your legal team may ask for a new trial, a lesser charge, or a dismissal. Improper searches or evidence collection are two common types of procedural errors.
How Proceedings Work in an Assault or Battery Case
The general process of an assault case follows these basic stages:
- Arrest and bail hearing – The police may arrest someone for assault after seeing the act or receiving a warrant from the court. To protect your rights, don’t talk to police officers without your lawyer present. Unless a judge believes you might be a danger to yourself or others, they can set a bail amount for your release from custody.
- Arraignment – At an arraignment, you will hear more about the charges against you and enter a guilty, not guilty, or no-contest plea. Your lawyer will speak on your behalf or advise you on what to say.
- Preliminary hearing – The court uses preliminary hearings to gauge the strength of the prosecution’s case. A prosecutor will present the evidence they have against you, and it’s up to the judge to decide whether that evidence is sufficient to continue with a trial. If the prosecution doesn’t have adequate evidence, your charges will be dismissed.
- Pretrial motions – Before the trial, your lawyer could file motions with the court to prohibit the prosecution from using specific evidence against your constitutional rights.
- Pretrial negotiations – If pretrial motions fail and the evidence is against you, your lawyer may try to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. You might receive a lesser charge or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
- The trial – If motions and negotiations fail, the trial starts. Both the prosecution and your lawyer will present evidence to a jury. Jurors must vote unanimously for a conviction.
Why Work With Moermond & Mulligan, LLC?
Our clients choose us for our unparalleled knowledge and comprehensive experience. For example, as a former Montgomery County assistant prosecutor, L. Patrick Mulligan is well-versed in the “other side’s” tactics. Currently, he’s one of 24 Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists in Ohio. The National Board of Trial Advocacy awards this distinction to attorneys with expert knowledge and professional values.
Contact an Expert Cincinnati Defense Attorney Today
The stakes are high in criminal cases, and time is of the essence. If you’ve been arrested for or accused of assault, trust the assault and battery defense lawyers of Moermond & Mulligan, LLC to defend your rights and fight for the best outcome possible. Call our office today at (513) 421-9790 for a free consultation.