Ohio misdemeanor offenses may not be as serious as a felony charge, but they still carry the possibility of jail time, steep fines and court costs, and the loss of your driver’s license. A misdemeanor offense committed when you are young could have consequences for years into the future, affecting your ability to attend school or follow your chosen career path.

Misdemeanors Can Carry a Wide Range of Penalties

Gavel and Scales of JusticeIn general, any crime that carries the possibility of less than one year of jail time is classified as a misdemeanor. In Ohio, a variety of offenses, from shoplifting to drug crimes, may result in a misdemeanor charge, and the penalties for each will depend on the specific factors of the case.

Potential consequences of a misdemeanor charge in Ohio depend on the degree of the charge. Misdemeanors are split into five categories from the least to the most serious, including:

  • Minor misdemeanors. A fifth-degree offense or “minor” misdemeanor can include infractions, such as possessing a small amount of marijuana. There is little to no jail time for these offenses, and fines are capped at $150.
  • Fourth Degree. A fourth-degree offense may result in up to 30 days in jail and fines up to $250. However, misdemeanor offenders are incarcerated in a local jail rather than the state prison.
  • Third Degree. Penalties for these offenses include up to 60 days in jail and fines up to $500.
  • Second Degree. Penalties for the second-most serious tier of misdemeanors include up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $750.
  • First Degree. A crime does not have to be violent to be charged first-degree misdemeanor charges. In Ohio, any theft under $1000 is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, increasing to felony charges as the amount of stolen goods increases. Penalties for these offenses up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $1000.

In addition to these sentences, the judge in your case may assign additional or alternative punishments based on the circumstances of the case. Potential penalties include probation, parole, house arrest, community service, suspension of driving privileges, and/or mandatory drug or alcohol counseling.

If you have recently been accused of a misdemeanor crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the charges against you and protect you from common mistakes throughout the legal process. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams, LLC is here to help protect your rights. Call (513) 929-9333 today to get the answers you need in your free case evaluation.


Alex Deardorff
Criminal defense attorney Alex Deardorff is dedicated to serving her clients throughout the Cincinnati area
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