Assault charges in Ohio

Experienced Columbus Assault Defense Lawyers

Strong advocacy for Central Ohio residents charged with assault crimes

There are several different types of assault crimes in Ohio. The elements of each criminal charge are different. What all assault charges have in common, however, is that a conviction for any type of assault is likely to result in imprisonment and substantial fines. On release from prison, you may find it difficult to find employment or a place to live. You may lose certain rights, especially if you are convicted of a felony.

At Soroka & Associates, LLC, our Columbus criminal defense lawyers have a strong record of obtaining dismissals before trial, acquittals by judges and juries, and plea bargains. We assert all the legal and factual defenses that apply including arguing your Constitutional rights and that you acted in self-defense or to defend others from assault. We’ll fight for your from the initial arrest through all phases of the criminal justice process.

What are the definitions of assault in Ohio?

Ohio has various definitions of assault based on the conduct involved, the harm caused, who the victim is, where the assault took place, and other factors. The core definitions are as follows:

  • Assault. No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another's unborn. No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to another or to another's unborn. Assault is generally a misdemeanor of the first degree – though the severity of the crime may become felonies if:
    • A caretaker commits an assault against a functionally impaired person under their care.
    • The offense happens at a state correctional institution or a youth services institution.
    • The victim is a schoolteacher, administrator, or bus driver.
    • The victim is a law enforcement officer.
    • The victim works for a public child services agency or a private child-placing agency.
    • The victim is a health care worker such as a hospital employee.
    • The victim is a court official.
  • Felonious assault. This crime occurs if someone knowingly causes “serious bodily harm” to another or an unborn child, or if a deadly weapon or violation of a deadly ordnance is intended to cause any physical harm. People with AIDS who perform sexual acts, without disclosing their health condition to the other partner, with people who lack the mental capacity to understand the dangers of acquiring AIDS, and with minors (who are not their spouses) may also be charged with a felonious assault. Generally, the offense is a felony of the second degree, though it could become a felony of the first degree.
  • Aggravated assault.  “No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly:
    • (1) Cause serious physical harm to another or to another's unborn
    • (2) Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another's unborn by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance,” as defined elsewhere in the Ohio statutes.
    • The offense is generally a felony of the fourth degree that it could become a more serious felony offense.
  • Negligent assault. Anyone who negligently causes physical harm to another or another’s unborn by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance may be charged with negligent assault. This offense is a misdemeanor of the third degree.

There are other assault crimes, such as sexual assault crimes and assault crimes that involve a vehicle.

What are the penalties for an assault conviction in Columbus?

The penalties for the different types of assault include imprisonment and fines as follows:


  • Misdemeanor first degree: Up to 6 months and up to $1,000
  • Misdemeanor second degree: Up to 90 days and up to $750
  • Misdemeanor third degree: Up to 60 days and up to $500


  • Felony first degree: 3-11 years and up to $20,000
  • Felony second degree: 2-8 years and up to $15,000
  • Felony third degree: 1-5 years and up to $10,000
  • Felony fourth degree: 6-18 months and up to $2,500

Some exceptions may apply. There are numerous factors such as prior convictions that affect the severity of the sentence.

What are the defenses against assault charges in Columbus?

The defenses that apply vary depending on the assault charge and the circumstances around the offense. At Soroka & Associates, our Columbus assault defense lawyers understand what Constitutional, legal, and factual defenses apply to your case. These often include the following:

  • A violation of your US Constitutional rights. These rights include the right to be free from warrantless searches and seizures without probable cause, the right to cross-examine the witnesses against you, the right not to incriminate yourself, the right to a speedy trial, and your Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Constitutional rights.
  • Self-defense. Many assault cases involve victims who threaten or attack you or someone near you. Our trial lawyers understand when and how defendants can protect themselves. Self-defense generally means that:
    • You did not help create the conflict.
    • You reasonably believed you were in imminent danger of serious physical harm or death.
    • Defending yourself through force was your only remedy.
    • You couldn’t have retreated to avoid the danger.
  • A lack of intent. Some assault offenses require that the government show you intended the harm that was caused. Accidental harm is often a valid defense.
  • A reasonable doubt. The prosecution must prove that you committed an assault beyond a reasonable doubt. Our defense team fights to show there are reasonable doubts by contesting the government’s version of what happened, questioning the credibility of the witnesses against you, and other defense strategies.
  • No serious bodily harm. Serious bodily harm generally requires some type of permanent injury or disfigurement, or an injury that causes substantial pain. We may argue that the victim’s injuries do not qualify as serious bodily harm.

How can your Columbus assault defense attorneys help?

Our lawyers are skilled at federal and state criminal procedure rules. We are seasoned veterans at the jury selection process and arguing your strongest defenses before juries of your peers.

We work to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained. We represent anyone charged with any type of assault at bail hearings, the preliminary hearings, any intermediate hearings, and before juries. We are skilled at negotiating plea arrangements to reduce the charges or the severity of any sentencing recommendations. For example, we may negotiate a plea to reduce felonious assault charges to standard assault charges.

Do you have an assault defense lawyer near me?

The Columbus office of Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205. We can also set up meetings with defendants who are detained or who are in custody.

Call our experienced Columbus criminal defense lawyers today

When facing criminal charges, remember you do have rights and that anything you say can be used against you. The assault defense attorneys at Soroka & Associates can help. There are often viable defenses. When you are facing criminal charges, don’t take chances. Take control. Contact us at 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form as soon as possible to begin protecting your rights and maximize your chances of success. We serve clients in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond.