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A felony crime conviction can be life-changing. Even being accused of a felony can negatively impact your life in many ways. At best, you will have to invest time and money into clearing your name. At worst, you could face fines and a lengthy prison sentence. Guilty or not guilty, when faced with felony charges, it is crucial to have legal assistance from competent and experienced criminal defense lawyers.

A Return to Indefinite Sentencing

Ohio divides felonies into five classes, from first-degree (the most serious) to fifth-degree (the least serious). Jail sentences and fines vary by the seriousness of the felony. In most cases, Ohio criminal law also allows judges leeway when deciding a punishment based on factors such as the individual’s prior record and the specific circumstances of the crime.

In addition, felony sentencing has recently changed in Ohio with the passage of the Reagan Tokes Law. The new law subjects all F-1 and F-2 offenses, not subject to life imprisonment, to indefinite sentencing. The indefinite sentencing on qualifying F-1 and F-2 offenses is rather complicated. Graham Law can help guide you through the process.

First Degree Felonies

Ohio first degree felonies, called F-1 violations, include criminal offenses such as kidnapping, rape, and voluntary manslaughter. F-1 violations call for:

  • 3 to 11 years in prison
  • Maximum fine of $20,000

In addition, under the new indefinite sentencing law, for qualifying F-1 offenses, the judge can select a minimum term from the existing range, 3-11 years, and then the maximum term is 50% of that term. For example, if a judge sentences an offender to 10 years on an F1, the indefinite range is now 10-15 years in prison.

Second Degree Felonies

F-2 felonies often—but not always—involve violence. Examples include abduction, sexual assault, burglary of an unoccupied building, or illegally creating explosives. Ohio second degree felonies call for:

  • 2 to 8 years in prison
  • Maximum fine of $15,000

Indefinite sentencing for qualifying F-2 offenses allows the judge to select a minimum term from the existing range, 2-8 years, with a maximum term of 50% of that term. For example, a sentence of 8 years on an F-2 would result in a range of 8-12 years in prison.

For help with these and other felony sentencing nuances, it is best to speak with a Graham Law defense attorney.

Third Degree Felonies

Ohio third degree felonies include a range of crimes, some violent and some not. Perjury and bribery are examples of F-3 felonies. The court may impose:

  • 9 to 36 months in prison
  • On some qualifying offenses: 12 to 60 months in prison
  • Maximum fine of $10,000

Fourth Degree Felonies

Felonies of the fourth degree in Ohio include crimes such as motor vehicle theft, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and vehicular assault. F-4 sentencing can call for:

  • 6 to 18 months in prison
  • Maximum fine of $5,000

Fifth Degree Felonies

Fifth degree felonies are among the least severe, but they still carry punishments that are more serious than those for most misdemeanors. F-5 crimes, which include breaking and entering, theft over $1,000, and forgery, can result in:

  • 6 to 12 months in prison
  • Maximum fine of $2,500

Ohio Criminal Statute of Limitations

People who commit crimes cannot face prosecution and punishment indefinitely, with the exception of a few types of crimes, including murder. Most Ohio criminal charges must be brought within a certain amount of time, known as the statute of limitations period.

Ohio felonies have a statute of limitations of five, six, or twenty years depending on the crime. In certain cases, the clock does not begin running until the crime—or evidence of the crime—is “discovered.” Exceptions also apply to individuals who avoid prosecution by leaving the state or concealing their identity or whereabouts.

Speak With an Experienced Zanesville Criminal Defense Attorney

Your choice of attorney can make the difference between a lighter charge or dismissed charge in an Ohio felony case. Graham Law’s criminal defense lawyers offer people in trouble the legal counsel and aggressive representation they need. With offices in Zanesville and Cambridge, Ohio, we can help protect your rights from the time you are arrested and continue to represent you throughout the legal process, up to and including an appeal.

Contact Graham Law for a free case review, and keep this number in your phone for whenever and wherever you need our help: 1-800-625-8585.

Contact Us

Here's where to find us.

Zanesville Office

17 N. 4th St.
Zanesville, Ohio 43701


Cambridge Office

1230 Southgate Pkwy
Cambridge, Ohio 43725

By Appointment