If you or a loved on is accused of taking the life of another, the consequences can obviously be incredibly severe. In Ohio, there are multiple classifications for these types of cases.
· Aggravated murder – Also known as first-degree murder, this is the most serious charge for homicide because it involves “prior calculation and design” and other aggravating circumstances.
· Felony murder – This second-degree felony is defined as a murder that is committed while engaging in another crime, such as armed robbery.
· Voluntary manslaughter – This is when the facts support a first-degree murder charge, but the offense happened in a “sudden fit of rage” or passion.
· Involuntary manslaughter – (also known as criminally negligent homicide) This is when someone is committing a crime and takes the life of another person without the intent or design.
· Reckless homicide – This offense occurs when someone ignores the possibility and risk that their action may result in the death of another human being.
· Negligent homicide – This is when a person fails to exercise the degree of care required of a reasonable and prudent person and the result is the death of another (such as leaving a gun cabinet unlocked and causing a child’s accidental death).
· Aggravated vehicular homicide – This crime has many subcategories depending on the circumstances that caused the death of another person while an individual was operating a car or other motorized apparatus.
Ohio has mandatory sentencing guidelines for degrees and classifications of murder. The following are the maximum penalties for seven murder charges:
· Aggravated (first-degree) murder – Death penalty, life imprisonment, up to $25,000 fine
· Felony murder – Indefinite prison term ranging from 15 years to life; $15,000 maximum fine, suspension of driver’s license (depending on circumstances)
· Voluntary manslaughter – Up to 11 years imprisonment; up to $20,000 fine
· Involuntary manslaughter – If the crime or attempted crime that resulted in murder is a felony, the maximum penalty is 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; if the crime is a misdemeanor, five years maximum imprisonment and up to $10,000 fine
· Reckless homicide – Up to five years in prison and $10,000 maximum fine
· Negligent homicide – Up to six months in jail and $1,000 maximum fine
· Aggravated vehicular homicide – If charged as a first-degree felony, the maximum prison sentence of 11 years and up to $20,000 fine; if charged as a second-degree felony, the maximum prison sentence of eight years and $15,000 maximum fine; suspension of driving privileges for up to 3 years
Attorney Walter J. Benson has handled approximately thirty homicide cases during his almost three decades in practice. If you or a loved one is accused of murder, let Attorney Benson use his experience to help.