Exploring Different Types of Weapons Charges and Their Penalties in Ohio

Weapons charges are among the most serious criminal offenses in Ohio. Being convicted of a weapons crime can lead to severe penalties, including years in prison. 

With so much at stake, it is critical to understand the different types of weapons charges and potential penalties you could face.

In this article, we will explore some of the most common weapons charges in Ohio and the potential penalties defendants could face if convicted.

Types of Weapons Charges in Ohio

There are a number of offenses that can lead to weapons charges in Ohio. Some of the most common weapons charges we see include:

Illegal Possession of a Firearm

It is a felony for a convicted felon to possess a firearm in Ohio. Penalties vary based on your criminal history but could include 1-5 years in prison. Those convicted of a drug offense or domestic violence misdemeanor are also prohibited from possessing firearms.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit

Carrying a concealed deadly weapon is a misdemeanor offense in Ohio unless you have a valid concealed carry permit. Penalties include fines and up to 180 days in jail. The charge becomes a felony if the weapon was loaded at the time.

Improper Discharge of a Firearm

Mishandling or improperly discharging a firearm can also lead to criminal charges in Ohio. For example, discharging a firearm near a school or home is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Unlawful Transportation of Firearms

State law forbids the movement of certain weapons – including firearms, knives, and other dangerous devices – under particular circumstances.

According to the State Code, it is against the law to carry a firearm or dangerous weapon in a vehicle, boat, or plane if:

  • The firearm or dangerous weapon is accessible to the driver or any passenger without exiting the vehicle.
  • The firearm or dangerous weapon is not transported in appropriate containers like a case, holster, or box.

Breaking the rules on moving weapons illegally has penalties based on the situation. Transporting barred firearms or weapons this way is a serious crime. Offenders face up to 18 months of jail time and fines of up to $5,000.

Banned Persons Possessing Weapons

State law prohibits specific individuals from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons due to their background or other risks to public safety.

Per the State Code, it is against the law for prohibited persons to intentionally get, hold, carry, or use any firearm or dangerous weapon.

Banned persons include those who:

  • Have convictions for violent offenses like murder, manslaughter, or assault.
  • Have convictions for drug crimes like trafficking or possession with intent to distribute.
  • Were ruled mentally incompetent or admitted to a mental facility.
  • Are fleeing from justice.
  • Have convictions for certain domestic abuse offenses.
  • Are under age 18.

It is a serious crime for a prohibited person to possess a firearm. Offenders face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Penalties for Weapons Crimes in Ohio

The penalties you face for a weapons charge depend on the severity and circumstances of the offense. Some of the potential penalties include:

  • Misdemeanors – Jail time up to 180 days, fines up to $1,000
  • Fourth-Degree Felonies – Fines of up to $5,000 for 6 to 18 months in prison.
  • Third-Degree Felonies – 9 months to 3 years in prison, fines up to $10,000
  • Second-degree Felonies – Fines up to $15,000, 2 to 8 years in prison.
  • First-Degree Felonies – Fines up to $20,000, 3 to 11 years in prison.

In addition to incarceration, weapons charges can also result in probation, license suspension, forfeiture of firearms, and other consequences. Those convicted of a felony weapons offense will lose their right to possess firearms under Ohio law. 

With so much at stake, it’s no wonder why most defendants enlist the help of qualified weapons charges lawyers to defend their cases.

Aggravating Circumstances: When State Crimes Become Federal Weapons Charges

There are also a number of federal laws regulating the possession, sale, and use of firearms and weapons. Some examples of federal weapons crimes include:

  • Firearm possession by a prohibited person
  • Possession of an unregistered firearm
  • Trafficking firearms without a license
  • Transfer of a firearm to a prohibited person
  • Possession of a machine gun
  • Using a firearm during a violent crime or drug trafficking offense

Penalties at the federal level tend to be harsher than state charges. Even simple possession of a firearm by a felon carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison. Other federal weapons crimes can result in decades behind bars.

Working with a Skilled Ohio Weapons Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with any weapons offense in Ohio, it is critical that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

An attorney can carefully examine the facts of your case and build the strongest possible defense on your behalf. They may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed through effective negotiation or by filing motions to suppress evidence.

Weapons crimes can carry severe consequences that follow you for years. Contact The Botnick Law Firm online for an initial consultation to investigate your options and prepare the strongest possible defense.