It is illegal to cause physical harm to another person. This crime is known as ASSAULT. Assault has varying degrees, depending on multiple factors including the gravity of harm caused and the victim of the assault.

Assault is classified as an offense of violence under Ohio law. The penalties for Assault offense differ based on whether the victim sustains PHYSICAL HARM or SERIOUS PHYSICAL HARM.

Some assault convictions are eligible to be sealed and expunged. However, more serious assault convictions are not eligible for sealing and expungement. 

Physical Harm vs. Serious Physical Harm?


  • Any injury, illness, or other physiological impairment.
  • Regardless of gravity or duration.


  • Any mental illness of such gravity as would normally require hospitalization or prolonged psychiatric treatment.
  • Any physical harm that carries substantial risk of death, some permanent incapacity, permanent disfigurement, or acute pain.


SIMPLE ASSAULT (sometimes called MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT or just ASSAULT) is usually a misdemeanor-level offense. To be charged with SIMPLE ASSAULT, one must knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another person, or recklessly cause or attempt to cause serious physical harm to another person.

SIMPLE ASSAULT possible penalties:

  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)

Negligent Assault

In addition to knowingly or recklessly causing physical harm to another person, Ohio makes it a criminal offense to negligently cause, by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous ordnance, physical harm to another person. This offense is known as NEGLIGENT ASSAULT. Negligence means a substantial lapse of due care. More specifically, failing to perceive or avoid a risk that may cause a certain result. NEGLIGENT ASSAULT requires the offender to use a deadly weapon (e.g., a gun, knife, etc.) or dangerous ordnance (e.g., any explosive device).

NEGLIGENT ASSAULT possible penalties:

  • M3 (misdemeanor of the third degree)


A scenario that can happen quickly: a person does or says something hurtful to another person; so hurtful that it provokes the other person to engage in violent behavior. This scenario, when someone is under the influence of a sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage brought on by serious provocation the victim, is called AGGRAVATED ASSAULT under Ohio law. Here, the law does not complete excuse a person who causes serious physical harm to another person simply because the victim was provoking the offender. Rather, the law lessens the penalty for such conduct: whereas most assaults that result in serious physical are higher level felony offenses (see Felonious Assault below), AGGRAVATED ASSAULT is a lower level felony.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT possible penalties:

  • F3 (felony of the third degree)
  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)


The most serious version of Assault under Ohio law is FELONIOUS ASSAULT. It is a criminal offense to knowingly cause serious physical harm to another person. FELONIOUS ASSAULT makes it illegal for a person to knowingly engaging in sexual activity, having knowledge that that person has been diagnosed with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), without first disclosing the diagnosis.

FELONIOUS ASSAULT possible penalties:

  • F1 (felony of the first degree)
  • F2 (felony of the second degree)


Ohio defines a "peace officer" as police officers, deputy sheriffs, and other law enforcement officers. ASSAULT OF A PEACE OFFICER is a serious criminal offense that may results in prison time. The minimum penalty for this offense is a F4 (felony of the fourth degree), but can increase depending on the injuries caused to the peace officer.

ASSAULT OF A PEACE OFFICER possible penalties:

  • F3 (felony of the third degree)
  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)

Columbus Assault Attorney

Contact The Stavroff Law Firm today to learn about your rights and begin building your defense.