A SHIFT IN OHIO FELONY SENTENCING
The stakes just got higher.
Prior to 1996, individuals sentenced in Ohio were facing sentences which were largely indeterminate. This meant that felony defendants didn’t necessarily know an exact number of years in prison they may be serving, but were often facing a range of time, determined by the Ohio Parole Board.
In 1996, Ohio passed legislation known as our “Truth in Sentencing” initiative, which has been regarded as perhaps the nation’s most honest truth-in-sentencing law. Ohio’s truth in sentencing laws guaranteed that most people sent to prison served the exact sentence which was imposed in open Court. Judges had the discretion to give an exact number of years in prison, and upon the completion of that sentence, an individual was pretty much guaranteed to regain his or her freedom.
New Ohio legislation, effective March 22, 2019, has now done away with our 1996 initiative to restore Truth-in-Sentencing. For a felony offense committed on or after that date, a defendant may no longer be sentenced to a number of years in prison, but rather may be sentenced to a range of years.
This means that if you are convicted of a first or second-degree felony, you will no longer be sentenced to a definite prison term. Previously, you could be sentenced to anywhere between 3 and 11 years in prison for a standard first-degree felony. However, you will now be sentenced to a minimum term, plus one half of that minimum term. The actual number of years you serve will be up to the Ohio Parole Board.
What does this mean for people charged with High Level Felonies?
The functional result of this change is no small issue. For example, those convicted of a standard first-degree felony were historically facing a maximum potential prison term of eleven years. Starting March 22, 2019, a person facing a standard first-degree felony could now be facing up to sixteen and a half years in prison (a “minimum” of eleven years, plus one half of that minimum).
In short, THE STAKES JUST GOT HIGHER for anyone charged with a felony of the first or second degree. Reach out to learn more about the penalties you might be facing. More importantly, reach out for a case evaluation to discuss how your case can be defended.
DISCLAIMER: The foregoing is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as commentary an any specific case. The foregoing information does not establish any attorney client relationship between publisher and reader.