Violent Crimes

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and are consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced violent crimes lawyers in Columbus, OH and all of central Ohio. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case-by-case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

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Violent Crimes Lawyer in Columbus, OH

In the broad scope of Ohio’s punishable criminal offenses, few crimes are as serious as those labeled “violent offenses.” As a result, a person charged with a violent crime in Columbus faces heavy penalties, including hefty fines, imprisonment, and possibly the death penalty in the most severe cases.

If Columbus police are investigating you for a violent crime, such as rape, murder, or aggravated assault, your freedom, livelihood, and reputation are at stake. Now is the time to seek the counsel of a defense attorney who can step in to protect your rights.

The violent crimes lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm do not judge. We believe strongly in protecting the people of Columbus who stand accused of crimes, and we have the experience and knowledge to execute this mission. Our firm has handled more than 20,000 criminal cases in Ohio.

We are highly regarded throughout the legal community and have received multiple awards acknowledging our abilities and dedication. For example, Brian Joslyn, our principal attorney, has been named one of Ohio’s “Top 10” criminal defense lawyers by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. The esteemed SuperLawyers rating group has also designated Joslyn a “Rising Star.”

Joslyn appears in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers as well, and he has achieved the highest rank of AV Preeminent—a prestigious designation awarded only to those with the highest level of professional excellence.

Columbus Defense Lawyer for Violent Crimes

Someone who stands accused of a violent crime counts on their attorney’s dedication—a willingness to leave no stone unturned in the defense of their client. We have this passion at Joslyn Law Firm, and our court victories highlight the difference this commitment makes in a case. We aim to dismantle the prosecution’s case, and our lawyers know what this entails.

We will get your side of the story and launch our own investigation of the events leading to your arrest. For example, our lawyers will look for any indication that your rights were violated. Perhaps officers obtained evidence without a warrant or probable cause, failed to Mirandize you or honor your right to legal counsel, or mishandled evidence through the chain of custody.

Our firm is empowered by Brian Joslyn’s knowledge and experience, as well as the insights of a former Hamilton County assistant prosecuting attorney and a former Hamilton County public defender. We have a deep familiarity with Columbus courts, judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and courtroom staff—everyone and everything that plays a pivotal role in the outcome of your case.

If you are from the Columbus, Ohio, area and have been accused of a violent crime, call Joslyn Law Firm today at (614) 444-1900 for a free consultation.

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Violent Crimes in Columbus, Ohio Information Center

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Violent Crimes in Columbus

Columbus, along with many areas in central Ohio, has seen a sharp incline in violent crimes in recent years. On June 4, 2021, ABC6 reported 86 homicides since the start of the year. The spike represents an 87-percent higher rate than from the same period in 2020—and that was already a “historic year,” according to Commander Robert Strausbaugh of the Columbus Police Major Crimes Bureau.

However, violent offenses are not limited to murder. Any crime in which the offender uses, attempts to use, or threatens physical force against another individual constitutes a violent crime. The Ohio Revised Code outlines all of the violent criminal offenses recognized by the state. We review a sampling of these crimes below.

Kidnapping – Ohio Revised Code Section 2905.01

This offense occurs if a person restrains the liberty of another person—through force, threat, or deception, or by any means if the victim is under 13 or mentally incompetent—in order to:

  • Hold the victim for ransom or as a shield or hostage
  • Commit any felony
  • Terrorize or inflict serious physical harm on the victim or another person
  • Engage in sexual activity with the victim against their will
  • Obstruct a governmental function
  • Keep in involuntary servitude

Kidnapping can be charged as a felony of the first or second degree.

Assault – Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.13

This offense occurs when a person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another person or a person’s unborn child.

Depending on the victim of the offense and where the offense occurred, assault can be a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third, fourth or fifth degree.

Aggravated Assault – Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.12

This offense is defined as causing serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn child, either when provoked or in the heat of passion or rage. It also includes causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn child by using a deadly weapon.

Ohio law treats aggravated assault as either a felony of the third or fourth degree, depending on the victim.

Voluntary Manslaughter – Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.03

A person can be charged with this offense if they knowingly cause the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy by:

  • The heat of passion or rage
  • Serious provocation by the victim

Voluntary manslaughter is a felony of the first degree.

Involuntary Manslaughter – Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.04

This offense can occur if a person causes the death of another or unlawfully terminates the pregnancy of another by:

  • Committing or attempting to commit a felony
  • Attempting to commit or committing a misdemeanor or other regulatory offense

This crime is a felony of the first degree if it occurs during the commission of another felony offense. Otherwise, it is a felony of the third degree if it occurs during a misdemeanor.

Murder/Homicide – Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.02

A person can be charged with this crime if they purposefully cause another’s death or unlawfully terminate another’s pregnancy. A person can also receive this charge if they cause the death of another person during the commission of a first- or second-degree felony.

Robbery – Ohio Revised Code Section 2911.02

A person can be charged with this offense if:

  • They have a deadly weapon on their body or under their control.
  • They inflict, attempt to inflict, or threaten to inflict physical harm on another person.
  • They use or threaten immediate force against another while attempting or committing a theft—or while immediately fleeing after the attempt or commission of a theft.

Robbery can be a felony of the third, second, or first degree, depending on whether the offender uses a deadly weapon or actually inflicts harm on the victim.

Forcible Rape – Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02

A person who engages in sexual conduct with someone else by force or threat of force faces charges of rape. In Ohio, this offense constitutes a first-degree felony.

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Penalties for Violent Crimes in Franklin County

Convictions for violent crimes in Ohio can lead to harsh punishments and severe sentences. Even misdemeanor violent crime offenses can result in prison time and fines. Many violent crimes also require a mandatory prison sentence.

The following list describes the Ohio Revised Code’s basic sentencing guidelines for those convicted of violent crimes. However, penalties can vary depending on the victim, the degree of the offense, and whether the defendant has a criminal history:

  • Misdemeanor of the First Degree: This crime can lead to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony of the Fifth Degree: A person convicted of this offense could face imprisonment from six months to one year and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.
  • Felony of the Fourth Degree: A conviction for a fourth-degree felony can result in imprisonment from six to 18 months and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Felony of the Third Degree: Violent offenses in this degree can result in a prison sentence from one to five years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Felony of the Second Degree: These offenses can lead to imprisonment from two to eight years and/or a fine of no more than $15,000.
  • Felony of the First Degree: A person convicted for violent offenses in this degree can face imprisonment from three to ten years and/or a fine not exceeding $20,000.
  • Murder: A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to an aggravated murder offense can be sentenced to death or life in prison and/or fined $25,000. Meanwhile, a person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to murder can be imprisoned for 15 years to life and/or fined up to $15,000. If the murder involved a victim under 13 years old or was a sexually motivated offense, the penalty can include a mandatory prison sentence.

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Evidence in a Columbus Violent Crimes Case

Ohio Revised Code Section 2901.05 stipulates that a person who has been charged with a violent crime in Columbus is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is extremely important. It means you walk into a courtroom innocent, and it is up to the prosecution to prove your guilt.

Prosecutors must show evidence that proves all the elements of the offense as described in the Ohio Revised Code. Failure to provide sufficient evidence could lead to a dismissal or a reduction of these charges.

How Our Attorneys Serving Ohio Work with Evidence

Our law firm will analyze the prosecution’s evidence against you. Piece by piece, we will look for ways to weaken the case enough to create reasonable doubt. We will also look for grounds for suppressing key pieces of evidence.

For example, if police conducted an unlawful search and seizure, we would file a motion to suppress any evidence seized as a result of this violation of your Fourth Amendment right. If the judge grants our motion, this evidence—along with any evidence gathered as a result of the illegally obtained evidence—will be suppressed.

Our lawyers will seek out any way in which your rights may have been violated and implement this strategy accordingly. If we strip enough evidence, the prosecutor will no longer have a case against you and may drop the charges.

We will also work to weaken any remaining evidence by:

  • Cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses
  • Exposing contradictory points in the prosecutor’s case
  • Presenting our own witnesses who might make the jury think twice about the prosecution’s version of events

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Defenses Against Violent Crimes Charges in Ohio

When someone has been accused of a violent crime in Ohio, multiple defenses could reduce or even result in a dismissal of the charges against the defendant. Our criminal defense attorneys will identify any mitigating factors and raise any possible defenses to the charges in your particular situation.

You didn’t know you were committing a crime

Many violent crimes require the element of knowingly causing an injury to another person or knowingly committing an offense. If the prosecution cannot prove that you had the required knowledge when committing the offense, your charges could be dismissed or reduced to a less serious charge.

Your actions were justified

Justification for committing a violent crime may also apply if the action is necessary in preventing further harm.

You acted in self-defense

If a person reasonably believed that an individual’s conduct was about to cause death or serious bodily injury, our lawyers could argue that using deadly force for protection was justified. A person can also use non-deadly force to defend against another person’s use of force against them.

You were defending someone else

In the interest of defending a third party, a person may use physical force against another individual. This requires that the defendant reasonably believes the third party is about to be harmed. Likewise, deadly force may be used if death or serious bodily injury is imminent to the third party.

You were defending your property

Our lawyers could also defend the use of force against a person if there was a reasonable belief that they were committing or about to commit property damage. Meanwhile, deadly force is justifiable against an intruder if you reasonably believed the intruder was going to commit a crime after unlawfully entering your home, residence, or occupied vehicle.

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Additional Resources for Violent Crimes in Columbus

The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC)

NCVC is an organization seeking to help crime victims rebuild their lives after they have suffered a violent crime. The organization provides resources for individuals and families that have been victims of violent crimes.

The Innocence Project

This organization is dedicated to exonerating those wrongfully convicted of violent crimes through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent similar injustices in the future.

Ohio Attorney General

The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer protecting Ohio’s citizens, and this site provides more information for those who have been victims of violent crimes.

Ohio’s Attorney General can be contacted at:

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-4986

United Health Foundation – America’s Health Rankings: Violent Crime in Ohio

The United Health Foundation compiled this report about violent crime trends in Ohio using data from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The chart tracks violent crime (rapes, murders, aggravated assaults, and robberies) from 1987 to 2019. Ohio’s numbers are matched against those for the United States at large.

Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Prevention Program

This program aims to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence by identifying their needs and creating programs to address them. It provides health services, education, and more to promote awareness of domestic and sexual violence issues, as well as prevention efforts.

Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS)

This resource allows visitors to search crime data from law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio that have been reported to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. You can find quarterly crime reports from major cities in Ohio from past years here, among other statistics.

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News About Violent Crimes in Ohio

September 28, 2021

“Ohio State Providing Students with Free Personal Safety Devices Amid Increase in Crime Near Campus”

In response to an uptick in violent crimes on campus, Ohio State will be giving students free personal safety devices in the form of alarms that they can trigger in unsafe situations. The sound from the alarm travels up to 225 feet, and the student can stop the alarm when they feel safe.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced the city’s additional funding of $20 million to be applied to campus safety efforts, including the addition of more cameras and lighting, as well as security officers and an expanded Lyft Ride Smart service. Off-campus students will also receive free door and window alarms and light timers.

September 20, 2021

“Number of Gunshot Wound Victims Being Admitted, Most Grant Medical Center Has Seen”

ABC6 reports that Columbus’ surge in violent crimes has stressed local hospitals. The number of trauma victims being admitted to these facilities tops anything that hospital surgeons have seen.

Dr. Urmil Pandya, Trauma Medical Director at Grant Medical Center, reports that the past 12 months have brought up to 74 percent more gunshot wound patients. A shortage of beds, nurses, and supplies makes the swell of violent crime victims even harder to manage.

September 3, 2021

“Recent Violent Crime Prompts New Safety Initiatives in Short North”

After a reported 25 percent spike in violent crimes over the last year, the Short North area will instill new safety initiatives, according to 10WBNS. Dedicated police officers will patrol Short North under a new initiative called the Short North Crime Interdiction Pilot program.

Furthermore, the Violence and Injury Prevention Work Group will select individuals to conceive solutions to thwart crime in the Short North arts district and residential area. The safety initiatives also include a continuation of the Short North Ambassador Program, aimed at offering safety and clean-up support for the community.

September 3, 2021

“String of Armed Robberies Add to Recent Pattern of Violent Crime in Short North Area”

The Columbus Dispatch reports a crime spree spanning late night Friday and early morning Saturday. The same three assailants targeted people in six armed robberies. The crimes occurred in the Short North area.

Police suspect that the pattern of violent crime in the area involves “known associates”—some of them teenagers—who began this criminal activity in July. The pattern of increased violent crime echoes a wave of such activity across Columbus and other parts of central Ohio.

September 3, 2021

“24-Hour Police Sweep Nets Illegal Guns, Wanted Felons, and Illegal Drivers”

A 24-hour sweep of neighborhoods around James Road and Livingston Avenue aimed to clean the areas of “dangerous entities,” according to NBC4. Called “Operation Unity,” this effort from Franklin County police doubled as an opportunity to teach residents about community safety.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant issued a statement in which she stated that violent crime statistics in this area made it a logical place to execute the safety initiative. Columbus CARE Coalition also had social workers on hand to consult with crime victims, homeless people, and other victims of trauma.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Violent Crimes Charges in Franklin County

Q. What Are Considered Violent Crimes in Ohio?

A. Crimes that involve intentional harm or threats of violence to another person are charged as violent crimes in Ohio. Examples of violent crimes include:

  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Murder/homicide

Q. What Are Some Defenses Against Violent Crime Charges in Ohio?

A. The defense best suited in a violent crime case depends on the offense, as well as facts and circumstances specific to a case. Common defenses for these types of crimes include:

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Self-defense
  • Justification
  • Defense of others
  • Defense of property

Q. Will I Go to Prison for a Violent Crime in Ohio?

A. The Ohio Revised Code outlines the penalties associated with every type of criminal violation. Many violent offenses could lead to time behind bars, as well as hefty financial penalties and fines. Some crimes require mandatory prison sentences.

Even certain misdemeanors could result in a convicted offender spending time in jail or prison. Factors like the involvement of a child victim, a history of violent crimes, and the degree of the offense also play a role in determining penalties after a conviction.

Q. What Are the Penalties for Murder in Ohio?

A. A conviction for aggravated murder could result in the defendant being sentenced to death or serving life in prison and/or a fine of $25,000. A murder conviction could end with a sentence of 15 years to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000. Penalties increase for murders involving child victims and for those that were sexually motivated. For these offenses, a conviction could include a mandatory prison sentence.

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Columbus Violent Crimes Lawyers

Contact Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your assault or violent crime charge in Columbus, Ohio. Hiring an Ohio criminal defense lawyer who has experience with these types of cases can be crucial to protecting your rights and freedoms. Our legal team will use our experience and passion for defending the rights of the accused in fighting against these charges.

Call (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your violent crime charges in Franklin County or another Ohio county, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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