What Is a First-Degree Misdemeanor in Ohio?

A first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio is regarded as the most serious offense, such as petty theft, driving under suspension, assault, making false reports of child abuse and domestic violence. A person of any age who commits a first-degree misdemeanor is eligible for punishment by the law. These convictions can leave a permanent record that can be accessed by the public.

In Ohio, misdemeanors are classified into five classes, including first, second, third and fourth degree. The last class is the minor misdemeanors, which are only punished through fines. First-degree misdemeanors have a jail term up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000. A person can avoid a jail term in lieu of other penalties, such as license suspension, counseling or community service.

Drug and driving under the influence charges in Ohio have a mandatory minimum sentence provisions. Drug-related offenders in Ohio receive a mandatory license suspension for 6 months to 3 years regardless of whether the car was involved in the case. A person who is driving under a suspended license gets a jail sentence while repeat offenders may be compelled to submit a vehicle forfeiture.

Not all cases are eligible for expungement. If a first-degree offender was 18 years of age at the time of the offense, he or she can qualify for expungement. Domestic violence offenses can also be considered for expungement.