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How Do Firearms Impact Sentencing?

The Ohio Revised Code provides for mandatory prison sentences when a firearm is involved in a crime. These sentences range from one, three or six-years depending on how the firearm is involved. Having a firearm on one's person or under their control carries a mandatory one-year sentence. If that firearm is displayed or brandished, or the defendant indicates that he or she has a firearm on them then it is a mandatory 3-year sentence. It is a mandatory six-year sentence for possession of an automatic firearm or one equipped with a muffler or silencer.

Sentencing Considerations

As outlined above, these prison sentences are mandatory and must be served consecutive with any other sentence imposed by the court. Defendants are not eligible for early release or good time credit reduction on the mandatory portion of the sentence. As a result, a defendant must serve every day of that specification.

Additionally, a prison sentence must be imposed along with the sentence on the specification. This means that the court must sentence a defendant to at least the minimum prison sentence required on the underlying offense. For example, a third-degree felony for drug trafficking carries a potential prison sentence of nine to 36 months. If there is a firearm specification as well, the judge must sentence the defendant to at least nine months plus the length of the specification.

In practice, this means that a defendant who otherwise would likely receive probation is sentenced to prison due to the gun specification. Although that defendant would be eligible for early release on the non-mandatory portion of the sentence, he or she must still serve a lengthy prison term due to the firearm.

Consultation with Rittgers & Rittgers

We offer free consultations in person and offer the phone. If you or a loved one has been charged with a firearm specification do not hesitate to give us a call.

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