Myth or Fact: Is there a “Mike Tyson Rule” in Ohio? (Part 2)

Felonious Assault, pursuant to ORC 2903.11, states:

(A)  No person shall knowingly do either of the following:

(1)   Cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn;

(2)   Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance.

A violation of this statute would be categorized as a felony of the second degree and carry a potential punishment of 2-8 years in prison.  If the victim is a peace officer, then the offense would be categorized as a felony of the first degree and carry a potential sentence of 3-11 years in prison.

Aggravated Assault, pursuant to ORC 2903.12, states:

(A)  No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden passion or in a sudden fit or rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly:

(1)    Cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn;

(2)    Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance

A violation of this statute would be categorized as a felony of the fourth degree and carry a potential punishment of 6-18 months in prison.  If the victim is a peace officer, then the offense would be categorized as a felony of the third degree and carry a potential sentence of 9-36 months in prison.

As you can see, Felonious Assault and Aggravated Assault are very similar.  The distinction being that an Aggravated Assault is a Felonious Assault in which there was serious provocation brought on by the victim.  There are two ways to commit these felony-level assaults – by causing serious physical harm to another or by causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another with a deadly weapon.

With regards to causing “serious physical harm”, any voluntary action causing serious physical harm is sufficient.  No deadly weapon is required.  If the offender is in a fistfight, it does not matter whether or not the offender is a professional fighter or has special training or abilities.

With regards to causing or attempting to cause “physical harm” with a “deadly weapon”, this is where the definition of “deadly weapon” is critical in determining whether the Mike Tyson Rule applies, as it merely requires attempting to cause physical harm to another.  Thus, if the Mike Tyson Rule applied, if such a person threw a single punch and missed, he/she could be charged with a Felonious Assault.

ORC 2923.11(A) defines “Deadly Weapon” as being “any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.”  Thus, the definition appears to be limited to  foreign objects and does not apply to body parts, such as fists.

Therefore, under Ohio Law, there is no provision for a “Mike Tyson Law”.  All offenders are treated the same in determining the nature and degree of the offense, regardless of any special abilities that he/she may have.

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About Jon Horwitz

Jon Horwitz is an experienced criminal defense lawyer dedicated to helping people charged of a crime. He is dedicated to providing honest, straightforward advice and advocacy in order to get the best possible result for each client. Jon currently lives in Centerville with his wife and two children. He coaches basketball through the Centerville Hustle organization and is a former soccer coach. He continues to play soccer and is an avid fan of the sport.

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