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New Legislation Takes Effect, Impacting Ohio Criminal Law


On September 30, 2021, several pieces of legislation took effect in Ohio. Some of them amend or clarify provisions of the state's criminal laws. They run the gamut of felony sentencing requirements to allowing small amounts of wine in detention facilities for religious purposes.

Below is a summary of a few of the criminal law changes:

This change concerns community control. Specifically, it provides that when a court is sentencing a felony offender to community control, it no longer has to reserve a prison term. Instead, the judge must review with the defendant the sentencing range for the crime as enumerated in O.R.C. 2929.14.

  • Return to Community Control After Technical Violations (O.R.C. 2929.15)

Changes under this statute provide that if a person under community control is sentenced to prison for a technical violation, they are not required to return to community control upon completion of the sentence. The optional return to community control applies to 90- and 180-day sanctions for technical violations.

Under the Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison (T-CAP), low-level, non-violent offenders do not have to serve their term of confinement in a Department of Rehabilitation and Correction institution. Instead, they can serve in a different type of facility, such as a jail, workhouse, community alternative sentencing center, or minimum-security jail (for non-violent misdemeanors). The changes clarify that it is optional for a county to participate in T-CAP. Additionally, the updates provide that, beginning September 1, 2022, the T-CAP program will apply to persons convicted of fourth-degree felonies.

The change updates the supervision terms for post-release control.

  • The new terms are as follows:
    • Mandatory 5 years for all felony sex crimes
    • Mandatory minimum of 2 years and up to 5 years for first-degree felonies
    • Mandatory minimum of 18 months and up to 3 years for second-degree felonies
    • Mandatory minimum of 1 year for third-degree violent felonies
    • Up to 2 years for third-degree non-violent felonies, fourth-degree felonies, and fifth-degree felonies
  • Certificate of Qualification for Employment (O.R.C. 2953.25 and 2953.31)

The changes provide that if a person is being evaluated for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment, their sealed criminal records cannot be viewed.

The update allows the Governor to let certain convictions be sealed as a part of a condition for an unconditional pardon.

Section 2915 of the Ohio Revised Code concerns gambling offenses. Various changes pertaining to instant electronic bingo were introduced into this section, such as that concerning applications for a license to conduct bingo and illegally operating as a distributor or manufacturer of bingo supplies.

  • Illegal Conveyance of Prohibited Items onto a Detention Facility Grounds (O.R.C. 2921.36)

The update allows a small amount of wine to be brought into a detention facility, so long as it is to be used for religious purposes.

Criminal laws and statutes are constantly changing, making the legal system a very complex place. That is why it is crucial if you have been charged with a crime, you entrust your case to a knowledgeable attorney.

At The Meranda Law Firm LTD, our Columbus lawyers stay current with the ever-evolving legal system, ensuring that we are well-equipped to fight for our clients and protect their rights.

For the legal representation you need, call us at (614) 707-4239 or contact us online today.