In Ohio, criminal harassment is a serious issue that can carry severe repercussions for an individual facing charges. As such, it’s crucial to get a grasp on your particular charge, as well as the potential consequences and viable legal defenses available. 

The most common harassment-related charges in Ohio include the following:

Groping/Sexual Imposition

In Ohio, sexual contact without the other person’s consent is illegal. The law defines “sexual contact” as the touching of another person’s thigh, genitals, pubic region, buttock, or, if the other individual is a female, her breasts.

This type of behavior falls under what is known as “sexual imposition,” commonly referred to as groping. It’s considered a third-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. If you’re convicted of this charge, you could face severe penalties, including up to 60 days in prison. 

Public Indecency

In Ohio, the law unequivocally forbids reckless exposure of one’s private parts, as well as sexual conduct and masturbation in public spaces. This is known as public indecency.

Flashing or exposure is categorized as a fourth-degree misdemeanor and can warrant up to 30 days in jail. Actions like masturbation and other types of sexual conduct elevate the degree of offense further. They are charged as third-degree misdemeanors, carrying harsher consequences, such as incarceration for up to 60 days.

Menacing By Stalking

Under Ohio law, menacing by stalking is a serious criminal offense. If you engage in a pattern of conduct or behavior that causes another person to fear for their safety or mental well-being, your actions can lead to arrest.

Usually, menacing by stalking yields a sentence of up to 180 days in jail. However, if there are certain aggravating circumstances related to your case – such as repeated violations or threats involving weapons – it may elevate the crime’s seriousness. In these cases, it can be charged as a felony instead, leading to extended time behind bars.


In Ohio, menacing is generally classified as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. You can be charged with this crime if you intentionally create a state of perceived threat towards another person involving harm to them, their property, their unborn child, or members of their immediate family.

The threats must be direct; they could involve using third parties or other means.

If found guilty of menacing, penalties include up to 30 days in jail and fines amounting to up to $250. Additionally, you may face probation for up to five years.

Aggravated Menacing 

In Ohio, aggravated menacing is considered a more serious offense than menacing, and it’s classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. To be charged with this, you must knowingly threaten another person – or their property or family – with severe physical harm. The threats can be conveyed either directly or indirectly, but they have to incite significant fear.

The penalties for an aggravated menacing conviction are steeper than those associated with simple menacing. You could face up to 180 days in jail, pay fines up to $1,000, and potentially serve probation for five years if convicted.

There are several viable legal defenses your attorney can raise to counter harassment charges. Some of the most common include the following: 

False Allegations

One commonly used defense strategy is claiming false accusations – alleging that someone has wrongly accused you of harassment with ulterior motives or due to some misunderstanding.

One of the most common ways to use this defense involves disputing your accuser’s credibility. This entails questioning their reliability and truthfulness based on their past actions or inconsistencies in their statement about the alleged incident.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

A violation of constitutional rights can also undermine a prosecutor’s case against you. For instance, if your right to due process was violated at any point during investigation or trial procedures, certain evidence or statements may be inadmissible. This could lead to a motion to suppress and help poke holes in the prosecutor’s case against you.

Insufficient Evidence

Insufficient evidence is another commonly used defensive strategy in harassment cases. This defense suggests that the case against you lacks adequate proof to establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Contact a Dayton Criminal Defense Attorney If You’ve Been Accused of Harassment

Ohio law takes harassment charges very seriously, but being charged does not automatically mean you will be found guilty. Every defendant has a right to defend themselves against accusations made in court, and the best way to do this is with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
If you need help with a harassment charge, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (937) 531-0435 or visit us at our Dayton law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402
United States