Domestic Abuse and Violence
Being accused of domestic violence can be one of the toughest accusations you will ever face. Because of the relationships involved and the complexity of the laws, domestic violence cases can be wrought with emotion and stress. Every day in Ohio people are charged with domestic violence and assault offenses. Domestic violence and assault charges can range from a fourth degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail to a first degree felony punishable by 3-11 years in prison.
In most cases, when a person is charged with domestic violence, they are also charged with assault. On the other hand, if you are charged with assault and the alleged victim is not a family or household member, you will not be charged with domestic violence.
Ohio criminal courts are extremely tough on domestic violence related charges. They are very unlikely to cut you any slack or give you any benefit of the doubt. To defend yourself, you are going to need an aggressive defense lawyer to fight back and protect you and your legal rights in a case like this.
We know what you are going through because we have represented clients in similar situations. We understand the heartache and stress you might be feeling and want to help.
When it feels like no one in the system has your best interests in mind, let us reassure you. Domestic violence law is set up to protect the victim. The courts want to know that no one will be hurt and because of this the system can seem overbearing and unfair for someone charged with the offense.
Many minor disagreements, even when absolutely no one is hurt, can result in a domestic assault arrest. The police are taught to arrest first and sort out the facts later.
What is Domestic Violence under Ohio Law?
When talking about domestic violence it is important to note that the offense does not have to occur between spouses. The term “domestic” applies to any of the following relationships:
- Someone you share a child with
- Any family member (sibling, aunt, etc)
- Parent or child
- Live in girlfriend/boyfriend
- Relatives by marriage
More than likely, you were immediately arrested on the day if the incident. If you are lucky enough to be granted bail, a temporary restraining order will be put in place to ensure you and the alleged victim do not have contact pending future court dates.
What kind of domestic violence charge and penalties you will be facing and the subsequent sentence depend on what occurred the day of the incident.
If you are accused of…
- Attempting to cause or causing bodily harm you will face Class I misdemeanor charges which carry a potential sentence of up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
- Threatening or causing a family or household member to believe that physical harm will be caused, you will face Class IV misdemeanorcharges which carry a possible penalty of up to 30 days in jail and $250 in fines.
Ref: ORC 2919.25
If the incident that led to your arrest resulted in more serious damage to the alleged victim you could be facing additional assault charges. Depending on the extent of the injuries, assault carries up to 8 years in prison and fines into the several thousands.
In addition to jail time and fines, the judge will likely order you to an anger management class or counseling. If appropriate and drug and alcohol evaluation may also be ordered.
If convicted, the protection order issued at the time of the incident will be extended to a more long term basis. These protection orders can dictate your location relative to the victim as well as arrange child support and custody arrangements.
Domestic violence charges are a very serious matter and not something you want to face alone. Putting your future in someone else’s hands is quite frightening and we understand you want to be sure your defense lawyer is doing everything possible to protect and defend you.
But there are options, so don’t give up hope. We may be able to argue for dropping criminal charges in exchange for counseling or anger management classes. Getting the risk of a criminal conviction off the table is usually the first priority in a domestic violence defense.