In a domestic violence case it is sometimes difficult to know who will be the complainant and who will be the defendant. Often a verbal or physical altercation occurs in which both family members participate. Law enforcement may decide to side with the caller, but it is also not uncommon for them to side with the accused and charge the caller. Domestic violence (DV) charges in Ohio are frequently accompanied by assault, and disorderly conduct charges (DOC) once police arrive on the scene.
Being accused of domestic violence can destroy your relationships and reputation. The consequences of being convicted of a DV charge can last a lifetime, since they are not sealable in Ohio and most other states.
What Constitutes a Domestic Violence Charge in Ohio?
Domestic violence in Ohio is a serious offense, encompassing a wide range of abusive behaviors. Ohio State Law (ORC3113.31) defines Domestic Violence as attempting to cause or recklessly causing harm against a family member or individuals living together.
Furthermore, the term Domestic is attributed to a spouse, former spouse, parent, foster parent or child. The term Violence includes physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse, or the threat of such abuse.
Is Domestic Violence a Felony?
- In Ohio domestic violence offenses are charged as either a misdemeanor of the 1st degree (M1) or a mid to low level felony of the 3rd, 4th, or 5th degree (F3, F4, or F5) depending on the level of injury, if the victim is pregnant, and the defendant’s prior record.
- An M1 DV conviction can result in penalties such as 180 days in jail, fines, probation, mandatory counseling, and restraining orders..
- A mid-level felony, such as an F3 can result in up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each count.
Domestic Violence, Menacing, Stalking, and Violations of Protection Order
If you have been accused of DV, it is not uncommon that defendants end up with a charge or a conviction for menacing, stalking or aggravated menacing.
- Menacing - knowingly causing another person to believe they will be harmed
- Aggravated Menacing - causing another to believe they will cause serious physical harm
- Stalking - engaging in a pattern of behavior to cause mental distress or fear of physical harm.
- Additional criminal charges can unfold during a DV investigation or accusation, such as sexual assault and violation of a protection order. Both can carry severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines.
If you are confronted with a DV charge or accusation, you should not attempt to “work things out” with the alleged victim, especially if a restraining order is in place. It will constitute a violation of the protection order, and you will go to jail.
The proven approach is to act now by contacting a qualified Ohio criminal defense attorney.
It is the first and best step toward asserting your rights and/or your innocence.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me Fight a Domestic Violence Charge?
Ohio’s legal system takes domestic violence cases seriously. The courts will usually provide a victim’s advocate. Although a victim’s advocate role is to provide emotional support for an alleged victim, they often become yet another person in the cadre of people against the accused, whose only advocate will likely be an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.
Just because a defendant is arrested for domestic violence, it doesn’t mean they are guilty. One would think American citizens would understand “Innocent until proven guilty” best of all. Unfortunately, that is not the philosophy of many on social media who condemn a defendant without knowing a single fact of the case. Family dynamics are different for every household and arguments often go both ways. It is important to have an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to fight for your rights and make sure you are considered innocent until a preponderance of evidence demonstrates otherwise.
An Ohio criminal defense firm experienced in domestic violence will immediately launch their own investigation to uncover the real story, possible ways to demonstrate a lack of grounds for an indictment, and reduce or eliminate jail time.
An experienced Central Ohio criminal defense attorney is ready to defend your rights today!
Written for Jones Holistic Defense, LLC, formerly The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC
by Dr. Benjamin Jackoby, Dr. Hank Jackoby
Ohio Revised Code: https://codes.ohio.gov