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Seasoned Domestic Violence Lawyer in Dayton, Ohio

Seasoned Domestic Violence Lawyer in Dayton, Ohio

Are you facing domestic violence charges? At Gounaris Abboud, our Dayton domestic violence lawyers work hard to protect you from the state and lessen the impact your charges have on your life.

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Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys for Domestic Violence Charges in Dayton, OH

Domestic violence charges carry serious penalties, stigma, and collateral damage. Gounaris Abboud works diligently to protect its clients from these outcomes and restore their lives. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Dayton or anywhere else throughout Montgomery County, give our team a call to get started on your defense. Remember, a charge is not the end of the story but only the beginning.

From the moment you contact our team, we get to work immediately to preserve your freedom and liberties. With a domestic violence charge, you face not only prison and fines but also damaging collateral consequences, such as loss of child custody, sex offender designation, and employment problems. Call Gounaris Abboud to protect your future!

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Ohio

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Ohio

Section 2919.25 of the Ohio Revised Code defines domestic violence as knowingly or recklessly causing harm to a family or household member. It also goes about defining domestic violence as the threat of force used against a family or household member that causes them to reasonably be in fear of an imminent attack.

For domestic violence purposes, a family member or household member is defined as a person who has lived or currently lives with a person suspected of domestic violence.

They are either:

  • A spouse or former spouse, including a person living as a spouse.
  • A parent, foster parent, or other relative by marriage or blood.
  • The parents and children of spouses and former spouses or of persons related by blood or marriage.

Unmarried parents are also considered to be household members or family because they share a child, even if they have never lived with one another.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence in Ohio?

Domestic disagreements are part and parcel of all marriages. When violence occurs, the state may step in with criminal charges. But what actions qualify as domestic violence and are arrestable?

The following may be used to form the basis of a domestic violence charge in Ohio:

  • Pushing, pulling, and grabbing
  • Striking, punching, and kicking
  • Throwing objects
  • Use of deception to cause harm
  • Setting traps
  • Hitting with an object
  • Threatening violence as a consequence or in general
  • Harm to a pregnant woman resulting in fetal harm

The state may also technically bring charges for domestic violence in cases involving corporal punishment, such as spanking. Although this is controversial, the law is clear on this matter and may conflict with certain established traditions and cultures of families in Ohio. A domestic violence case may be opened and lead to criminal charges. When this occurs, it is crucial to contact a defense lawyer to mount a strong defense to protect your freedom.

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Ohio

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Ohio

The severity of Ohio domestic violence penalties depends on the facts of each case and whether you’re a first-time or repeat offender.

A Dayton, OH criminal defense attorney can help you determine what penalties might apply to your case.

First-Time vs. Repeat Offenders

The penalty for a first-time charge of misdemeanor domestic violence is a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Ohio also has enhanced penalties for a second offense, even if it comes years later, meaning that a second domestic violence charge is a felony punishable by 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Factors that Affect the Severity of the Charge

Factors that the State of Ohio takes into consideration when determining whether to charge a person with a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence include:

  • Whether the alleged offender has prior domestic violence offenses
  • The nature of the crime
  • The severity of the victim’s injuries
  • Whether the alleged offender knew the victim was a pregnant woman
  • If the victim was pregnant, whether the unborn was harmed
  • A domestic violence lawyer can help defend against either a misdemeanor or a felony domestic violence charge.

Domestic Violence Penalties Overview

Type of Offense Description Penalty
Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor Knowingly makes a family or household member fear immediate physical harm. Up to 30 days in jail and/or Up to $250 in fines.
Third-Degree Misdemeanor Knowingly places a pregnant family or household member in fear of immediate physical harm. Up to 60 days in jail and/or Up to $500 in fines.
Second-Degree Misdemeanor Has 1 prior domestic violence conviction and knowingly threatens immediate physical harm against a family or household member. Up to 90 days in jail and/or Up to $750 in fines.
First-Degree Misdemeanor – Knowingly causes or tries to cause harm to a family or household member. 

– Recklessly causes serious physical harm to a family or household member. 

– Has 2 prior domestic violence convictions and knowingly makes a family or household member fear immediate harm.

Up to 6 months in jail and/or Up to $1,000 in fines.
Fifth-Degree Felony Knew the family or household member was pregnant and either: 

– Knowingly caused or threatened to cause physical harm. 

– Recklessly caused serious physical harm.

Up to 12 months in prison, with a mandatory minimum of:

– 6 months. 

– or 12 months if the offender caused serious physical harm to an unborn or termination of pregnancy. 

– and/or Up to $2,500 in fines.

Fourth-Degree Felony Has 1 prior domestic violence charge and:

– Knowingly caused or attempting to cause physical harm to a household or family member.

 – Recklessly caused serious physical harm to a household or family member.

Up to 18 months in prison, with a mandatory minimum of: 

– 6 months. 

Or 12 months if an unborn was seriously physically harmed or a pregnancy was terminated because of the conduct. 

– and/or Up to $5,000 in fines.

Third-Degree Felony Has 2 prior domestic violence convictions and either: 

– Knowingly caused or tried to cause harm to a family or household member.

– Recklessly causes serious physical harm to a family or household member.

Up to 3 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of: 

– 6 months. 

or 12 months, if serious physical harm was caused to an unborn or a pregnancy, was terminated as a result of the offense. 

– and/or Up to $10,000 in fines.

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Court Process

The court process for domestic violence cases generally has three steps: the arraignment hearing, pre-trial hearing, and trial.

Arraignment Hearing

First, a person accused of domestic violence has an arraignment hearing within a reasonable time of their arrest.

At the hearing, the judge informs them of the crime they are charged with.

The defendant is asked to enter into a plea, usually by pleading either guilty or not guilty.

The judge also sets bail at the arraignment hearing.

Pre-Trial Hearing

The next step in the process is the pre-trial hearing.

At the pre-trial hearing, the defense attorney reviews the prosecutor’s evidence against the defendant.

Additionally, the defense lawyer and prosecutor can discuss the admissibility of evidence.

The admissibility of certain evidence is important because it can have a major impact on the outcome of the case.


In some criminal cases, the defendant has the opportunity to enter into a plea bargain to avoid trial.

A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and defense where the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest.

In return, the prosecution drops or reduces one or more charges or agrees to recommend a particular sentence.


If the defendant does not enter into a plea bargain, the case proceeds to trial.

At trial, both sides present their cases as to why the defendant is either guilty or not guilty.

What Are Possible Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges?

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Dayton, OH, the domestic violence charges defense lawyers at Gounaris Abboud are ready to provide you with the Constitutional defense you deserve. The state prosecutes domestic violence cases vigorously, and you need a solid defense to rely on. Depending on the facts of your case, we may potentially avail ourselves of one or more of the following defenses.

False Allegations

Sometimes a household or family member might falsely claim that you harmed or attempted to harm them.

A household or family member might claim this to achieve some other motive.

For example, a former spouse might claim that you falsely harmed him or her to get custody of a child or gain leverage in a divorce proceeding.

You should contact a domestic violence lawyer today if you believe you were wrongly accused of domestic violence.

Defense of Others

Sometimes, you might be accused of domestic violence when you use force to prevent a household or family member from harming someone.

If this is the case, you may be able to argue that you were defending the other person.

A lawyer can help you understand whether this argument could defeat a domestic violence charge.


Additionally, you might be accused of domestic violence when using force to defend yourself against a family member.

If you believe you acted in self-defense and were charged with domestic violence, you should talk to an attorney today.

Lack of Evidence

Evidence is an essential piece of all criminal cases. Typically, the state must present various forms of evidence to get a conviction. However, if uncorroborated victim testimony is all the prosecution has, the defense attorney of record may be able to effectively get the charges thrown out.

Other types of evidence the prosecution might use to prove their case include witness testimony, video footage, and evidence of injury. When it comes to the witness testimony, law enforcement will sometimes hang their whole case on it when no other forms of evidence exist. In cases such as these, the defendant’s future is in jeopardy, and you should consult with an experienced defense lawyer for guidance.

An Accident

Accidents and injuries do indeed happen among household and family members. However, an accident is not enough to warrant a domestic violence charge. Without reckless or intentional actions, the defense attorney can argue to get the charges dropped. For example, negligence that leads to serious physical harm to a child may result in a neglect or abuse charge but not a charge of domestic violence.

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How Can Our Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You?

When you hire Gounaris Abboud to represent you, we do everything in our power to get you a favorable resolution, including:


Personalized Strategies

We listen closely to your version of events to build the most appropriate defenses for you against your domestic violence charges.


Comprehensive Investigation

We perform thorough investigations of the domestic violence incident and allegations in question and collect exculpatory evidence.


Robust Legal Defense

We interview and cross-examine witnesses in your case during investigations, depositions, and at trial to get to the truth of the incident.


Negotiations in Your Favor

We work diligently during negotiations with the prosecution to obtain favorable outcomes, such as dropped or dismissed charges, reduced charges, and reduced penalties.


Aggressive Representation

We fiercely represent you in court in front of a judge or a judge and jury, helping you understand the appeals process if necessary.


Defense of Your Future

We help you avoid some or all of the collateral damage associated with domestic violence charges, such as employment and housing issues.

Whatever your issues, you can rely on our team of domestic violence lawyers to fight hard to defend you to the end.

Why Choose Gounaris Abboud, LPA?

50+ Years of Experience

50+ Years of Experience

Highlight the firm's extensive experience in handling domestic violence cases in Dayton.
Client-Centered Approach

Client-Centered Approach

Stress the firm's commitment to personalized attention and tailored strategies for each client.
Track Record of Success

Track Record of Success

Mention past successes in achieving favorable outcomes for clients facing domestic violence charges.
Compassionate Support

Compassionate Support

Assure clients of compassionate support throughout the legal process, understanding the sensitivity of domestic violence cases.
Hear What<span class="subtitle">Our Clients Are Saying</span>

Hear WhatOur Clients Are Saying

I found Gounaris and Abboud through good online reviews. Mr. Abboud handled my cases very professionally for two years. He truly takes his cases to heart and cares about his clients. He keeps you informed and has all the answers to all your questions. You really feel safe with Mr. Abboud as your lawyer. I would highly recommend him to anyone needing professional family law representation.
Patty M.
They did absolutely everything possible to help reduce the sentence and charges faced. The fees for their services were worth every cent and superior to any public defendant representation. They both put their hearts into their work and care like nobody else I have ever encountered in the legal system.
Melinda Q.
Attorney Nick Gounaris handled my case and he did a wonderful job. I am very pleased with this law firm. I have never been in the situation I found myself in ever before and it was scary and confusing, but Nick and his staff were wonderful with answering my many questions and they were very sympathetic and understanding, always quick to respond when I would call. I am happy with the outcome of my case. If you find yourself in a situation that needs legal help, these are the guys to call!
Melinda Q.
I thought I was in a no win situation until I met these gentleman. They are smart, aggressive, dedicated, connected and CAN GET THE JOB DONE.
James O.
They did absolutely everything possible to help reduce the sentence and charges faced. They both put their heart into their work and care like nobody else.
Karis F.
I have never been in the situation I found myself in ever before and it was scary and confusing, but Nick and his staff were wonderful with answering my questions.
Melinda Q.

Contact Our Domestic Violence Lawyer Today!

Been charged with domestic violence? Don't fret. The Ohio domestic violence lawyers at Gounaris Abboud are ready to vigorously defend you against the state. Call for a free consultation today.
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How do domestic violence arrests happen in Ohio?

In Ohio, domestic violence arrests are like any other arrest and require probable cause to be valid. Probable cause can come from statements made by the parties to the incident or any other legally obtained evidence. If both parties refuse to make statements, the police may still proceed with an arrest with the proper evidence. Generally speaking, officers tend to seek out the primary aggressor when responding to a domestic violence call.

Unfortunately, people get arrested who should not be arrested. Others who are arrested have their civil rights trampled in the process. In these and every other case involving a domestic violence arrest, arrestees are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel as soon after an arrest as possible.

An experienced defense lawyer can do much good work at the early stages of the criminal justice process. For example, a defense attorney can help ensure that you make bail early on so you won’t spend unnecessary time in jail.

What is Amy's law, and how can it impact your case?

Amy’s Law addresses bail in criminal cases involving domestic violence. The basic underlying purpose of the law, which was passed in 2005, is to prevent certain offenders from making bail. It is named after Amy Jones, who was severely beaten by her husband and then almost killed by him after his release on bail. Her husband would also attempt a contract killing to end her life, but he was discovered.

Proponents of the law argued that it was too easy for certain violent offenders to get released on bail in domestic violence cases and that the criminal justice system should have a mechanism in place to prevent cases like Amy’s.

With the passage of Amy’s Law, police are now required to fill out a hazard assessment form consisting of 20 questions relating to the arrestee and the incident in question. The information gleaned from the 20 questions is used by a judge to assess bail and the defendant’s likelihood of committing another violent act.

Can a domestic violence charge be dropped?

Yes. Domestic charges may indeed be dropped. However, the victim does not decide. Only the prosecution or a judge has the authority to drop or dismiss a charge. Even if the victim decides to recant their testimony, the state can still prosecute based on other available evidence.

For example, if a victim refuses to testify but video evidence exists, the prosecution will use the video evidence instead of dropping the case. However, in many cases, the victim’s testimony is crucial to the state’s case.

Domestic Violence Resources in Dayton

If you have questions about domestic violence charges, an experienced domestic violence attorney can give you answers and help you protect your best interests. The Dayton criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud have represented hundreds of clients against domestic violence allegations and have helped victims access resources. Call today to get help from one of our experienced domestic violence attorneys.

Resources are available to help Dayton victims of domestic violence and their loved ones protect themselves and others in harm’s way and deal with the many issues and consequences associated with domestic violence.

Some of these resources include:

Dayton Domestic Violence Services & 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline

(937) 461-4357 (HELP).


The National Sex Assault Hotline — 1(800)-656-4673.

Ohio Domestic Violence Network

Resources are available to all parties who are part of a domestic violence case.

Dayton Domestic Violence Shelters lists shelters where domestic violence victims can find refuge.

The Ohio Sexual Assault Response Network

Round-the-clock hotline meant to address Dayton sex crimes with a response team.