Domestic violence accusations can have immediate and serious consequences. Domestic violence jail time can range from 30 days (4th degree misdemeanor) to 6 months (1st degree misdemeanor) to over a year (felony) or more depending on the circumstances.
Aside from jail time, people tend to assume the worst, and domestic violence accusations can tarnish your reputation even before you have a chance to fight the charges. Knowing the law about domestic violence in Ohio can help you face the challenges that arise after a domestic violence charge.
What Is Domestic Violence?
According to Ohio state statutes, both actual and intended or threatened harm to a household member are considered domestic violence. In Ohio, domestic violence includes intentionally causing or attempting to cause harm to a family or household member. It also includes recklessly causing serious physical harm to a household or family member. Even actions that were not specifically intended to harm someone can be domestic violence.
Threats of physical force are also considered domestic violence if they are intended to make a household or family member believe that physical harm is imminent. A family member does not have to suffer any visible injuries to make a claim for domestic violence.
Ohio law defines “family or household member” as a spouse, former spouse, partner, parent, foster parent, child, or any other relative who is residing or has resided with you. The definition also includes the natural parent of any child of whom you are the other natural parent, regardless of where they reside.
Common Domestic Violence Scenarios
Domestic violence includes harmful contact such as slapping, choking, pushing, any type of hitting, and physical restraint. It can also include actions that do not result in harmful physical contact. Throwing things at a person or brandishing weapons or sharp objects to threaten someone can be considered domestic violence.
How Much Time Do You Get in Jail for Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence charges and jail time look different depending on the situation. If you have never been convicted or pleaded guilty to domestic violence before, you could face a first degree misdemeanor conviction for actual or attempted harm.
A first time conviction for threatened harm is a fourth degree misdemeanor. The judge has the final say about sentencing, but domestic violence jail time can range between 0 to 30 days for a fourth degree misdemeanor and up to six months for a first degree misdemeanor. Both convictions may result in fines in addition to jail time.
The consequences are more severe if you have a prior conviction for domestic violence. With priors, actual or attempted harm becomes a fourth degree felony and threatened harm becomes a second degree misdemeanor.
A fourth degree felony conviction may result in six to 18 months of jail time. In addition, if you knew that the household member bringing the charges was pregnant at the time of the alleged incident, you can face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six to twelve months.
Finally, a domestic violence conviction in Ohio will always remain on one’s record as they are currently not offenses that are eligible to be sealed or expunged.
Domestic violence charges carry serious penalties. It is important to talk to an experienced defense attorney right away if you have been charged with domestic violence.
There are a few defenses you can use to fight a charge and avoid domestic violence jail time. A skilled defense attorney will know which defense is best for you.
Burden of Proof
Criminal charges such as domestic violence require that the prosecution prove your guilt. Your attorney can defend you against a domestic violence charge by casting enough doubt on the prosecutor’s evidence. If the prosecution does not meet their burden of proof, you must be found not guilty.
Your accuser may have a reason to falsely accuse you of domestic violence. Domestic violence accusations can affect divorce proceedings and child custody and visitation rights. A spouse or partner may make a false accusation to get a certain custody outcome or a better divorce settlement. A skilled attorney may be able to help you prove that the domestic violence allegations against you are false.
Self defense is another possible defense to domestic violence. An attorney can help you establish that you were using reasonable force to defend yourself against intentional harm from the other party.
How We Can Help
At Gounaris Abboud, our attorneys have combined experience of more than 50 years and a history of producing results for our clients. Our criminal defense lawyers are ready to listen to the details of your situation and advise you on your next steps.
Contact us today at 937-222-1515 to discuss your case with a bold, dedicated Ohio defense attorney.