How Do Domestic Violence Charges Work in Ohio?

If you face domestic violence charges in Ohio, you may be worried about the penalties and consequences associated with a conviction. It’s crucial to know how these charges work so you and your domestic violence attorney can prepare a robust defense.

The Definition of Domestic Violence in Ohio

The Ohio Revised Code says a person commits the crime of domestic violence if they commit any of the following actions against a member of their family or household:

  • Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm
  • Causing severe physical harm through reckless actions
  • Using threats to cause a family or household member to fear imminent physical harm

Family and household members include:

  • Current, former, and common law spouses
  • Parents and foster parents
  • Children by blood or marriage

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Ohio

Threatening harm against a family or household member is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.

Knowingly injuring or attempting to injure a household member is a first-degree misdemeanor, as is causing severe physical harm through your reckless actions. The penalties for first-degree misdemeanors in Ohio include up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

While domestic violence is a baseline misdemeanor in Ohio, repeat offenses or certain aggravating factors can lead to felony charges. In these cases, offenders face much harsher penalties, including lengthy prison sentences. Working with an experienced and capable defense lawyer can help you secure the most favorable outcome possible.

Defenses Against Ohio Domestic Violence Charges

The right defense strategy in an Ohio domestic violence case depends on the unique facts. Here are some potential approaches you and your lawyer could take in your situation:

  • Self-Defense – This strategy involves showing that you were protecting yourself from immediate harm when you allegedly harmed someone in your household. For this defense to work, you must prove that the use of force was necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.
  • False Accusations – Sometimes, misunderstandings or disputes can lead to false charges of domestic violence. In these cases, you can try to prove that the allegations against you are untrue. This might involve presenting evidence such as texts, emails, or witness statements that contradict your accuser’s story.
  • Lack of Evidence – Prosecutors must provide concrete evidence that you committed the acts as described. If the evidence is weak or contradictory, you can argue that there is insufficient proof to support the charges.
  • Accidental Harm – If the harm was not intentional but occurred accidentally in a situation where you were not acting recklessly, this could be a valid defense.

When your freedom and reputation are at stake, it’s essential to work with a knowledgeable domestic violence defense lawyer. The Akron domestic violence attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder have the experience and determination to defend you against these serious charges and work toward a favorable outcome. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.