What Is the Difference Between Assault & Domestic Violence?

Criminal Defense

June 18, 2024

Ohio takes charges of assault and domestic violence very seriously, and both can come with harsh penalties if convicted. However, as the two crimes often involve similar behaviors, it is essential to understand their differences.

If you face assault or domestic violence charges in Ohio, enlisting the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights and options. 

What Constitutes Assault Under Ohio Law?

Assault charges apply when a person knowingly causes or attempts to cause bodily harm to another person or an unborn child, or recklessly causes them serious bodily harm. Aggravated assault charges may apply if the accused acted under sudden passion or rage, which is why domestic disputes can often lead to both domestic violence and assault charges. 

Simple assault convictions are usually first-degree misdemeanors, while aggravated assault is a fourth-degree felony. Causing severe harm with or without a deadly weapon constitutes felonious assault, a second-degree felony carrying a penalty of two to eight years imprisonment.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Ohio

In Ohio, domestic violence charges apply when a person:

  • Knowingly causes or attempts to cause bodily harm to a family or household member,
  • Recklessly causes serious bodily harm to them, or 
  • Threatens force causing them to fear imminent bodily harm

Penalties vary based on factors like the severity of injuries, prior offenses, and whether the victim was pregnant. First offenses are typically first-degree misdemeanors, while repeat offenses can be charged as felonies with lengthier sentences and higher fines.

How Domestic Violence and Assault Charges Intersect

Because causing harm to a family member constitutes both domestic violence and assault, it is common for a person to face charges for both crimes simultaneously. This can lead to compounded penalties, with longer prison terms and steeper fines. The assault is usually considered aggravated due to the emotionally charged nature of domestic disputes. While provisions exist to arrest both parties in some cases, police typically arrest the primary instigator based on factors like history of abuse, defensive injuries, and severity of harm.

Court Orders in Domestic Violence and Assault Cases

In domestic violence and assault cases, courts commonly issue temporary protection orders (TPOs), which order the accused to stay away from the accuser if they request one. These can transition to long-term civil protection orders (CPOs), which may be valid for up to five years. CPOs can also make determinations about child support, visitation, and property. 

Contact an Experienced Akron Criminal Defense Attorney

Being convicted of assault or domestic violence charges can have a severe and long-lasting effect on your life. With so much at stake, working with a seasoned Ohio criminal defense attorney is essential to safeguard your future. The skilled Akron criminal defense lawyers at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder are committed to working with you to develop a comprehensive defense strategy based on your unique circumstances.

Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can fight for you.