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Domestic Violence

Defending People In Central Ohio From Domestic Violence Charges

When violence occurs between strangers or people that are outside of the family, such violence is typically categorized as assault or battery. However, when someone makes threats or commits an act of violence against their significant other, child or another family member, it is called domestic violence. Unfortunately, law enforcement and prosecutors may be in a rush to arrest and charge a person who is accused of domestic violence without getting the details straight. This rush can cause innocent people to be arrested and simple mistakes to be blown out of proportion.

At The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC, we defend people across central Ohio who are accused of domestic violence. Our attorneys have more than 15 years of criminal defense experience and are committed to thoroughly investigating client cases. You can talk to a skilled lawyer in a consultation at our Delaware office by calling 740-363-3900.

Brian Jones legal webinar interview on Domestic Violence

Charged with Domestic Violence in Ohio? What should I do?

We understand that you are in a difficult situation the moment you are charged with Domestic Violence. Your reputation suffers immediate harm; you will likely be arrested and placed in jail until you obtain a hearing in Court; you will likely be placed under a Temporary Restraining Order, potentially barring you from contact with loved ones and keeping you from your home.

This will be one of the hardest and most humiliating experiences you will go through in your life. You may be thinking the worst and that you are a “criminal”, but you are still innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to a proper defense. We represent clients in many Domestic Violence cases in Ohio. Many of these cases involve the alleged violence of a boyfriend or husband against a girlfriend or wife, but reverse cases are also just as common. Regardless of the circumstances we can assist you in defending your rights.

What Can Happen if I am Convicted of Domestic Violence?

The penalties for a DV conviction can be very serious. A conviction will be either a misdemeanor or felony conviction, and can potentially include:

  • Jail/prison time and heavy fines
  • Restrictions on firearms possession
  • Social stigma and a reputation as someone who is a danger to others
  • Difficulty in obtaining and retaining employment and professional licenses
  • Restrictions on access to and custody of your children

Contact us for assistance in defending your rights if you are charged with Domestic Violence. (740)363-3900

What is Domestic Violence?

You can be charged with a criminal Domestic Violence if you are accused of an act or threat of serious physical harm against a member of your family or household.

Examples of Domestic Violence may include:

  • Intentional harm of another person
  • Acting recklessly in a manner that causes harm to another person
  • Threatening bodily injury to another
  • Using force or threats to prevent another person from obtaining help
  • Using force or threats to prevent another person from leaving the premises

In the State of Ohio several criminal offenses constitute domestic violence, although the specific statutes might not state an individual has committed domestic violence by committing this particular act. For example, courts have determined forcible rape constitutes domestic violence although Ohio Revised Code § 2919.25 does not specifically state rape is domestic violence. Domestic violence encompasses any crime in which the perpetrator:

  • Knowingly caused or attempted to cause physical harm to a family or household member;
  • Recklessly caused serious physical harm to a family member; or
  • By threat or violence knowingly caused a family or household member to believe the offender will cause imminent physical harm

Common Domestic Violence Charges

  • Assault- Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.13

    • According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.13 assault occurs when a person knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another or another person’s unknown child or an individual recklessly causes serious physical harm to another or another person’s unborn child. The classification and penalty for assault vary depending on the facts of the case. “Simple” assault is a first degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine.
  • Aggravated Assault- Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.12

    • Aggravated assault is also considered domestic violence when the offender causes serious physical harm against a family or household member or attempts to cause physical harm by means of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim. Aggravated assault is a felony of the fourth degree. An individual convicted of aggravated assault faces up to eighteen months and/or fines up to $5,000.
  • Felonious Assault- Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.11

    • Felonious assault occurs when an individual causes serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn or causes or attempts to cause physical harm to another or another’s unborn child by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance. An individual can also be charged with felonious assault if that individual has knowledge that he or she has tested positive as a carrier of a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and knowingly engages in the following:
      • Sexual conduct without disclosing knowledge of the positive AIDS test;
      • Sexual conduct with a person whom the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe lacks mental capacity to appreciate the significance of the offender’s positive AIDS test;
      • Sexual conduct with a person under the age of eighteen, who is not the spouse of the offender.
    • Felonious assault is a second degree felony. An individual convicted of felonious assault faces up to eight years imprisonment and/or fines not to exceed $15,000.
  • Sexual Imposition- Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.06

    • Sexual imposition encompasses sexual contact that occurs against the other person’s will. An individual is considered to have committed the offense of sexual imposition when he or she has sexual contact with a person (not their spouse), caused another person (not their spouse) to have sexual contact with them, or caused two or more persons to have sexual contact when the following conditions exist:
      • Offender knew the sexual contact was offensive or conduct was reckless;
      • Offender knew the other person’s ability was substantially impaired;
      • Offender knew the other person was unaware of the sexual contact;
      • Offender was at least eighteen years of age and the other person with which he or she had sexual contact was four or more years younger. (This applies when the other person is between the ages of thirteen and sixteen); or
      • Offender is a mental health professional who induced a client or patient to believe sexual conduct was necessary for mental health treatment.
      • First offense sexual imposition is a third degree misdemeanor, punishable up to sixty days in jail and/or $500 in fines. An individual with previous convictions for sexual imposition may be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable up to 180 days in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
  • Rape – Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.02

    • Ohio’s rape statute encompasses both “forcible” rape and prohibited sexual conduct with persons whom are not the offender’s spouse. Generally, no person shall engage in forcible rape or sexual conduct with another when the offender purposely compels the other person by threat or force according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.02(A) (2). This statute applies irrespective of the offender and other person’s relationship. The general rape statute, Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.02(A)(1), prohibits an offender to engage in sexual conduct with a person not his or her spouse (or if the other person is the spouse, he or she lives separate and apart from the offender) if the following applies:
      • For the purpose of preventing resistance, the offender substantially impairs the other person’s judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception.
      • The other person is less than thirteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.
      • The other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.
    • Like sexual battery, rape is a third degree felony, punishable up to five years imprisonment and/or fines not to exceed $10,000.
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor- Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.04

    • An individual, eighteen years or older, may be charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor if he or she engages in sexual conduct with a person, not his or her spouse, who he or she knows is between the ages of thirteen and sixteen years of age. Generally, unlawful sexual conduct of a minors is a felony of the fourth degree, punishable up to eighteen months imprisonment and/or fines up to $5,000. However, if the offender is more than ten years older than the other person, a conviction for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or fines to exceed $10,000. If the offender is less than four years older than the other person, the conviction for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Maximum punishments can include jail time up to 180 days, and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • Sexual Battery- Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.03

    • Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.03 prohibits sexual conduct of another person (not the offender’s spouse) under the following circumstances:
      • Offender knowingly coerces the other person to submit by any means that would prevent resistance of a person of ordinary resolution
      • Offender knows the other person’s ability to appraise the nature or person’s own conduct is substantially impaired
      • Offender knows the other person submits because he or she is unaware the sexual conduct is being committed
      • Offender knows that the other person submits because the other person mistakenly identifies as the offender as the other person’s spouse
      • Offender is the other person’s natural or adoptive parent, or a stepparent, or guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the other person.
    • There are thirteen provisions that constitute sexual battery; however, these provisions are the most common offenses that constitute domestic violence. Generally, sexual battery is a felony of the third degree, punishable up to five years imprisonment and/or fines not to exceed $10,000.
  • Aggravated Trespass Ohio Rev. Code § 2911.211

    • All domestic violence offenses do not require the offender to cause physical harm to the victim. A crime can constitute domestic violence if the offender attempts physical harm or by threat or violence knowingly caused a family or household member to believe the offender will cause imminent physical harm. An individual may be convicted of aggravated trespass if it is proven that that he or she entered or remained on the land or premises of another person with purpose to commit a misdemeanor, which involves causing physical harm to another person or causing another person to believe the offender will cause physical harm. Aggravated trespass is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable up to 180 days imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

What is Meant by “Family or Household Member” in Ohio Law?

In Domestic Violence law, family/household members include any of the following who are residing with or have resided with the alleged offender:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Person living as an intimate partner of the offender
  • Person who has cohabited with the offender within the last five years
  • Person related by blood or affinity to a a spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Person living as an intimate partner of the offender
  • Parent
  • Foster parent
  • Child of the offender
  • The natural parent of any child for whom the offender is the other parent

What happens if I am charged with Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence charges may be brought when an alleged victim makes an accusation and calls law enforcement. When the law enforcement officer arrives he or she will make an assessment of the situation, and will most likely be making an arrest on the scene. Arrests often occur when the only evidence is a statement from the alleged victim.

Once charged, the accused can expect:

  • to spend time in jail until he/she is brought before the judge in the case
  • to be placed under and immediate Temporary Protective Order (TPO), restricting your access to the alleged victim
  • to have your firearms privileges revoked and all of your firearms confiscated for the duration of the case.

What Is A Temporary Protective Order (TPO)?

A Temporary Protective Order or TPO, is a type of a restraining order, which requires the accused to stay away from the alleged victim during the course of the criminal Domestic Violence case. This may mean that the accused will have to stay away from their home and family members until the case is resolved. The accused may be restricted from communicating with the alleged victim through in-person visits, telephone, texting, or even contact through a third party.

As difficult as this may be, it is very important that accused not violate the conditions of the TPO. A violation of the TPO is an additional criminal offense, and will result in more criminal charges against the accused.

  • For a first violation of a TPO, one can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a possible $1000 fine.
  • For repeated violations of the TPO, defendants may be charged with a felony of the fifth degree and may face up to one year in jail and a possible $2500 fine.

If placed on a Protective Order restriction, it is extremely important that the accused not contact the alleged victim in any manner or for any reason. Usually, attempts to contact the alleged victim through any means are disallowed under the Protection Order:

  • No texts
  • No phone calls
  • No emails
  • No voicemail messages
  • No social media contact, comments or likes (even emoji’s) on anything they post
  • No contacting the alleged victim through a third party

The accused often believe they can return phone calls or texts as long as the alleged victim reached out first, but don’t fall for this trap. It important to realize that these restrictions go one way and the accused could be arrested if they make any attempt to contact the alleged victim, but there is no restriction for the alleged victim to contact the accused. Still, the accused may not return phone calls, emails, letters or any other form of communication, even if initiated by the alleged victim. As long as the Protective Order is in place, the accused may not have any contact with the alleged victim. Efforts to do so may result in the accused being arrested.

How Can a Domestic Violence Charge Affect My Firearms Rights?

When charged with Domestic Violence under Ohio law, your firearms are confiscated upon your being charged with Domestic Violence. Law Enforcement retains all guns and ammunition for the duration of your case. If you are cleared of Domestic Violence charges or if you plead to a lesser offense, your guns will be returned to you, and there will likely be no permanent restrictions on your ability to possess or obtain firearms.

If convicted of Domestic Violence, you face the possibility of losing firearms privileges for life. So before pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge understand that this may be the case. In most cases, the Court is required to notify you prior to accepting your guilty plea that you face a lifelong firearms restriction across all 50 states if you are convicted of Domestic Violence.

How is Domestic Violence Charged in Ohio?

Ohio Courts and prosecutors’ offices have taken a very hard line on Domestic Violence cases. Great favor is given to victims of alleged domestic violence. When a person claims to be a victim of Domestic Violence, those charges are taken very seriously.

Depending on the seriousness of the charge, Domestic Violence can be charged as a Misdemeanor (a less serious offense) or a Felony (a very serious offense). Both misdemeanors and felonies are separated into degrees, with First Degree being the most serious. For an offense that has allegedly caused actual physical harm to the victim, a defendant could be charged with anything from a 1st degree misdemeanor to a 3rd degree felony. For threats of physical harm against another person, an offender can be charged with anything from a fourth degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor.

What if the Alleged Victim Wishes to Withdraw Domestic Violence Charges?

In many areas of Criminal Law, a prosecutor will give a great deal of weight to a victim’s request that the state withdraw criminal charges. In domestic violence cases in recent years, once the case enters the Court system, the state will most likely NOT withdraw charges even if the victim recants or decides he/she no longer wish to see charges pursued.

What if This is My First Domestic Violence Charge?

Defendants who have never been charged with Domestic Violence charges before will often be charged with a Misdemeanor, usually of the first degree (the most serious misdemeanor offense). Depending on the circumstances, a defendant is charged with a lesser offense, even a fourth degree misdemeanor. If the harm to the alleged victim is very serious, a defendant could be charged with a felony even on the first offense. Certainly, during the course of the criminal proceedings, our attorneys will attempt to convince the Court to reduce the charges to a less serious offense to even to dismiss the charges.

What if I Have Been Convicted of Domestic Violence Before?

Defendants with a prior DV conviction face a very serious charge. After a first DV conviction, defendants will be charged with a mandatory felony for any subsequent violations.

What if The Alleged Victim of Domestic Violence is Pregnant?

If the Defendant is found to have known that an alleged DV victim was pregnant, there is mandatory minimum sentence of six months to one year for a conviction. Penalties are harsher for incidents that involved actual harm to the mother and/or harm to the baby. But even threats of physical harm to a pregnant victim carries minimum jail time if convicted.

How Can I Fight Domestic Violence Charges?

Due to the seriousness of the charges and the possible of a DV conviction, it is highly recommended that you obtain an attorney as soon as possible. It is highly advisable that you hire an attorney to prior to the first hearing. It is also advisable, with a Domestic Violence charge or any other criminal charge that you not talk to any police or detectives before obtaining an attorney.

What You Need To Know About Domestic Violence

Charges of domestic violence cover more than just physical abuse. These charges encompass many kinds of behaviors, such as making threats of bodily harm or physically harming a family pet. People in Ohio can also receive domestic violence charges for psychological abuse, such as threatening a spouse to make them feel fear and terror.

One of the most damaging domestic violence allegations to a person’s reputation is an allegation of sexual abuse against children. Many people assume guilt when a person is accused of childhood sexual abuse, and a conviction can cause long-term damage to a person’s standing in their community. If you are accused of domestic sexual abuse, you should contact a skilled attorney who can communicate with law enforcement and clear your name.

In Ohio, if someone is accused of attempting to or causing physical harm, they will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor offense punishable with up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. If the person threatened to harm another, they face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. If the victim suffered serious bodily harm, then the attacker may be charged with felonious assault. In felony assault cases, the defendant could face up to eight years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Serious assault includes the physical aspect of abuse, such as slapping, hitting, punching, kicking or choking. How someone is charged will depend on the facts surrounding the case and the extent of the injuries to the victim.

Protect Your Rights. Talk To A Criminal Defense Lawyer

At The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC, we understand that there are always two sides to every story. You may have been acting out of self-defense, or your significant other may have called the police out of spite. It is important for you to know that even if the alleged domestic violence victim decides to drop all charges, the prosecutor can still move forward with the case. For parents, a conviction for domestic violence can affect your ability to get child custody and visitation.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, we urge you to call our firm 740-363-3900 or send us an email so we can begin working to reduce your charges or get them dropped altogether. Se habla español.

Civil protection orders, temporary protection orders, and no contact orders