Joslyn Law Firm, Domestic Violence Attorney - First-Time Domestic Violence Charge in Ohio: What to Expect
First-Time Domestic Violence Charge in Ohio: What to Expect
Domestic violence occurs when a person causes or attempts to cause injury to a family or household member. In Ohio, a family or household member includes a spouse, former spouse, child, or another relative that lives with the alleged offender.
First-time domestic violence charges are usually a misdemeanor but can be a felony in some circumstances.
Domestic violence charges arise from many different situations, including:
? Child custody disagreements,
? Heated arguments,
? Divorce disputes, and
? Situations involving drugs or alcohol.
If you are facing a first-time domestic violence charge in Ohio, you should contact a domestic violence defense attorney in Columbus today.
Ohio Domestic Violence Law
Ohio domestic violence law prohibits you from:
? Knowingly causing or attempting to cause injury to a family or household member;
? Recklessly causing or attempting to cause injury to a family or household member; or
? Threatening a family or household member with physical harm.
It is important to understand that a person can receive domestic violence charges even when they only threaten a family or household member with injury. The household or family member does not need to have suffered physical injury.
Depending on the severity of harm to the victim, a first-time domestic violence charge is either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Most first-time domestic violence charges are misdemeanors. A misdemeanor charge is less severe than a felony charge.
Misdemeanor charges for domestic violence can be in the first, second, third, or fourth degree, depending on the circumstances.
Here are the punishments for misdemeanors in ascending order of severity:
? A fourth-degree misdemeanor charge results in a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine;
? A third-degree misdemeanor charge results in a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine;
? A second-degree misdemeanor charge results in a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine; and
? A first-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand and defend against a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
In some cases, even a first-time domestic violence charge in Ohio can be a felony. However, most of the time you will be charged with a felony only if you had a previous domestic violence conviction.
Felony charges carry more severe punishments than misdemeanors. In Ohio, domestic violence charges may be in the third, fourth, or fifth degree, which carry the following punishments:
? A fifth-degree felony charge results in a punishment of up to twelve months in jail and a $2,500 fine;
? A fourth-degree felony charge results in a punishment of up to eight months in jail and a $5,000 fine; and
? A third-degree felony charge results in a punishment of up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
If you face a felony domestic violence charge, you should contact a domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Factors Affecting the Potential Punishment
Factors courts consider when determining the punishment for a first-time domestic violence charge include:
? The nature of the charges;
? The severity of the victim’s injuries;
? Whether the alleged offender knew the victim was a pregnant woman; and
? If the victim was a pregnant woman, whether the unborn fetus was harmed.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand why you might face a particular punishment for a first offense of domestic violence.
Common defenses an attorney may raise to defend against a first-time domestic violence charge include self-defense, defense of others, and innocence.
In some cases, the alleged offender is charged with domestic violence when they acted in self-defense against a family member. If you believe you acted in self-defense, an attorney might be able to help you defend against your charges.
Defense of Others
Sometimes, you might be charged with domestic violence after using force to prevent a household or family member from harming another person. If this applies to your situation, an attorney may be able to argue that you acted in defense of the other person.
Lastly, people falsely accused of domestic violence may be able to argue that they did not commit domestic violence. A household or family member may falsely accuse another of domestic violence to achieve other purposes, such as gaining the upper hand in a custody dispute. If you believe you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
If you face a first-time domestic violence charge in Ohio, a criminal defense lawyer can help you understand what your potential punishment might be and argue any potential defenses. Hiring a lawyer provides you with the best chance of having your charges reduced or even dropped.
Our Ohio criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights. We represent you as if you were our family, and we work fiercely to achieve the most favorable outcome we can in your case.
By Brian Joslyn
Contact Joslyn Law Firm for legal assistance, questions, or representation:
Joslyn Law Firm501 S High St
Columbus, OH 43215