Domestic violence charges are serious business in Ohio. Second or third offenses can result in sentences as high as 3 years in jail or a fine of up to $10,000.
If you’re charged with domestic violence in Ohio, the first step you should take is to consult with a domestic violence defense attorney to discuss your case and plan your defense.
Whether the accusations are accurate or not, you are entitled to an experienced defense attorney committed to representing your interests and defending your rights as a defendant. So what are some of the ways that you can defend yourself against charges of domestic violence?
Read on for defense attorney Max Hiltner’s breakdown on how to defend yourself against domestic violence charges in Ohio.
What counts as domestic violence in Ohio?
In Ohio, “domestic violence” is defined by the Ohio Revised Code Article 3113.31 and can include any of the following acts:
- Causing bodily injury
- Threatening someone with physical harm
- Any act that counts as “child abuse” under section 2151.031 of the Revised Code
- A sexually oriented offense
These acts are considered domestic violence if they are committed against a “family member,” which can mean any of the following people:
- Current or former spouses
- A partner the defendant has lived with in the last five years
- Parents or foster parents
- Extended family members
- A parent or child of the defendant’s spouse, former spouse, or romantic partner
- An extended family member of the defendant’s spouse, former spouse, or romantic partner
Common defenses against domestic violence in Ohio?
If you are charged with domestic violence, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from getting serious jail time. The most important thing you can do is get in contact with a criminal defense attorney and discuss the details of your case.
Once you’ve hired a defense attorney, there are a number of common defenses that you and your attorney could pursue:
- Self-defense: In many cases, the instance of domestic violence wasn’t a clear-cut act committed by one person against the other. If you want to claim that you were acting in self-defense, the State will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you weren’t defending yourself. In Ohio, the burden of disproving self-defense is now on the State.
- False allegations: It may be the case that what you are accused of simply didn’t happen, or didn’t happen in the way that your accuser claims. If this is the case, you may be able to present evidence to prove that you didn’t do what you are accused of. You and your attorney might be able to look for inconsistencies in your accuser’s testimony or a history of false allegations to support your case.
- Insufficient evidence: In domestic violence cases, the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to prove that you did what you are accused of. If the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prove that the allegations are true, your case may be dropped, or you may be found not guilty in trial. This is also where inconsistent testimony and prior false allegations can come into play.
- Accuser changes their mind: It’s common in domestic violence cases that the accuser seeks to either not cooperate with the prosecution or changes their mind on pressing charges. Although once charges are filed the State is in control of whether or not to dismiss the case, the prosecution will likely not pursue the case any further or offer a plea to a lesser charge if the accuser is changing their story or reluctant to cooperate.
What do to if you’re charged with domestic violence in Ohio
All of these are valid options for defending yourself against domestic violence charges in Ohio. However, before you begin mounting your defense, you should reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
At Hiltner Trial Lawyers, we have the experience and knowledge of the law necessary to defend our clients against any domestic violence charge. Whether you did commit an act of violence or not, we can represent your interests and make sure that the court comes to a conclusion that is best for everyone and respects your rights as a defendant.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.