The state of Ohio takes domestic violence very seriously. Not only can people found guilty of the charge face steep penalties, but the victims of domestic violence are also granted extensive rights to protect themselves from the defendant.
This can lead to outcomes that involve many years of jail time for defendants, and protective orders that substantially alter their lives and the lives of their families.
Experienced defense attorneys like those at Hiltner Trial Lawyers can help to reduce these penalties and protect their clients’ rights no matter what. But it’s important to know the potential consequences of a domestic violence charged before your case even begins.
Read on for a breakdown of the criminal penalties and civil protective orders that can be the result of a domestic violence charge in Ohio.
What counts as a domestic violence charge in Ohio?
According to Ohio law, “domestic violence” can refer to any of the following acts committed against a family member (Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31):
- Causing bodily injury
- Attempting to cause bodily harm
- 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 actions count as domestic violence if committed against 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
Criminal penalties for domestic violence in Ohio
Domestic violence might be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on a number of factors, including whether the defendant has been convicted of domestic violence before, and whether the victim was pregnant.
If the domestic violence results in physical harm or an attempt to physically harm the victim, the crime is considered a 1st degree misdemeanor by default, but may be classified as a felony if it’s a second or third offense, or if the victim was pregnant.
If the domestic violence alleged is solely a threat to cause harm, it’s considered a 4th degree misdemeanor by default, but may be classified higher if it’s a second or third offense, or if the victim was pregnant.
Here’s what the penalties for domestic violence could look like depending on how the crime is classified:
- 3rd degree misdemeanor: up to 60 days in jail or a fine up to $500
- 2nd degree misdemeanor: up to 90 days in jail or fine up to $750
- 1st degree misdemeanor: up to 6 months in jail or a fine up to $1000
- 5th degree felony: 6 to 12 months in jail or a fine up to $2500
- 4th degree felony: 6 to 18 months in jail or a fine up to $5000
- 3rd degree felony: 9 months to 3 years in jail or a fine up to $10,000.
Protective orders for domestic violence in Ohio
In addition to the criminal penalties that defendants face when accused of domestic violence, judges may also grant “protective orders” when a family member claims they have been a victim of domestic violence.
A protective order is an official court document that can grant certain legal protections to the person who asked for them, known as a petitioner. These protections can work like a restraining order, but they can also include other provisions involving child custody or who has exclusive use of the family’s residence.
Protective orders are a civil action, meaning they don’t carry any criminal penalties for the person accused of domestic violence. However, violating a protective order is a 1st degree misdemeanor, and can be punished by up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.
If the defendant has been convicted of violating a protective order before, or convicted of domestic violence twice before, then the crime is considered a 5th degree felony and is punishable by up to 6-12 months in jail or a $2,500 fine.
Hire a criminal defense attorney in Ohio today
Domestic violence is a very serious charge that can have lasting consequences on the lives of everyone involved. In cases with high stakes like these, it’s important that the defendant’s rights are respected and that they receive the most vigorous representation possible.
Hiltner Trial Lawyers can offer that kind of vigorous representation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.