The statute of limitations on domestic violence in Ohio is important to keep in mind if preparing for a potential trial.
This law prevents the government from prosecuting people accused of certain crimes if a set amount of time has passed since the crime took place.
So how much time must pass after a domestic violence incident before the Ohio government loses its power to prosecute that case? Experienced defense attorney Max Hiltner dives into the details below.
The statute of limitations on domestic violence in Ohio
In general, the statute of limitations in Ohio is based on the category of the crime. There are also specific crimes such as murder, sex offenses, and other crimes that have specified time limits associated with them.
Murder, for example, has no statute of limitations in Ohio. This means that a case for murder can be filed at any time.
The statute of limitations for domestic violence, on the other hand, does not have specified time limits associated with it. It applies to the general time limits for felonies and misdemeanors.
Here are the statutes of limitations for domestic violence in Ohio:
- Two years for misdemeanors
- Six years for felonies
Whether the incident of domestic violence is considered a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the circumstances of the crime.
How does the statute of limitations work?
The purpose of statutes of limitations is to motivate the police and prosecution to work on cases quickly. This allows more time to take these cases to court, and preserves evidence that could otherwise degrade over time.
It also serves to protect the accused, as evidence of their innocence could be lost over time as well.
In the case of misdemeanor domestic violence, for example, an incident that occurs on January 1st, 2020, could no longer be charged after January 1st, 2022. As the statute of limitations would have passed, neither the victim nor the police could press charges.
However, if a person files a domestic violence report, charges typically occur in the hours or days after the report was filed. This is why it’s important to work with experienced Ohio defense attorneys to protect your rights.
What is considered domestic violence in Ohio?
Domestic violence refers to the act of causing intentional harm, or threat to cause harm, to another person who is a member of your family or household.
According to Ohio Revised Code Article 3113.31, the act could include causing bodily injury, threatening to injure, a sexually oriented offense, or an act that counts as “child abuse.” The victim is considered a member of your family or household if they are a current or former spouse, have lived with you, parents or foster parents, children, extended family, etc.
We dig deeper on the criteria of domestic violence and how to defend yourself against this charge in our previous blog, defending yourself against a domestic violence charge in Ohio.
Work with an experienced Ohio defense attorney
Many domestic violence charges fall well within the statute of limitations, meaning that the Ohio government has full power to prosecute the accused.
When this happens, you need a sharp team of trial lawyers on your side. At Hiltner Trial Lawyers, we have the experience and knowledge of the law necessary to defend our clients against any domestic violence charge. We will represent your interests and ensure that the court comes to a ruling that serves everyone and respects your rights.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.