Domestic Violence Law (OHIO)
Ohio Revised Code 2919.25 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2919.25
- No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
- No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member.
- No person, by threat of force, shall knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical
harm to the family or household member.
Often times we are unaware of what happens behind closed doors. The couple who appears happy on the surface may threaten and physically attack each other when left alone. A child who acts up may be subjected to forms of punishment too severe under the law that are outside the bounds of corporal punishment. Domestic violence victims are comprised of all races, religions, economic statuses, and genders. It can happen to anyone at any time. The offender does not necessarily have to lay a hand on the victim. The mere threat of physical harm
may constitute a domestic violence offense.
According to the Ohio Revised Code http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2919.25, a family or household member includes:
- A spouse, a person living as a spouse, or a former spouse of the offender;
- A parent or a child of the offender, or another person related by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage);
- A parent or a child of a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender, or another person related by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage) to a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender; and
- The natural parent of any child of whom the offender is the other natural parent or is the putative other natural parent.
Ohio courts have defined physical harm as “any injury, illness, or other physiological impairment, regardless of its quantity or duration.”
Ohio has a mandatory arrest policy when probable cause exists that a domestic violence incident has occurred. An arrest happens even if both parties decline to prosecute each other. A common misconception is the person who started the fight is always the person arrested. When investigating a domestic violence incident, Police make a determination as to the primary aggressor in the fight. Cross complaints or dual arrests occur depending on the circumstances.
Ohio House Bill 29, also known as “Amy’s Law,” changed the way domestic violence cases are viewed and handled in Ohio. The law was written after a domestic violence victim, Amy Rezos, was brutally attacked on two separate occasions by her estranged husband. House Bill 29 requires a Judge to consider several factors when making a determination as to bond amounts. Risk assessment factors include the dangerousness of the offender, mental health and substance abuse issues, a history of domestic violence and stalking, and any access to firearms. The suspect must appear before a Judge before being released from jail.
A Temporary Protection Order (TPO) is immediately placed in effect following a domestic violence arrest. This Order prevents the offender from having any contact with the victim, even though the offender has not been convicted of the crime. This covers all telecommunication, including, but not limited to, telephone calls, text messages, emails, and personal contact. The Protection Order
usually remains in effect for the duration of the criminal case, even if the parties reconcile. The offender may be forced to leave the marital residence and seek shelter elsewhere for the remainder of the case. Additionally, children can be listed on the Protection Order. Violating a Protection Order is an additional and separate criminal offense and may cause the Judge to revoke bail.
The Temporary Protection Order expires upon completion of the court case. If convicted, the Judge might order the Defendant to stay away from the victim. The victim can file for a Civil Protection Order at this time. These orders last for up to five years and violation of the order is a crime. With so much on the line, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can protect your rights and access to property and children.
In Ohio, a first time domestic violence conviction is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, 3 years probation, and a $1,000.00 fine. A conviction based on threats alone is punishable by up to 30 days in jail. Any subsequent arrests are charged as felonies, with prison sentences ranging from 18 months to 5 years. Violation of a Protection Order carries the same penalties as a misdemeanor of the first degree.
There are long term effects and consequences associated with a domestic violence conviction. When children are involved or witness the incident, the Police may contact Children Services and report the incident. Investigations may be initiated, with the possibility that the children will be removed from the home. If convicted, you will never be able to own, carry, or have access to a firearm. A domestic violence conviction prevents employment opportunities in certain professions, including schools and police work. A domestic violence conviction can not be expunged from your criminal record.
Domestic violence is considered a serious offense. Due to the long lasting ramifications of a conviction, it is important to contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities of domestic violence law and will fight on your behalf.