In Ohio, to be charged with domestic violence, you have to cause or attempt to cause physical harm against a family member. However, the level of harm caused can vary widely, and does not even have to be intentional to result in an arrest.
Three Different Factors in Ohio Domestic Violence Charges
Judges take into account the specific circumstances of the incident, as well as the language of the law. For example, the may look at determine whether you were provoked into a response, who was present at the time of the altercation, the seriousness of the injuries, whether you have been convicted of a domestic violence before, the relationship between the people involved, and where the incident took place. Any of these factors can affect the potential punishment you could receive if convicted.
Next, the judge will have to consider whether your actions constituted domestic violence. In Ohio, this means any action between households or family members that results in:
- Intentional physical harm. If you purposely tried to hurt a household member, the standard of harm required is lower than if your actions were accidental. Any injury “regardless of its gravity or duration” is sufficient to result in charges, although the severity of the injury may factor into the punishment.
- Reckless physical harm. If you accidentally injured a household or family member, it must have resulted in serious physical harm for you to be charged and/or convicted of domestic violence. For example, if you break a mirror and a piece of the broken glass hits and cuts the alleged victim, this could be considered domestic violence if the injury is "serious" physical harm. This is defined as any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death, physical harm that results in permanent incapacity or temporary but substantial incapacity, physical harm that results in permanent disfigurement, injuries causing substantial suffering or prolonged pain, or a mental illness that is serious enough to require hospitalization or prolonged psychiatric treatment.
- A threat of immediate physical harm. A threat may also constitute domestic violence as long as the threat of danger was imminent and the alleged victim believed that they were in danger of physical harm. A threat made over the phone from several states away is much less likely to be “imminent” than a threat made in person. In addition, immediate action may not be clear in conditional threats (such as “if you do this, I will break your arm”).
It is very important that you consult with an experienced criminal attorney to advise you on the penalties and defenses of a domestic violence charge. Even if you don't believe you will be sentenced to jail for your first offense, domestic violence convictions can never be expunged and if you are charged again it will escalate the offense to a felony.
There may be several valid legal defenses to domestic violence available to you. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get to work building an effective legal strategy. Our legal team can investigate the facts of your case and determine the best way to get the charges dropped or getting a not guilty verdict. Call The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams at (513) 929-9333 today for your free case evaluation.