Domestic violence is a serious offense that can carry felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the circumstances of the incident. If you have been arrested for domestic violence before, it is vital that you inform your lawyer of any past domestic violence charges or convictions. Repeat offenders can expect to face much more severe legal penalties if they are convicted again.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Increase With Each Conviction
In Ohio, any person who knowingly or recklessly causes physical harm to a family or household member can be charged with domestic violence. For a first offense, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, or a fourth-degree misdemeanor for a threat of physical harm.
However, the penalties get more and more severe with the number of prior convictions. For example, if you have:
- One prior conviction. If you have been convicted of domestic violence once before, a second offense can be prosecuted as a fourth-degree felony (threatening to cause harm is also elevated to a second-degree misdemeanor).
- Two or more prior convictions. After two or more convictions, any subsequent offenses will be charged as third-degree felonies (threatening to cause harm will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor). Under Ohio law, a third-degree felony may result in one to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Hurt someone you knew was pregnant. If your alleged victim was pregnant at the time you knowingly or recklessly inflicted physical harm, you can be charged with a fifth-degree felony. If the incident of domestic violence resulted in the termination of the pregnancy or caused serious harm to the unborn child, the court may impose a mandatory prison term of up to one year.
You can see why it is vital to challenge the charges you are facing rather than accept a conviction. Our domestic violence defense attorneys can fight the allegations against you and represent you at your protection order hearing. Call The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams at (513) 929-9333 today for your free case evaluation.