A charge of domestic violence can turn your life upside down. You may be unable to return home and have limited contact with your children while the case is pending—and a conviction carries severe penalties that can ruin your future. The only way to avoid these consequences is to build a strong defense that will get the charges dropped or penalties reduced.
Common Defenses in Ohio Domestic Violence Cases
After your arrest, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Police who respond to a call of domestic violence in Ohio can make an arrest even if there is no physical evidence that a crime occurred. Your attorney can provide you with viable defense options and gather the evidence you need.
Depending on the circumstances, your defense may involve:
- False accusations. An alleged victim may deliberately lie about some details of the incident, or even the entire incident, for a number of reasons. An accuser may bring false allegations against a defendant for spite, personal revenge for a defendant’s actions (such as cheating on a spouse), or to gain an advantage over the defendant in a divorce or child custody case. If you have been falsely accused, your attorney can look for inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s testimony and call the accuser’s credibility into question. Your attorney may also refute the charges with evidence of your character, especially if you have never been charged with domestic violence or any other violent offense before.
- Self-defense. In order to claim self-defense, a defendant must admit to the act of violence they have been charged with. However, the defendant must show that the other person was the initial aggressor and that the incident occurred because they believed there was an imminent threat to themselves or a child. Your attorney may rely on evidence to show that the accuser (or someone else) intentionally attempted to inflict physical harm to you, and you took reasonable precautions to protect yourself.
- Mislaid blame. A victim may have medical records that show assault-related injuries, but that does not mean that a defendant is the one who caused them. If you did not commit the act you have been charged with, your attorney will need to gather witnesses who will testify that you were not at the scene of the incident. If you do not have an alibi, or if you were present at the scene, you may need a witness to testify that you were not involved in the incident.
- Consent. Charges of domestic violence may be reduced if the accuser gave the defendant consent to perform an action that resulted in injury. This defense is often difficult to prove unless the alleged victim admits to giving consent.
- Lack of intent. Domestic violence involves knowingly committing an act that will most likely result in physical harm. In some cases, an accidental action may result in injury to a partner or spouse. If a defendant did not intend to cause harm or instill fear in an alleged victim, charges of domestic violence may be reduced or dismissed.
- Inconclusive proof. Criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty, so the burden of proof is not on your defense attorney, but on the prosecutor. If there is not enough evidence against you, your defense attorney may be able to have the charges against you thrown out of court. If the case goes to trial, your attorney may question the credibility of the prosecutor’s witnesses and physical evidence to give the jury a reasonable doubt about your guilt.
Are you or someone you know facing domestic violence charges?
If you are facing domestic violence charges, you need to speak with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.