If you have been charged with domestic violence in Ohio, it is no exaggeration to say that your entire future hangs in the balance. Under state law, a conviction of domestic violence will stay on your record forever—it cannot be expunged or sealed. For this reason, you need to hire the right lawyer who can get your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser crime, such as disorderly conduct.
Legal Penalties If You Are Convicted of Domestic Violence in Ohio
Domestic violence covers a broad range of offenses against a member of your family or household, from threats of physical harm to serious acts of violence. The potential penalties you will face depend on the circumstances of the incident, the evidence against you, and whether your accuser sustained a physical injury.
Ohio law imposes different penalties for:
- Misdemeanor offenses. If you committed a first offense that resulted in minimal injury, you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor (or a fourth-degree misdemeanor for a threat of physical harm). Conviction may result in a jail sentence up to six months and a $1,000 fine, but first-time offenders may be able to get probation in lieu of jail time.
- Felony charges. If the alleged victim suffered serious injuries, you could be charged with a felony even on your first offense. A fifth-degree felony domestic violence offense carries a prison term of up to one year and fines up to $2,500. Fourth-degree felony offenses may mean up to 18 months imprisonment and fines up to $5,000. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. A second-degree felony could lead to eight years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
- Prior convictions. If you were previously convicted of domestic violence, a misdemeanor charged against you may be bumped up to a fourth-degree felony. If you had more than one previous conviction, the charges may be raised to a third-degree felony.
Potential Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge
While the above penalties only apply to defendants who are found guilty, there are other consequences that defendants suffer from the moment they are arrested. Even an accusation of violence against someone you love is enough for some people to change the way they feel about you—including people you thought were your friends.
A charge of domestic violence can cause immediate and irreparable harm to your:
- Reputation. Allegations of domestic violence carry a serious stigma, affecting your relationships with friends and family, your social life, and your standing in the community.
- Career. In addition to time off work for jail and court appearances, your job may be at risk if your colleagues learn about the charges against you.
- Housing situation. Once you sign a temporary protection order (TPO), you are expected to stay away from all of the protected parties included in the document—even if you share a home. This means you may have to find a new place to live until the order expires.
- Ability to possess a firearm. After you are arrested, your firearm privileges will be revoked, and all of your guns will be confiscated for the duration of the case. However, if you are convicted of domestic violence, you face the possibility of losing firearms privileges in all 50 states for the rest of your life.
- Relationship with your children. Your access to your children may be restricted as part of a TPO, even if the allegations against you did not involve your children. The loss of contact will not only be painful—it can also affect future custody of your children.
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.