Domestic Violence Offenses

 
 

The legislature of the State of Ohio has made it a crime to cause harm, attempt to cause harm, or threaten to cause harm to family or household members.  Law enforcement officers treat this crime seriously. Under Ohio law, there is a "preferred arrest policy" for Domestic Violence offenses: if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person committed domestic violence, then the officer must arrest that person.


What constitutes a Domestic Violence Offense?

A person may be charged with Domestic Violence for any of the following reasons:

  • Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member;

  • Recklessly causing serious physical harm to a family or household member;

  • Knowingly causing a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm by threat of force.


“Family or Household Member”

Domestic violence is nearly identical to the offense of assault, except that victim of a Domestic Violence offense is a “family or household member.” A family or household member includes:

  • A spouse, a person living as a spouse, or a former spouse of the offender;

  • A parent, a foster parent, or a child of the offender, or another person related by consanguinity (blood relation) or affinity (marriage relation) to the offender;

  • 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 or affinity to a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender.

  • The natural parent of any child of whom the offender is the other natural parent or is the putative other natural parent.


Penalties

Domestic Violence is an enhanceable offense. An enhanceable offense is one that carries heightened penalties if the offender has a prior conviction. Ohio law classifies first offense Domestic Violence as a misdemeanor of the first degree (M1). However, Domestic Violence may be enhanced to a felony for any of the following reasons:

  • The offender has a prior conviction of Domestic Violence;

  • The offender has a prior conviction of an offense of violence which involved a family or household member; or

  • The victim was pregnant at the time of the offense, and the offender knew it.

A conviction of Domestic Violence is not eligible to be sealed or expunged under Ohio law.

Domestic Violence possible penalties:

  • F3 (felony of the third degree)

  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)

  • F5 (felony of the fifth degree)

  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)


COLUMBUS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY

Have you been charged with a domestic violence offense? Contact The Stavroff Law Firm today to learn about your rights and begin building your defense