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Columbus Domestic Violence Lawyer

When you mention Domestic violence (also known as “DV”) cases, most people think of a guy from the 1950s in a tank top tee shirt who routinely puts his wife and kids in the hospital whenever there is a disagreement.  But the reality is quite different.  Domestic violence allegations arise from almost any situation, including heated arguments, situations where the parties are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in child custody cases, and in divorce cases where one party is trying to gain a more favorable position.

Unfortunately, with increasing social pressure and the media placing a spotlight on domestic violence crimes law enforcement, prosecutors and courts are handing out strict penalties for those accused and charged with domestic violence. The penalties for a domestic violence charge can be devastating. Penalties for a DV charge can include jail, prison, fines, loss of gun rights, loss of employment, loss of certain professional licenses and a permanent scar on your criminal record.

We Are Highly Experienced Domestic Violence Attorneys

Here at the Joslyn Law Firm, we have successfully handled hundreds of domestic violence cases in Columbus and the Central Ohio. The firm’s extensive experience has resulted in our attorneys developing good relationships and a keen understanding of what to expect from certain prosecutors and judges handling domestic violence cases. This coupled with our attorneys deep understanding of domestic violence laws will ensure you receive the best domestic violence defense possible. We will do everything possible to have a favorable outcome or ultimately have your case dismissed. If you choose to work with the Joslyn Law firm, you can be assured that you are dealing with an experienced, trustworthy, and highly capable criminal defense team.

If you are facing allegations of DV, you need to become familiar with the law and the consequences of a conviction of domestic violence.  The Domestic Violence Information Center on this site will provide you with the information you need to understand the charges you are facing and to make informed decisions regarding your defense.  The attorneys and staff of the Joslyn Law Firm are committed to providing you with the information and support you need to defend your rights.

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Ohio Domestic Violence Information Center

  1. Ohio Domestic Violence Overview
  2. Definition of Domestic Violence
  3. Common Domestic Violence Charges
  4. Domestic Violence Defenses
  5. Ohio Penalties for Domestic Violence Conviction
  6. Domestic Violence Resources
  7. Allegations and Filing Domestic Violence
  8. Warrant for arrest for Domestic Violence Charges In Franklin County
  9. When Domestic Violence Charges are Filed, the Victim Can’t Turn Back
  10. Protection Orders and Victims' Rights in Domestic Violence Case
  11. The Court Process in Domestic Violence Cases
  12. Evidence In Domestic Violence Cases
  13. Preventing Testimony In Domestic Violence Trials
  14. Collateral Consequences of a DV Conviction
  15. Domestic Violence Cases with Children
  16. Columbus Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit / Specialized Prosecution
  17. Related Domestic Violence News and Articles

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1. Domestic Violence Overview

Domestic violence is an act of violence, or the threat of violence, by one person against a household or family member.  Domestic violence may also be referred to as “intimate partner violence.” Despite the use of the word “domestic,” this type of violence can occur anywhere, not just inside the home.  Domestic violence refers to the relationship between the alleged abuser and victim, not the location of where the violence takes place.

Domestic violence allegations can often arise from almost any situation, including heated arguments, situations where the parties are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in child custody cases, and in divorce cases where one party is trying to gain a more favorable position.

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2. Domestic Violence Definition

According to the Ohio Revised Code § 2919.25, domestic violence is defined as committing a sexually oriented offense; committing any act that would result in an abused child; or knowingly causing or attempting to cause, recklessly causing, or threatening force of physical harm to a family or household member. Therefore, domestic violence allegations can arise from almost anything.

You Don’t Have to Beat Someone Up to be Guilty. A common misconception is that you have to beat someone up in order to be prosecuted and convicted for Domestic Violence.

Learn more about the Ohio Domestic Violence Statute.

3. Common Domestic Violence Offenses and Related Offenses

  • Violation of a Protection Order- Defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2919.07, an individual has committed the criminal offense of violating a protection order when he or she does not comply with the terms of a domestic violence protection order (also referred to as a restraining order). The protection order may contain any requirements or prohibitions necessary to ensure the safety of a victim of domestic violence.

  • Domestic Assault / Battery- Defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.13 an individual is considered to have committed domestic assault if he or she knowingly caused or attempted to cause physical harm to a family member; or recklessly caused serious physical harm to a family member.

  • Child Abuse / Neglect- There is a wide array of conduct that constitutes child abuse or neglect.  Ohio Revised Code § 2151.031 considers a child "abused" if he or she is the victim of sexual activity, endangered, or exhibits a physical or mental injury, or death inflicted other than by accidental means.

  • Stalking/Menacing by Stalking-Defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2903.211 an individual has committed the criminal offense of stalking or menacing by stalking if he or she is knowingly engaging in a pattern of conduct that would cause another person to believe the offender will cause physical harm or mental distress. Stalking may occur in person or through electronic means.

  • Sexual Battery- As defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03 sexual battery occurs when an offender knowingly coerces a person to submit to sexual conduct or engages in sexual conduct without the other person's knowledge or while the other person's conduct is substantially impaired.

  • Rape- Rape is defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 as engaging in sexual conduct by force,  for the purpose of preventing resistance, or while the other person's ability to resist is substantially impaired.

      Learn more about domestic violence and related offenses.

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      4. Domestic Violence Defenses

      Many domestic violations allegations may not actually be domestic violence, and have arisen due to other situations. It is important to hire a domestic violence defense attorney to help you identify any applicable defenses or mitigating factors in your particular situation. The following are examples of defenses that can be used in certain domestic violence cases:

      Defense of Others – It may be necessary to use defensive force against someone who is a family or household member in order to prevent the family or household member from inflicting bodily harm or injury to another person.

      Endangering Children – In Ohio, treatment for a child’s mental or physical illness or other defect by spiritual means through prayer alone is a defense to allegations of child endangerment as long as the spiritual means is in accordance with the doctrines of a recognized religious body.

      False Allegations – Some alleged domestic violence victims will falsely claim another family or household member committed domestic violence against them. There are many reasons a person may make these false accusations, including to gain custody of a child or children, to gain a favorable position in a divorce or just out of spite. In these situations, it is imperative to hire an attorney who will help you develop your best defense.

      Lack of Intent – Intent to harm or cause fear in someone is a requirement for many domestic violence offenses. An alleged offender’s charges could possibly be reduced to a lesser charge or dismissed if they did not have the statutorily required intent.

      Self Defense – Sometimes domestic violence accusations may come from the person who actually initiated to the domestic violence or caused the situation to escalate. If the alleged victim actually provoked or attacked the alleged offender, self defense may have been necessary for the alleged offender to use.

      Learn more about available defenses to domestic violence charges here.

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      5. Penalties for Ohio Domestic Violence Charges

      Every domestic violence charge will incur different punishments, and many require mandatory prison sentences. The following are the basic statutory sentences for various degrees of offenses, but can change depending on the severity of the crime, the type of victim, whether the statute provides for more serious punishment, and the number of prior offenses the offender has.


      Maximum Imprisonment

      Maximum Fine

      First –degree misdemeanor

      180 days


      Second-degree misdemeanor

      90 days


      Third-degree misdemeanor

      60 days


      Fourth-degree misdemeanor

      30 days


      Minor misdemeanor



      First-degree felony

      3 to 11 years


      Second-degree felony

      2 to 8 years


      Third-degree felony

      9 months to 5 years



      Fourth-degree felony

      6 to 18 months



      Fifth-degree felony

      6 to 12 months


      Learn more about the Ohio Domestic Violence penalties.

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      6. Local and National Resources for Domestic Violence

      Ohio Domestic Violence Network – The ODVN is an Ohio-based alliance of domestic violence programs, agencies and individuals seeking to eliminate domestic violence by promoting social change and providing assistance, resources, information and training to the public on domestic violence issues. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network can be contacted at:

      4807 Evanswood Drive, Ste. 201
      Columbus, Ohio 43229
      Phone: (614) 781-9651

      Chapter 2919 of the Ohio Revised Code – This title of the Ohio Revised Code contains all the rules and penalties for offenses against the family in Ohio, including domestic violence offenses and punishments. Specifically, Chapter 2919.25 Domestic Violence, includes information and definitions specific to domestic violence and related charges.

      Learn more about domestic violence resources.

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      7. Allegations and Filing Domestic Violence Charges

      Most domestic violence cases begin with an allegation or a claim of domestic violence. Upon notification of the domestic violence allegation, law enforcement will generally issue a domestic violence warrant for the alleged abuser's arrest.

      Learn more about notifying law enforcement and filing charges.

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      8. Warrant for Arrest for Domestic Violence Charges

      Warrants are powerful tools that give law enforcement the authority to arrest a suspect after an alleged act of domestic violence. Generally, warrants are issued following a 911 call and the suspect has left the scene or after an alleged victim has filed a domestic violence complaint.

      Depending on the county, law enforcement takes different approaches to locating and arresting a suspect once a warrant is issued.

      Learn more about the steps to take after a domestic violence warrant is issued.

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      9. The Court Process in Domestic Violence Cases

      Following an arrest for domestic violence, the average individual has one concern—being released. However, this process can be complex and take many steps. Learn more about the court process in domestic violence cases from arraignment to trial.

      Generally, the court process in domestic violence cases involves the following steps:

          • Arraignment and the Initial Plea- An arraignment is a criminal court proceeding during which the defendant is informed of the offense charged. A defendant is given the opportunity to enter a plea. During this hearing the judge will set bail or place any conditions on bail.
          • Pre-Trial Hearing- Before the trial the court will set a pre-trial hearing. During this hearing the defense attorney has the opportunity to review the prosecutor's evidence. The parties may discuss any evidentiary issues and/or the reduction of criminal charges.
          • Trial- The final step in the criminal process is trial. During this proceeding both the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to present their case regarding the criminal charges.

      The overview is intended to serve as general information. It is highly recommended to consult an experienced attorney throughout the court process.

      Learn more about the Domestic Violence Court Process.

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      10. When Domestic Violence Charges are Filed, the Victim Can’t Turn Back

      Just as alleged victims of domestic violence may have several reasons to file charges against an abuser, many factors may influence a victim to drop the domestic violence charge, including love for the alleged abuser or a desire to preserve the family unit. However, once the charges are filed, the alleged victim cannot change his or her mind. Only the prosecutor can drop or reduce criminal charges of domestic violence.

      Learn more about roles of victims in the prosecution of domestic violence cases.

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      11. Evidence In Domestic Violence Cases

      Customarily, domestic violence occurs within a private residence away from law enforcement officers. As a result, it is difficult to determine exactly what occurred and whether the alleged conduct constitutes as domestic violence. In order to prepare an adequate defense, it is recommended to collect and retain as much evidence surrounding the incident as possible.

      There are several forms of evidence, including photographs, text messages, and witness testimony. However, all evidence may not be easily obtained or be permitted for presentation in court.

      Learn more about evidence in a domestic violence case

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      12. Preventing Testimony In Domestic Violence Trials

      In criminal proceedings not all people can be compelled or meet the necessary legal qualifications to testify. For example, in certain situations an individual may refuse to answer certain questions during a trial, because the truthful answer could lead to criminal charges. Also, under specific circumstances a spouse may refuse to testify against the other spouse. Common exemptions include:

          • Privilege Against Self-Incrimination
          • Spousal Privilege
          • Competency

      There are several privileges or exemptions which prevent an individual from testifying in a domestic violence trial.

      Learn more about preventing testimony in domestic violence cases.

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      13. Collateral Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction

      A domestic violence conviction has serious criminal consequences, including jail time and steep fines. However, there are other consequences related to employment, housing, and other personal matters.

      Learn more about the collateral consequences of a domestic violence charge.

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      14. Domestic Violence Cases with Children

      The state of Ohio allows corporal punishment, which means a parent can use physical contact as means of punishment so long as the punishment was reasonable. However, there is a thin line between disciplining a child and domestic abuse.

      Learn more about domestic violence and children

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      15. Columbus Domestic Violence Special Unit

      Instances of domestic violence are zealously pursued by District Attorney’s offices throughout the state of Ohio. Several counties throughout the state have created special prosecution teams, which are specifically trained and dedicated to handling domestic violence matters, including stalking, repeat assaults, and high risk victims.

      Learn more about Ohio's special domestic violence units

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      16. Related Domestic Violence News and Articles

      Domestic Violence Victim Address Confidentiality Bill Pending Before Ohio Legislators: Ohio House Bill 359 is pending before Ohio legislators as of January 22, 2016. Currently, the bill has been introduced in the House and referred to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.

      If passed, the bill would create an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, stalking, rape, and other related offenses. The program would establish an alternative mailing address with the Secretary of State to shield their home addresses and other personal identifying information from public record. Read the full text of the bill here.

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      Finding the Best Columbus Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

      Contact the Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your domestic violence offense in Columbus, Ohio. It is important to hire an experienced criminal lawyer to help you find possible defenses and mitigating factors in your particular case. Contact the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your domestic violence charge in Franklin County and surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County in Ohio.

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