Domestic Violence Allegations

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.

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. Common charges and topics associated with domestic violence charges are:

Columbus Domestic Violence Attorney

It is important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you avoid any serious repercussions that may arise from your domestic violence charge in Columbus, Ohio. Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm will make every effort to help you avoid harsh punishments for your alleged offense. Call the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation today.

Ohio Domestic Violence Information Center

Ohio Domestic Violence Terms and Definitions

Petitioner – This is the person who has allegedly been domestically abused, or the victim. They are the person requesting a protection order.

Respondent – This is the person who the protection order is against. This person is the alleged offender who committed domestic abuse against the petitioner.

Protection Order Hearing – This court hearing is to determine if a protection order should be put in effect for any family or household member for domestic abuse allegations against the respondent. The alleged offender is able to present their case and any witnesses they may have to the court.

Protection Order – This is an order granted by the court after a hearing to stop domestic violence against a family or household member. The order can demand the respondent to refrain from abusing or committing sexually oriented offenses against family or household members, may exclude the respondent from the residence or household, temporarily remove parental rights from the respondent, require the respondent to continue to support dependents, require the respondent to seek counseling, or refrain the respondent from going near the residence, school or place of business of the petitioner.

Family or Household Member – can be anyone who is residing or has resided with the offender in the past, including a spouse, person living as a spouse, former spouse, parent, foster parent, child of the offender, another person related by blood or marriage, or parent of a child with the offender.

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Domestic Violence Offenses and Ohio Statutes

  • Domestic Assault as defined in Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.13 is knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause harm or serious physical harm to another person, or their unborn child. This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree, or felony of the third, fourth or fifth degree.

  • Sexual Battery, according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.03 is defined as engaging in sexual conduct with against their will in a number of situations. This offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree or second degree.

  • Endangering Children under Ohio Rev. Code § 2919.22 occurs when a parent, guardian, custodian or person having control of a child under 18 or a handicapped child under 21 creates a substantial risk to the health or safety of a child, including abuse of a child, torture of a child, administering corporal punishment or unwarranted disciplinary measures to a child, allowing a child to participate in obscene or sexually oriented material or performance, or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances with a child in the vehicle. A violation of this section can be a misdemeanor of the first degree, or felony of the fourth, third or second degree.

  • Menacing by Stalking under Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.211 is defined as engaging in a pattern of conduct, including conduct done with sexual motivation, the offender knows will cause physical harm or mental distress to the victim. This can be done through any means, including electronic means, such as computers, e-mail or computer networks. This offense can be a misdemeanor of the first degree, but also a felony of the fourth degree.

  • Violation of Protection Order under Ohio Rev. Code § 2919.27 can occur if someone recklessly violates the terms of a protection order issued by the court, a protection order that was consented to, or a protection order issued by another state. Some examples are when a respondent refuses to vacate the shared household, the respondent goes to the petitioner’s school or place of business, or the respondent fails to support their dependents. Most protection order violations are misdemeanors of the first degree, but some cases can be felony offenses.

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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.

  • Misdemeanor of the First Degree – Domestic assault, endangering children, menacing by stalking and protection order violations can all be Misdemeanors of the First Degree. Maximum punishments can include jail time up to 180 days, and/or a fine up to $1,000.

  • Felony of the Fifth Degree – Domestic violence charges that can be this degree of felony are violations of protection order or domestic assault. Punishments for this degree of felony can include imprisonment up to one year and/or fines not exceeding $2,500.

  • Felony of the Fourth Degree – Domestic assault, menacing by stalking and endangering children can all be punishable as felonies of the fourth degree. Penalties for these felonies can include imprisonment for up to 18 months, and/or fines up to $5,000.

  • Felony of the Third Degree – Violations of protection orders, sexual battery, assault and endangering children can be felonies of the third degree. These offenses can incur prison sentences up to five years, and/or fines not to exceed $10,000.

  • Felony of the Second Degree – Sexual battery and endangering children can be felonies of the second degree, and a conviction for these offenses can incur prison sentences up to eight years, and/or fines not to exceed $15,000.

  • Firearm Restrictions – Accepting a guilty plea or pleading nolo contendere to a misdemeanor charge of violence can result in revocation of the person’s ability to purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition if they are convicted of a misdemeanor offense of violence.

  • Minimum Imprisonment – Many domestic violence offenses require a mandatory minimum prison sentence, depending on the severity of the offense, the victim of the offense, and whether the offense was aggravated.

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Defenses to Ohio Domestic Violence Charges

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.

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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.

Domestic Violence Program – The Supreme Court of Ohio has created a domestic violence program in the state to assist courts throughout the state with domestic violence resources. This site has news about domestic violence in the state, domestic violence data, forms for protection orders, and topics pertaining to domestic violence. The Supreme Court of Ohio can be contacted at:

The Supreme Court of Ohio
65 S. Front Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 387-9000

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – This national not for profit organization, also known as the NCADV, seeks to end domestic violence, empower battered women and children, promote and unify domestic violence programs nationwide, alert and educate the public on domestic violence, and promotes partnerships among domestic violence foundations and programs. This site contains domestic violence resources, information on domestic violence laws, and educational material on domestic violence.

CHOICES - Since 1977, CHOICES has provided counseling, shelter, crisis intervention, education, and community and legal support and advocacy to central Ohio residents facing domestic violence.

P.O. Box 06157
Columbus, OH 43206
Crisis and Information Line: (614) 224-4663

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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.