Ohio defense attorney Brian Joslyn explains common reductions in domestic violence cases in Ohio. If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a domestic violence offense in Ohio, call Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 today for a consultation to discuss your case.
I’m often asked the question, “what are the potential ways that a domestic violence case can conclude?”. A domestic violence case in Ohio usually starts with actually two charges: domestic violence and assault. And they usually charge them both at the same time. Now some people misread that to mean that you can be found guilty of both and do time on both. But for the purposes of sentencing, any sentence that might be imposed is merged. But in the course of negotiations, it’s very common for a prosecutor, depending on someone’s specific circumstances to amend or reduce the charge in some way. Common reductions are from a domestic violence and assault to dismissing the domestic violence. The advantage to that, is that in the state of Ohio, domestic violence is not a sealable or expugnable offense, meaning you can’t ever have it removed from public record. And for some of those that are seeking certain types of employment, or licensure, or currently have certain licensure, that can be devastating. Including people with immigration issues. If they dismiss the domestic violence and you’re left with the assault, there is a punishable range of up to six months, but the benefit to an assault is, it is a sealable or expugnable offense. And you can remove it one year from the close of the case. Another common reduction from a domestic violence assault charge is dismissing the domestic violence, and amending the assault down to what’s called a criminal mischief. Now that’s a very mid-level misdemeanor charge, it’s only punishable up to 60 days in jail. That does not mean that you’re even gonna serve a day of that, that’s just the maximum sentence you can receive. This has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is, once again, it’s a sealable expugnable offense. Your potential for jail liability goes down significantly. The disadvantage is, is that criminal mischief is what they call an enhancable offense. So if you are ever to be charged with domestic violence again in the future, it is no longer a misdemeanor, it can become a felony. And that can obviously have more serious, or profound effects on someone. Another common reduction to that is one step lower, from criminal mischief down to what’s called a disorderly conduct misdemeanor of the 4th degree. And there’s actually two different types of disorderly conducts. One is a misdemeanor of the 4th degree, the other is a minor misdemeanor. The misdemeanor of the 4th degree is a jailable offense, the benefit, once again, is that it’s a sealable expungable offense, and although punishable up to 30 days, it’s pretty unlikely, given you don’t have any serious criminal history that most judges will impose much of a sentence on that, certainly they have the ability to do so. The benefit to a minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct is it’s not a jailable offense, it’s a sealable offense, just like the other charges. But it’s only punishable up to 150 dollar fine. So that’s the array of different potential plea negotiations, you might enter into. The last of which would just be dismissing the case.