Domestic violence is a severe and important issue, and it’s one that should be handled with appropriate penalties. In Ohio, law enforcement was called for over 76,000 domestic violence complaints. Domestic violence laws are firm because they are meant to protect people from violence and intimidation from household members, but in some instances, these charges can become a nightmare for those accused.
Those who are falsely accused of domestic violence are in a challenging and overwhelming position because they must carry the stigma of domestic violence charges. Additionally, they must contend with criminal charges, social ramifications and may not be able to continue in their careers. Thus, false domestic violence charges must be handled with care.
Domestic violence allegations can be highly detrimental to people’s abilities to live their lives as they want to live them, which is why an Ohio domestic violence attorney can best help individuals understand legal steps to take, but the general information provided here can serve as a starting point to understand the broad strokes of the law and how it applies to domestic violence cases.
What is Domestic Violence?
While most people have a general idea of what domestic violence is, Ohio law gives clear parameters of what is defined as domestic violence. Section 2919.25 of the Ohio Revised Code outlines what the law considers to be domestic violence. This part of the code says that a person should not cause knowing or reckless harm to a household or family member. They should also not threaten to harm a member of their household or family. Doing so would be considered domestic violence and can be charged and penalized accordingly.
Acts of Domestic Violence
There are many ways that a person can inflict pain on another person. Some acts considered to be domestic violence include:
- Punching, hitting, slapping
- Shoving, grabbing, or pushing
- Sexual violence
- Using guns, knives, or other weapons
- Choking or strangulation
- Bites or scratches
- Hair pulling
- Burning or cutting
- Throwing things at another person
These are just some common ways people can commit domestic violence, but this is not an exhaustive list. These types of violence may also come with other types of abuse, such as emotional, physical, financial, or spiritual abuse.
What Happens If You Are Charged with Domestic Violence?
The charges of domestic violence come with several harsh penalties. Depending on the situation, this crime can either be a misdemeanor or a felony.
Domestic violence that causes harm can be a first-degree misdemeanor or a third, fourth, or fifth-degree felony. Threats of violence are usually fourth-degree misdemeanors, but they can be first, second, or third-degree misdemeanors in certain situations. The crimes can be more serious when children are involved, or there have been multiple convictions.
These charges don’t only come with criminal ramifications, but they may prevent you from having certain jobs or doing certain things that you love most.
What are the Consequences of Domestic Violence?
The consequences will mostly depend on the level of crime a charge is classified as. The maximum punishments are as follows:
- Third-degree misdemeanor: a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
- Second-degree misdemeanor: a fine of up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail.
- First-degree misdemeanor: a fine of up to $1000 and up to half a year in jail.
- Fifth-degree felony: a fine of up to $2500 and up to a year in jail.
- Fourth-degree felony: a fine of up to $5000 and up to eighteen months in jail.
- Third-degree felony: a fine of up to $10,000 in jail and up to three years in jail.
Often, the penalties given will be less than the maximums listed above.
What to Do If You’ve Been Wrongly Accused of Domestic Violence
Being falsely accused does happen, and in these cases, it’s important to remember that you do have legal options, and you do not have to give in to the charges.
It’s terrifying to be charged with false accusations of domestic violence, but you need to keep your temper checked and stay as calm as you can. Regardless of what you’ve done or not done, it won’t reflect well on you if you lash out and act impulsively. Therefore, it’s important to keep your demeanor cool despite the obvious frustration anyone would have in that situation.
Keep Any Evidence
If you have any evidence you think could help your case, it’s important to keep that and make sure you keep any documentation you have organized. Staying organized is a great way to bolster your case.
Seek Legal Help
You have to get legal help if you want to ensure you get the best results. Many people think that because they haven’t committed the crime they were accused of, they shouldn’t need legal help, but when dealing with the legal system, having a lawyer is usually the best option, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.