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Defense to Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence offenses can arise from any situation, and often times it is difficult for the authorities to determine who the aggressor was in the incident. These situations tend to increase when drugs or alcohol are present, or when one party is trying to obtain an advantageous position in a divorce or custody case.

With everything that has been going on in today’s world, domestic violence offenses are ones that the State and prosecutors are zealously prosecuting and handing out harsh penalties for convictions. The ramifications from a Domestic Violence conviction stem further than the legal system, and will often cause havoc in many other facets of your life.

A common misconception is that Domestic Violence charges can only occur from an incident at home. Section 2919.25 of the Ohio Revised Code defines domestic violence 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.” This means that domestic violence offenses can arise in many other locations than inside of the home. The focus on whether the charge will be classified as one of domestic violence is the relationship between the alleged abuser and the victim at the time of the incident.

Common Domestic Violence-Related Offenses in Ohio

  • Violation of a Protection Order: Under 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.

  • Stalking/Menacing by Stalking: Under 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

  • Domestic Assault / Battery: Under 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.

In addition to the criminal penalties for domestic violence, nearly every aspect of your life will be affected by a domestic violence conviction. Domestic violence conviction comes with it a stigma, possible loss of your professional license, possible loss of your immigration and/or naturalization status, prohibition from owning firearms, loss of custody of your children, as well as a potential to interfere with your current or future employment.


Every domestic violence charge is unique, and some offenses require mandatory prison sentences, which means these types of charges are nothing to mess around with. The chart below explains what the maximum imprisonment and maximum fines are for all of the different domestic violence charges:


Maximum Imprisonment

Maximum Fine

Minor Misdemeanor



Fourth-degree misdemeanor

30 days


Third-degree misdemeanor

60 days


Second-degree misdemeanor

90 days


First-degree misdemeanor

180 days


Fifth-degree felony

6 to 12 Months


Fourth-degree felony

6 to 18 months


Third-degree felony

9 months to 5 years


Second-degree felony

2 to 8 years


First-degree felony

3 to 11 years


If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in the State of Ohio, you need to know your rights and have zealous representation fighting for your rights every step of the way, as the penalties that you face can change your life forever. You don’t want just any attorney handling your case when you are charged with such a serious offense, you need someone who has been there before and who you can trust. Contact Johnson & Core today for your FREE consultation with an experienced attorney.

Call us at our office in Columbus to arrange a case consultation, or use our online contact form.