You’ve been charged with domestic violence.
If you find yourself in this situation it’s understandable that you may feel scared, embarrassed, hopeless, or even not know what to do next.
You may feel like you don’t need a lawyer because the truth will come out, or that you can just explain what happened. You may feel like you don’t need a lawyer because nothing violent happened.
However, trying to handle this yourself can have serious consequences.
In Ohio, the domestic violence law says that:
(A) No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
So, what does that mean? Really it means that the law is super broad and covers everything from a scratch to a punch. This also covers “attempt to cause”- the police report may say you attempted to cause harm, and even if no physical injury caused that’s enough for a domestic violence charge.
The issue of a temporary protection order or (TPO) also comes into play with domestic violence cases. The person alleging domestic violence may or may not request a TPO. Even if he or she doesn’t request it, the police may request it on their behalf, or the court may impose it on their own, even if the person who called the police does not want the TPO.
There are a few reasons why having a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible is important.
- you may be in jail and may need a lawyer to help you argue for a fair bond.
- a TPO may be interfering in your ability to be in your home or see your children
- You could go to jail for up to 6 months and be fined up to $1000.00
- Under current Ohio law, domestic violence as I have described is not eligible to be sealed or expunged from your record. This can have devastating affects on your employment and housing.
- Not all lawyers handle domestic violence cases Find a lawyer who routinely handles these cases.
It is important to note that the code section referenced above is domestic violence as a first degree misdemeanor. There is also a fourth degree misdemeanor domestic violence in Ohio and that provides that
“No person, by threat of force, shall knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member”. Again, you may be asking, what does that mean? This is essentially the “threats domestic violence” meaning you are accused of making a threat of physical harm. Fourth degree domestic violence is eligible to be sealed or expunged in Ohio but still has many devastating effects.
If you have been charged with any crime, its important to protect yourself, but this cannot be stated enough as it relates to domestic violence allegations.