The repercussions from facing domestic violence charges can have a huge impact on your ability to live a normal life. As such, you will no doubt want to do everything in your power to make sure that your domestic violence charges do not become domestic violence convictions. Hiring an experienced domestic violence lawyer to provide you with smart legal advice is a great first step toward accomplishing this feat.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Dayton, Ohio, you are facing some very serious penalties and punishments, including:
- Prison time
- A criminal record
- An inability to possess a firearm
The criminal law attorneys here at Suhre & Associates, LLC have been assisting clients in Montgomery County, Warren County, and beyond with their legal issues for many years. Our clients trust us because they know that we will fight tooth and nail on their behalf. If you are in need of a skilled and knowledgeable domestic violence attorney, please do not hesitate to give our law office a call at (937) 617-0526 to take the first steps toward establishing an attorney-client relationship.
Defining Domestic Violence
According to section 2919.25 of the Ohio Revised Code, domestic violence is best defined as knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member. This same law provides that threatening to cause harm to a family or household member is also classified as domestic violence.
How Domestic Violence Arrests Happen
In the state of Ohio, the police are obligated to make an arrest when they have reason to believe that a domestic violence incident has occurred. This is the case even if both parties choose not to press charges, provide statements, or assist the police in any way.
The police do not always arrest the individual who started the fight. Instead, they are tasked with using their best judgment to determine who the primary aggressor was. In some cases, this policy can result in people who were just trying to defend themselves being placed under arrest.
Temporary Protection Orders
When a domestic violence arrest occurs, Ohio law requires that a Temporary Protection Order(TPO) be immediately put into place. The TPO prevents the accused individual from having any contact with their alleged victim. The communication ban includes but is not limited to:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- In-person conversations
- Messages passed on by an intermediary
Temporary Protection Orders generally stay in effect until the criminal case has come to a conclusion. In some cases, this may mean that the accused will need to leave the family home and take up residence in a hotel or with a friend.
Complying with a TPO can be quite expensive and can make it very difficult to have regular access to any children who may live in the home. It is not at all unusual to see child custody battles follow closely behind the TPO.
If a TPO is issued against you, your defense attorney may be able to file a motion to have it removed. Until the order has been lifted, however, you should follow its instructions to a tee. If you break the TPO, you could find yourself fighting a separate criminal charge.
How Amy’s Law May Impact Your Domestic Violence Case
In 2005, Ohio Governor Bob Taft signed House Bill 29 into law. The legislation, otherwise known as Amy’s Law, was designed to make it tougher for individuals who have been accused of domestic violence to be granted bail.
The law was named after Amy Rezos, an Ohio woman who was brutally assaulted on two separate occasions by her estranged husband, Christopher. The second of the two instances occurred after Christopher had been released on bail following the initial attack. Ohio lawmakers created the law believing that a tougher bail process would have prevented the second assault from taking place.
Today, if you are charged with domestic violence in the state of Ohio, the arresting police officer must fill out a 20-question danger assessment form. The questionnaire is then submitted to the presiding judge, who will review it as part of your bond hearing.
During your hearing, the judge will also consider the following factors:
- Your mental health status
- Your history of substance abuse
- Your access to firearms
- Your history of domestic abuse
- Your overall criminal history
Once they have reviewed your case in its entirety, they will then decide whether or not you can be released on bail. If you are to be released, they will also determine the amount of your bond and any restrictions that will be placed on your movements while you are out on bail.
Given that bail hearings in the state of Ohio today are tougher than they have ever been, you would be well advised to have an experienced Dayton criminal defense attorney by your side throughout the process. They will ensure that you receive a fair hearing and may be able to minimize the amount that you need to pay to be released on bail.
Punishments for Domestic Violence in Dayton, Ohio
In the state of Ohio, the penalties that you can receive for a domestic violence charge will depend on the specific nature of the crime. If you have been charged with causing physical harm to the other party, you will likely receive a first-degree misdemeanor conviction – which is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If you have prior domestic violence convictions or the other party was pregnant when the physical harm was caused, your punishment is likely to be more severe. In such a case, you could be looking at a third-degree felony – which could see you spend as much as three years in prison and/or have to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
If you were arrested for making threats to a family member, but not causing any physical harm, your most likely punishment is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. In such a case, you could potentially face up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $250.
Again, if you have been convicted of domestic violence in the past or your threat was directed at an individual who was pregnant, the severity of your penalty will increase. A first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, is possible. If sexual violence was involved, the penalties may be more severe.
It is generally advisable to work closely with your attorney or legal service provider throughout your case. They may be able to minimize the penalties you face as a result of your domestic violence charge or even have your charges dismissed entirely.
Potential Defenses Against Your Domestic Violence Charge
The specific circumstances surrounding each domestic violence charge are always unique. However, the defenses used by domestic violence attorneys to help their clients tend to be quite similar from case to case. Some of the most common defense arguments include:
If you struck the other party because you were trying to defend yourself, your children, or another member of your household, your attorney may be able to have your charge dismissed. Eye witness accounts, photographs, and video evidence tend to be extremely helpful when trying to prove that you acted in self-defense. If you can provide any of this evidence, let your lawyer know as soon as possible.
Lack of Evidence
To convict you of domestic violence, the state must be able to prove that you committed the actions they are accusing you of. If they are unable to meet their burden of proof, your attorney can potentially have your case dismissed. Don’t be surprised if the dismissal process takes some time, though – especially if the police or the state’s attorney are convinced that you are guilty.
When you live with someone for years, there is a good chance that you will accidentally hit them with a cabinet door, knock them over, or otherwise cause them to become injured unintentionally. Accidentally hurting a loved one in this way is not a crime. If the other party can confirm that the incident was accidental, there is a good chance that your lawyer will be able to have your case dismissed pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, false domestic violence claims are not uncommon. If you and your attorney can prove that the other person is lying about what happened, you should be able to have the case thrown out. Again, video evidence and eye witness accounts are likely to play a vital role in whether or not the state’s attorney is willing to dismiss your case.
Dayton’s Domestic Violence Defense Experts
When the people of Dayton, OH require legal assistance, they know that they can rely on the personal injury and domestic violence defense attorneys here at Suhre & Associates, LLC. If you need us to help you fight back against your domestic violence charge, we will be there for you too. Just give our law office a call at (937) 617-0526 to set up a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced criminal law attorneys.