A domestic violence conviction can affect your life for years to come. If you’re facing domestic violence charges near Columbus, you’ll need to hire a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best possible chance of having the charges dropped or obtaining an acquittal. If convicted, domestic violence laws in Ohio provide for the following penalties.
Your domestic violence attorney can help you understand the specific charges against you. Depending on the circumstances, a domestic violence incident in Ohio may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. The threat of force against a household member is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 days and up to $250 in fines. Knowingly or recklessly inflicting physical harm on a household member is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days behind bars and up to $1,000 in fines.
Under certain circumstances, domestic violence is prosecuted as a felony charge. If an offender has two or more prior convictions of domestic violence, a third domestic violence charge is prosecuted as a third-degree felony if the offender allegedly knowingly or recklessly inflicted physical harm. If the alleged offender knew that the alleged victim was pregnant at the time of the incident and knowingly or recklessly inflicted physical harm, it is a fifth-degree felony. For a fifth-degree felony in which the offender is found to have caused the termination of the pregnancy or caused serious harm to the unborn child, the court may impose a mandatory term of 12 months. For a third-degree felony, the court may impose a mandatory prison term of six months. Alternatively, the court may follow general sentencing guidelines for third-degree felony convictions. Under Ohio law, a third degree felony may result in one to five years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to serving time behind bars and paying hefty fines, convicted domestic violence offenders may find that their criminal record leads to other long-term consequences. These may include having difficulty obtaining gainful employment, losing the right to own firearms, and being deported if the convicted offender is an immigrant.