Domestic violence in Ohio is a very serious offense. If you’ve been charged with this crime, you’ll need to promptly inform your lawyer of any prior domestic violence convictions. Usually, a conviction of knowingly or recklessly causing harm to a family or household member is prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor and the threat of harm is prosecuted as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If you have just one prior conviction of domestic violence, however, then knowingly or recklessly causing harm will be prosecuted as a fourth-degree felony and threatening to cause harm will be prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor.
Two or more prior convictions of domestic violence will elevate the charges further. Charges of knowingly or recklessly inflicting harm will be prosecuted as a third-degree felony and threatening to cause harm will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor. When charges are upgraded in this manner, defendants accused of domestic violence can expect to face much more severe legal penalties if they are convicted again.