Domestic Violence Generally
The criminal statute defines domestic violence as “knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member, or recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member, or 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.”
The definition of “Family or Household Member” includes all of the following persons that are currently residing with or HAVE RESIDED with the perpetrator.
A spouse of Respondent.
A person “Living as a Spouse” of the Respondent (normally a live-in girlfriend or boyfriend).
If someone cohabitates with the perpetrator they are considered a person “living as a spouse” and qualify for protection.
A Former Spouse of Respondent.
The Respondent’s parent or children.
Any person related to the Respondent by blood or marriage.
A parent or child of the spouse of Respondent.
A parent or child of a person living as the spouse of the Respondent.
A parent or child of a former spouse of the Respondent.
Any other person related by blood or marriage to a spouse, a former spouse or a person living as a spouse of the Respondent.
The natural parent of any child.
Note that Ohio courts have included same-sex couples that cohabitate together within the definition of Family or Household Member, under the Person Living as a Spouse designation.
A first offense charge of Domestic Violence most commonly is charged as either a misdemeanor of the fourth degree or a misdemeanor of the first degree depending on whether there was physical harm.
A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by up tom 6 months in jail while a misdemeanor of the fourth degree is punishable by up to 30 days in jail.
A prior conviction for domestic violence can act as an enhancement for subsequent charges for domestic violence, including the filing of a felony.
Upon the filing of a criminal complaint alleging the crime of Domestic Violence, the Criminal Court can, and usually does, issue a Temporary Protection Order (TPO).
The motion for a TPO can be filed by the complainant (victim), by the arresting officer, or the Court can issue one on its own (“sua sponte”), if the Court finds that it is necessary for the “safety and protection” of the victim. The Court must hold a hearing on the motion for a TPO within 24 hours of it being filed with the clerk’s office.
The TPO lasts only for the pendency of the case and will terminate by operation of law if the defendant is convicted or the charge is dismissed.
The Court may issue a “stay away” order from the victim once the case has reached a final disposition. However, any subsequent protection order would have to be filed as a civil protection order.
Domestic Violence is a serious charge and carries with it serious consequences. If convicted, you may be forced to serve jail time, pay fines and court costs, and may be prohibited from carrying a firearm.
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