Domestic Violence

In Ohio, to be charged with domestic violence, one of the following must occur:

  • Knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
  • Recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member.

By threat of force, knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member.

Every day in central Ohio people are charged with domestic violence offenses. Domestic violence charges can range from a fourth degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail to a third degree felony punishable up to 36 months prison.

If you are convicted of a domestic violence, additional potential issues include:

  • Maintaining your current employment
  • Licensure issues in some professions
  • Difficulty getting a good job in the future
  • Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings


Simply put, if you are convicted of a domestic violence offense, it will be on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you run the risk of being considered a violent offender for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is critical that you to give your domestic violence charge the level of importance it deserves.

The Columbus Criminal Defense team takes a two pronged approach to all domestic violence cases. First and foremost, you will need a bond. Generally, you will be arrested when charged with domestic violence. If not, the charge(s) will be filed as a warrant and you will have to turn yourself in. We will represent you at your initial bond hearing and look to secure a favorable bond and your release from jail.

Thereafter we will figure out what mistakes the police or detectives made, whether the prosecuting witness is fabricating the charges and what other legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor and interviewing witnesses. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, pictures and recorded interviews. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review.

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal Defense team has successfully represented clients on domestic violence charges. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

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Are you in trouble? Contact us.

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced domestic violence attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.


Inspired by the events in the Amy Rezos case, where a man tried to kill his wife three times, this law requires the offender to appear before a judge before being released from jail. Considerations that go into setting the bond amount include history of domestic violence or violence in general, mental health, history of alcohol abuse and access to guns, among other things.

Threatened a family or household member with imminent physical harm

This is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • A jail sentence of up to 30 days

      • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments

  • At most, a fine of $250
This is a misdemeanor of the third degree and carries with it the following penalties:

    • A jail sentence of up to 60 days

      • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments

  • At most, a fine of $500
This is a misdemeanor of the second degree and carries with it the following penalties:

    • A jail sentence of up to 90 days

      • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments

  • At most, a fine of $750
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

    • A jail sentence of up to 180 days

      • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments

  • At most, a fine of $1,000

Everything Else

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries with it the following penalties:

    • A jail sentence of up to 180 days

      • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments

  • At most, a fine of $1,000
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison sentence of six months to one year
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries with it the following penalties:

    • A jail sentence of six to 18 months

      • If the victim was pregnant, you will face a mandatory prison term of at least six months
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

    • A prison term of nine months to three years

      • If the victim was pregnant, the prison term will be mandatory and last either this long or for a definite term of six months

        • If you caused serious physical harm to the fetus or terminated the pregnancy, you may receive a definite prison term of one year instead

  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000


Have a question we didn’t answer below? Feel free to email us or call us and we’ll help you out.

A family or household member, as defined by law, is any of the following who has lived or is living with the offender:

  • A spouse, person living as a spouse or an ex- of the offender
  • Any of the offender’s family members, whether related by blood or law
  • Any of the spouse’s (or person living as a spouse, or ex) family members, whether related by blood or law
They can, but it’s rare. Ohio law instructs the police to arrest the person they believe to be the “primary physical aggressor” in a fight. They determine that by considering the following:

  • History of domestic violence or violence in general with either person
  • Whether the violence in the fight was done in self-defense by either person
  • Each person’s fear of harm from the other, resulting from a history of violence or present threats, and the reasonableness of that fear
  • The severity of the injuries sustained by each person
In order to do that, you have to file the paperwork for the order at least 48 hours before your domestic violence hearing or present evidence at the hearing that the other person also committed domestic violence against you.
No. The court will issue the victim, at the very least, a temporary protection order, which restricts all form of communication and visitation with them.


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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335
advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com

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