Cleveland Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is a violent act against a spouse, domestic partner, child, or relative who lives with you. Depending on certain factors, domestic violence charges can be a misdemeanor or a felony. A domestic violence conviction could mean jail time, a permanent criminal record, significant harm to your reputation, and highly restrictive protective orders. A restraining order could also impact your parental rights for child custody or visitation.
Domestic violence charges must be addressed swiftly and carefully. A Cleveland domestic violence attorney from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC protects your rights and aggressively defends you for the best possible outcome.
Ohio Domestic Violence Law
Ohio Revised Code Section 2919.25(A) states that no one shall intentionally cause or try to cause physical harm to any family or household member. Physical harm means any injury, illness, or other physiological impairment, regardless of its gravity or duration, according to Ohio Revised Code Section 2901.01.
Domestic violence includes:
- Any mental illness or condition of which the gravity would typically require hospitalization or prolonged psychiatric treatment
- Any physical harm that brings a substantial risk of death
- Any physical harm that involves partial or total permanent incapacity or some temporary, significant incapacity
- Any bodily injury that inflicts acute pain of such duration that it causes substantial suffering or any degree of prolonged or intractable pain
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2919.25 (C), no one shall intentionally cause a family or household member to believe that they are in danger through a threat of force.
Essentially, there are several ways to substantiate a domestic violence charge, and circumstances can vary widely. A Cleveland domestic violence attorney can evaluate your situation and help you understand which laws apply.
Who Are Family and Household Members?
Domestic violence laws are intended to protect the family and household members:
- Your spouse
- A person living as your spouse
- Your former spouse
- Your parent
- Your foster parent
- Your or another relative’s child
- Another relative, by blood or marriage
- A parent, child, or another relative of a current or former spouse
- The other parent of your child
Domestic Violence Charges in Cleveland
Unfortunately, sometimes an individual can be falsely accused of domestic violence. Building a defense against false domestic violence allegations can be challenging. A criminal defense attorney will seek the best possible outcome, including reduced or dismissed charges or an acquittal.
In our experience, false domestic violence allegations often occur in:
- Complicated divorces
- Intense custody battles
It is also possible for parents to be charged with child endangerment and domestic abuse for refusing medical treatment for their children based on religious beliefs.
Domestic Violence Related Charges
Domestic violence charges range from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a third, fourth, or fifth-degree felony.
There are several related crimes in conjunction with a domestic violence charge, such as:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual battery
- Sexual assault
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- Menacing by stalking
- Violating a protection order
Each charge has its penalties. Your domestic violence attorney in Cleveland can help you understand the severity of the allegations against you and work to build a powerful defense against these false accusations.
Domestic Violence Penalties
The specific charge you face for domestic violence accusations depends on your unique situation and your criminal record.
First-time violations for threats of force are fourth-degree misdemeanors. Violations of ORC 2919.25 sections A and B are first-degree misdemeanors. However, if you knew the victim was pregnant at the time, then you may face a third-degree misdemeanor or fifth-degree felony. A judge will also sentence you to a mandatory prison term.
A previous conviction for domestic violence or a related offense makes second violations of section C second-degree misdemeanors. Second violations of sections A and B of ORC 2919.25 are fourth-degree felonies, with a mandatory prison term.
Domestic Violence: Jail & Fines
If convicted of domestic violence in Ohio, your punishment will depend on several factors: its classification between a fourth-degree misdemeanor and a third-degree felony; any aggravating factors; and your criminal history.
Generally, you can expect the following range of penalties for domestic violence in Ohio:
- Fourth-degree misdemeanor – Up to 30 days in jail, and a fine up to $250
- Third-degree misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail, and a fine up to $500
- Second-degree misdemeanor – Up to 90 days in jail, and a fine up to $750
- First-degree misdemeanor – Up to 180 days in jail, and a fine up to $1,000
- Fifth-degree felony – Six to 12 months in prison, and a fine up to $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony – Six to 18 months in prison, and a fine up to $5,000
- Third-degree felony – Nine months to five years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000
For specific domestic violence charges, some amount of jail or prison time could be mandatory. In these situations, the judge will not have much discretion in penalizing you through probation or other alternatives.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges
Heated situations can escalate and actions can also be misinterpreted, sometimes resulting in unwarranted domestic violence arrests. Some of the potential defenses include:
- Self-defense or defense of another household member
- Lack of intent to cause fear or physical harm
The details of your case will determine your defensive strategy. Attorney Daniel Margolis examines the evidence and testimony to seek the best possible outcome.
Civil Protection Orders for Domestic Violence in Cleveland
Individuals accused of domestic violence or a related charge may receive a civil protection order in Domestic Relations Court.
You must follow the rules of a CPO that may include:
- Not abusing or harming the alleged victim
- Award custody of your shared children to the alleged victim
- Award the alleged victim retention of your home
- Require you to complete anger management or relevant counseling
- Prohibit you from having any contact with the alleged victim
- Require you to pay financial support to the alleged victim
Domestic violence charges in Cleveland carry harsh penalties. It would be best if you had an experienced attorney on your side. Your lawyer can present evidence and a plausible defense that could prevent the court from enacting a CPO in your case. A win against a CPO petition could go a long way in your criminal defense strategy as well.
Can a Domestic Violence Victim Decline to Press Charges?
You may be wondering what could happen with your case if the alleged victim decides that they do not want to press charges. Unfortunately, the victim can no longer drop the charges once a domestic violence arrest is made. Only the state’s prosecuting attorney can decide to drop the domestic violence charges against you.
Your attorney may be able to make a case by negotiating with the prosecutor. If the alleged victim’s story changes, they ask the prosecutor not to press charges or are an otherwise uncooperative witness. The state may elect to dismiss the charges against you.
What If You Have a Domestic Violence Warrant?
Warrants for domestic violence are not uncommon. In Cleveland, an arrest warrant for domestic violence is typically issued if police are called to a domestic violence incident. The person suspected of abuse has left the scene. However, arrest warrants for domestic abuse can also be issued after an alleged victim has filed a complaint about domestic violence with law enforcement.
If you find out that you have a warrant out for your arrest, you will need to start to make plans for how you will turn yourself in. Your Cleveland domestic violence attorney can help you prearrange your bail and clear your warrant. From there, we’ll have a better idea of what penalties you could be facing for the charges filed against you.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction
The previously mentioned penalties aren’t the only consequences you could face if you are found guilty of domestic abuse or a related charge. With a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record, you may experience:
- Trouble continuing your education
- Difficulty or inability to obtain specific professional licenses
- Ineligibility for certain government jobs
- Difficulty getting a job and building a career
- Problems renting an apartment or house
- Inability to renew a visa, become a permanent resident, or gain citizenship
- Loss of or decrease in child custody or visitation
- Loss of your right to vote during incarceration
- Loss of your right to own a gun
With penalties this harsh, you must take action to clear your name of the charges against you. Your reputation and freedoms are on the line. An aggressive and compelling defense could make the difference between a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
A Cleveland Domestic Violence Lawyer is Here to Help You
Are you charged with domestic violence in Ohio? Contact a domestic violence attorney from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC right away. Get a free, confidential case evaluation. Call (216) 533-9533 or complete our quick contact form.