Domestic violence is a serious crime that can be charged when an individual is accused of threatening or acting violently against a family or household member. This may be done intentionally or through reckless behavior.
Ohio enforces the following penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence:
- Third degree misdemeanor: No more than 60 days in jail and a fine of $500
- Second degree misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine
- First degree misdemeanor: A maximum of six months in jail and no more than $1,000 in fines
If the charge results in physical harm or the defendant has a previous conviction, it may result in:
- Fifth degree felony: Between 6 and 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines
- Fourth degree felony: Between 6 and 18 months in prison and no more than $5,000 in fines
- Third degree felony: Up to 3 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
As you can see, when the charge reaches the felony level, the penalties increase substantially. A misdemeanor can carry no more than a year in jail, which typically means a convicted individual will not spend much time behind bars. On the other hand, a felony conviction could result in multiple years in prison. This is why a defendant must take their domestic violence charges seriously.
In addition to the basic penalties mentioned above, an individual may also have to pay restitution to the victim, lose child custody rights, be order to move out of their house, have a restraining order placed against them, and be required to enroll in counseling or anger management.
What is the difference between threat and harm?
When it comes to determining the penalties you could face for your charges, identifying whether there was simply a threat of violence or an actual act of harm that occurred will play a crucial role. For example, if you simply threatened a roommate in a heated fight, you may still be charged with domestic violence, but only as a fourth degree misdemeanor. However, if harm was involved, the charge can be escalated to a first degree misdemeanor or even a third degree felony if a defendant has previous convictions or the victim was pregnant.
Whether you are facing your first charge of domestic violence or your third, you need to ensure your rights remain protected and your side of the story is heard. That is where our firm comes in.
Contact The Meranda Law Firm LTD today if you need legal counsel.