If you face domestic violence charges in Cincinnati, you need an experienced legal advocate to fight for your interests. Domestic violence charges are serious and can have far-reaching consequences, including jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can affect your ability to find a place to live and work. At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, our domestic violence defense lawyers provide aggressive and effective legal representation to individuals facing these life-changing charges. Our team of skilled attorneys has the experience, knowledge, and resources necessary to defend your rights and help you navigate Ohio’s complex criminal justice system.
Contact us today at (513) 421-9790 for a confidential consultation with one of our Cincinnati domestic violence defense lawyers.
What Is Domestic Violence in Cincinnati?
Under Ohio law, the following actions could result in a domestic violence charge:
- Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member
- Recklessly causing serious physical harm to a family or household member
- Knowingly causing a family or household member to believe, by threat of force, that the offender will imminently cause physical harm to the family or household member
In other words, an individual causing, attempting to cause, or threatening to cause physical harm to a member of their family or household may face a charge of domestic violence.
A family or household member could include the following:
- A spouse, former spouse, or live-in romantic partner for at least five years
- A parent, foster parent, child, or other relative
- A parent, child, or other relative of a spouse
- The other parent of the alleged offender’s child
What Happens After a Domestic Violence Charge?
After a domestic violence charge, a lengthy and confusing legal process may play out. While each case is different, most will go through the following steps. One of our domestic violence lawyers can advise you on what to expect in your situation.
- Arraignment – An arraignment is an initial hearing where the judge informs an alleged offender of the charges against them and asks them to plead guilty or not guilty. The judge may also set bail for a defendant to secure release from prison before trial. If the defendant fails to appear at trial, they forfeit that money. If they appear in court as required, they receive the bail money back at the end of the trial. Judges consider many factors when setting bail, including criminal history and the seriousness of the charge.
- Protection order hearing – The alleged victim may seek a protection order which prevents the defendant from contacting them. A judge may also issue a protection order as a condition of pretrial release.
- Pretrial – During the pretrial phase, the prosecution and defense gather and analyze the evidence and prepare to present at trial. The prosecutor and defense attorney may file motions that require pretrial hearings. They may also negotiate to try and reach a plea bargain that avoids trial.
- Trial – If the parties cannot reach a plea bargain, they will go to trial and present their case to the jury. In some cases, defendants may request a bench trial, in which the judge decides solely. In a domestic violence trial, the prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Once both sides present their evidence and arguments, the judge or jury will decide the verdict.
- Sentencing – If the judge or jury finds the defendant guilty, they proceed to a sentencing hearing. Depending on the verdict, the sentence may include jail time or fines.
What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
The penalties for a domestic violence conviction depend on various factors, including the underlying charge, the defendant’s criminal record, the type of alleged victim, and the severity of the alleged harm.
The domestic violence attorneys at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC can help you understand what penalties you might face in your case.
Under Ohio law, domestic violence convictions and associated penalties are as follows, listed in increasing seriousness:
- Fourth-degree misdemeanor – Up to 30 days in jail and/or up to $250 in fines
- Third-degree misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail and/or up to $500 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor – Up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $750 in fines
- First-degree misdemeanor – Up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines
- Fifth-degree felony – Up to 12 months in prison, with a mandatory minimum of six months, and up to $2,500 in fines
- Fourth-degree felony – Up to 18 months in prison, with a mandatory minimum of six months, and up to $5,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony – Up to three years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of six months, and up to $10,000 in fines
Furthermore, an individual convicted of domestic violence can also face other consequences, especially if convicted of a felony, as the following:
- Difficulty keeping your job during the trial
- Difficulty finding a job after the trial
- Difficulty finding housing
- Loss of gun rights
- Loss of reputation
- Strained relationships with family
What Are Potential Defenses to a Domestic Violence Charge?
Our attorneys can help you mount a compelling defense against a domestic violence charge, including the following potential defenses:
- Self-defense – If the accused person acted in self-defense, they could argue that their actions were justified.
- Defense of others – An accused person may argue that they were defending another person when the alleged victim was harmed.
- Accident – The accused person may argue the injury suffered by the alleged victim was accidental or caused by their own negligence.
- False accusation – The person can argue that the alleged victim falsely accused them. False accusations are common in contentious divorce or child custody battles.
- Lack of intent – If the accused person did not intend to harm or cause fear of harm to the alleged victim, they might argue that they lacked the necessary intent to commit the charged offense.
- Lack of evidence – If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused person can argue that they should not be convicted.
Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati
If you are facing a domestic violence charge in Cincinnati, do not delay. Call Moermond & Mulligan, LLC at (513) 421-9790 to speak with an experienced violent crimes defense lawyer. We are ready and waiting to start your case and prepare a defense to protect your rights and freedoms.