*Content warning: discussion of domestic violence
What You Need to Know About Ohio Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence can be difficult to navigate. Here’s everything you need to know about domestic violence laws in Ohio.
The law recognizes the threat of violence as a form of domestic violence. Individuals can face domestic abuse charges for threatening physical harm, even if they did not commit physical harm. Individuals who commit physical domestic violence will face charges for their actions.
An individual faces domestic violence charges if the survivor and court believe the offender recklessly or knowingly inflicted or threatened harm to the survivor. This charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific circumstances, prior criminal history, and if the survivor sustained any injuries.
Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial.
Domestic Violence Survivors
Ohio law views domestic violence survivors as family/household members, including any person with whom the perpetrator currently lives or has previously lived.
Civil and criminal laws protect victims of domestic violence.
Ohio law also recognizes domestic violence survivors as family members of spouses, former spouses, or partners.
Domestic abuse survivors are spouses, former spouses, or significant others. However, Ohio law does not limit domestic abuse survivors to romantic partners. Any individual in a family, such as children, may also experience domestic violence.
Protections for Victims
Various legal protections are available for domestic violence survivors in Ohio.
Survivors may apply for:
A temporary restraining order; a court order signed by a judge to offer protection to a survivor.
Criminal Protective Order: Temporary Protective Order (TPO)
Civil Protective Order: Civil Protective Order (CPO)
2. Civil lawsuit:
A civil lawsuit allows the survivor to recover losses and expenses, such as medical bills or pain and suffering damages.
The court may modify child and spousal support orders to prevent any further domestic abuse incidents.
The penalty for a domestic violence charge varies widely, depending on whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
- First-degree misdemeanor: Maximum of six months in jail and/or $1000 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor: Maximum of 90 days in jail and/or $750 in fines
- Third-degree misdemeanor: Maximum 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines
- Fifth-degree felony: Six to twelve months in prison and a fine up to $2500
- Fourth-degree felony: Six to eighteen months in prison and a fine of up to $5000
- Third-degree felony: anywhere from nine months to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Under federal law, domestic violence convictions prohibit one’s possession of a firearm for any purpose.