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Columbus Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers

Strong advocacy for Central Ohio residents charged with domestic violence crimes

Relationships are messy – particularly those involving family members or an intimate partner. For these reasons and more, allegations of domestic violence can also be messy. But make no mistake: It is critical to respond quickly and decisively if you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offense. Your freedom, your reputation, and your rights are on the line.

At Soroka & Associates, LLC, our Columbus criminal defense attorneys are ready to help you resolve your criminal charges in the most favorable manner available. We will start by helping you understand exactly what you have been charged with, and what the consequences might be if convicted. Then, we will work with you to create a legal strategy designed to contest those charges or otherwise mitigate their effects on your life.

What constitutes domestic violence in Ohio?

Ohio defines domestic violence as follows.

No person:

  1. Shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
  2. Shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member.
  3. By threat of force, shall knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member.

“Knowing” generally means that you intended the act. Reckless essentially means that you committed an act without regard for the consequences. For example, pushing a spouse that causes her to fall and break her arm may not be intentional – but it could be considered reckless.

What are the penalties for a domestic violence conviction?

Generally, a violation of the first two definitions is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A violation of the third definition is generally a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

Whether the crime is charged as a felony or misdemeanor depends on:

  • The extent of the victim’s injuries.
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident.
  • Whether you have any previous convictions for domestic violence.

When mandatory sentences are required, they will be imposed as follows (with some exceptions):

If the violation of [one of the first two definitions] is:

  • “A felony of the fourth or fifth degree, except as otherwise provided… the court shall impose a mandatory prison term on the offender of at least six months.”
  • “A felony of the fifth degree and the offender, in committing the violation, caused serious physical harm to the pregnant woman's unborn child or caused the termination of the pregnant woman's pregnancy, the court shall impose a mandatory prison term on the offender of twelve months.”
  • Other mandatory sentences depending on the offense and other factors.

Generally, criminal convictions for domestic violence may result in the following prison sentences:

  • First-degree misdemeanor, up to six months in jail
  • Second-degree misdemeanor, up to 90 days in jail
  • Third-degree misdemeanor, up to 60 days in jail
  • Third-degree felony, nine months to three years in prison
  • Fourth-degree felony, six to eighteen months in prison
  • Fifth-degree felony, six to twelve months in prison

Defendants who are convicted or plead guilty to domestic violence will likely be ordered to pay substantial fines. They may also be ordered to pay restitution. Defendants may be ordered to stay away from a spouse, from children, and from their home as part of a protective order or as part of the criminal sentence.

Does my relationship with the alleged victim affect the domestic violence charges?

What distinguishes domestic violence from similar offenses like assault is the relationship between the alleged offender and the alleged victim. You could be charged with domestic violence if you inflicted physical harm or threats upon a member of your family or a current/previous member of your household.

More specifically, domestic violence victims could include:

  • Your child or your parent (including a foster parent)
  • Your spouse, ex-spouse, or a romantic partner you’ve lived with in the past five years
  • The other parent of your child or children, regardless of whether you have ever been married or lived together
  • One of your extended family members
  • A parent or child of your spouse/ex/romantic partner
  • Someone in the extended family of your spouse/ex/romantic partner

How can your Columbus domestic violence defense attorneys help my case?

At Soroka & Associates, we represent you through all phases of the criminal process starting with a bail hearing. We’ll investigate the complaint, speak with witnesses, review any relevant records such as medical records, and review other evidence. We will work, if warranted, to seek a dismissal of the charges.

We often work to negotiate a plea bargain such as agreeing to stay away from the complainant and obtaining counseling (such as anger management counseling) in return for the prosecution’s dropping the domestic violence charges or placing the charges on hold.

When dismissals and plea bargains cannot be obtained, we work to obtain an acquittal of the charges. Many domestic violence cases are determined by your credibility and the credibility of the complainant.

How do protective orders apply to domestic violence cases in Columbus?

A victim who files a domestic violence complaint will also likely request a protective order.  Protective orders may require that you leave the family home, stay away from the victim, stay away from other family or household members, and comply with other conditions. A protective order is usually temporary until there is a full hearing before a judge. The judge can terminate the temporary order or make it a permanent order.

Can I own a gun with a domestic violence conviction?

Federal law generally prohibits convicted felons from owning, purchasing, selling, or transporting firearms, and those bans can be lifelong. Even if you were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, you could face a similar loss of gun rights.

In some cases, it is possible to restore your ownership rights. But this can be a lengthy and laborious process. The better course of action is to fight the charges and keep your gun rights intact. For this, you’ll need the help of a skilled attorney like those at our firm.

Do you have a domestic violence defense lawyer near me?

The Columbus office of Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205. We also meet anyone who is being detained in a holding cell or a prison.

Call our domestic violence defense lawyers in Columbus now

If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime, you need immediate help. Your freedom and your relationships with your family are on the line. Stay calm. Keep silent. Contact the Columbus attorneys at Soroka & Associates to discuss your options and your defenses. You can call us at 614-358-6525 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We’ll speak for you. We’ll fight for your reputation. We serve clients in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond.