Facing Domestic Violence charges in Cleveland?

Domestic violence accusations can be life-changing for EVERYONE involved. Entire families can be torn apart when a loved one is charged with creating an abusive situation. The accused abusers are often kept from their loved ones, struggling through the legal process alone, trying to explain their side of the story. In contrast, their loved ones are left feeling scared, anxious, and uncertain about the family’s future.

These matters are even more complex for parents who are accused of abuse. With the support of a trusted Cleveland domestic violence lawyer, you can get through this ordeal and protect your reputation. Suppose you’ve been accused or charged with domestic violence or any other criminal charge in Ohio. In that case, it can have catastrophic impacts on your family life, career, and, ultimately, your freedom. The Botnick Law Firm is focused on helping you fight these charges to defend your rights and liberties. Experienced criminal defense attorney Robert Botnick will work hard to get you the BEST verdict for your future.

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Domestic violence does not necessarily involve physical violence. Many situations can result in charges. When partners or ex-partners feel threatened or endangered by another’s behavior, they may feel inclined to pursue domestic violence charges against them. Once law enforcement becomes involved, these charges are taken VERY SERIOUSLY. Your lives and relationships will be thoroughly investigated and examined closely for any “red flags” that could have led to domestic violence. Here are some situations that have commonly triggered a victim to pursue domestic violence charges:

  • Stalking. A past or present spouse is repeatedly followed, monitored, watched, or harassed to the point of feeling uncomfortable. This can even result from frequent texting, emailing, and calling.
  • Damaging property. If there is any property damage, whether the property is owned by the accused or not, any destruction of property can be alarming and cause a partner to feel threatened.
  • Restricting communications. Limiting a spouse’s ability to speak to family or friends, not allowing them to leave the house, and limiting access to phones and the internet can all feel like threatening behavior.
  • Physical altercations. Any unwanted physical contact, regardless of whether an injury is caused, could lead to domestic violence charges.
  • Self-harm. Threatening to harm oneself to a spouse, ex-spouse, family member, household member, or partner.
  • Sharing personal information. Distributing information like private text messages or photos could be detrimental to one’s image.


At the moment, domestic violence can be an intense, high-adrenaline altercation that leaves each spouse traumatized — If you are seriously injured or in danger, contact your local authorities immediately. Whether you are the one being accused or the victim, if you have injuries, seek medical attention immediately. Once you’re in a safe area and your injuries have been properly treated, you should call a top-rated criminal defense attorney. You need Cleveland domestic violence lawyers who will work hard to get you the BEST verdict for your future, so you can focus on getting yourself and your family back to normal. Contact us today for help defending your rights and freedoms.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer


Contact a criminal defense law firm with years of experience defending the criminally accused throughout Cleveland and across Northeastern Ohio. Work with an attorney who will do everything possible to keep you out of jail with a clean record. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, contact Mr. Botnick as soon as possible to build a solid case to help save your employment, family, and life. Schedule your consultation today.


Working with a Cleveland criminal defense lawyer can be a life-changing decision. You need Ohio domestic violence attorney Robert Botnick with you in court to get the BEST possible outcome for your case.

The criminal defense lawyers at Botnick Law Firm are ready to FIGHT for clients facing a domestic violence offense or other criminal charges.

  • Quality Representation · Rewarding Results
  • Get The BEST Verdict For Your Future
  • Keep A CLEAN Criminal Record
  • Stay Out of Jail
  • 100% Confidential Consultation

Our #1 goal is to protect the rights and liberties of the criminally accused. If you are involved in an Ohio domestic violence charge, contact our office as soon as it is safe. Mr. Botnick will help get you the best possible results for your case — Book a consultation today for assistance building your domestic violence defense.

Crimes of domestic violence are a severe and pervasive problem and carry severe legal and social penalties that can affect the rest of your life. Millions of people are affected by domestic violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

A person accused of domestic violence can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony and be subject to significant fines, jail time, community service, and counseling, depending on the situation’s circumstances and prior criminal history. A person can be charged with domestic violence even if the alleged victim has no physical injuries.

An experienced domestic violence lawyer can help you navigate this complicated area of law.


The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) defines domestic violence as knowingly or recklessly causing physical harm to a family or household member or threatening or attempting to use physical force to harm a family or household member.


  • Threat of violence
  • Reckless harm (an action that does not necessarily intend to inflict damage but does so)
  • Intentional harm

Other circumstances can result in a domestic violence charge, such as:

  • Causing or attempting to cause physical harm
  • Emotional abuse
  • Spousal abuse
  • Controlling or intimidating behaviors, such as not letting your intimate partner socialize with other people, prohibiting a partner from contacting family, taking your partner’s cell phone away, threatening suicide if your partner ever tries to leave
  • Menacing
  • Aggravated menacing
  • Menacing by stalking, including the use of electronic media to conduct this behavior
  • Aggravated trespass
  • History of violence towards the victim
  • Possession of a deadly weapon
  • Violating a protection order or restraining order
  • Child abuse or victimizing a minor (physical, sexual, or mental injury); forcing a minor to engage in a sexual performance or appear in sexually explicit material
  • Rape
  • Sexual battery


A domestic violence case most often starts with a call to 911. In Ohio, police have been granted broad authority in determining at the scene whether domestic violence has occurred and if an arrest is necessary. They do not need a warrant to arrest someone on a domestic violence charge. People are often shocked at the severe effects calling the police may have. Once the police arrive, they will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine what has occurred. They will look into whether the alleged perpetrator has any history of domestic violence, take down the statement of witnesses, observe the severity of the injuries to any of the parties, if any, or if a protection order was violated. The most likely scenario is that they will arrest the alleged perpetrator, even if the individuals claimed that the domestic dispute was minor and nothing further needs to be done. People can (and do) be arrested and charged due to a minor domestic dispute. Sometimes multiple people are charged and arrested.

It is important to note that once a charge has been filed, it cannot be withdrawn.


If the police determine that you were the aggressor in a domestic violence incident, you will be arrested for domestic violence on the spot.

There are immediate consequences as a result of the arrest:

  • You will be sent to jail
  • You will spend time in jail until brought before a judge
  • You will not have a bail set until you see the judge
  • You will be prohibited from contacting the alleged victim by the issuance of a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)
  • Your right to possess a firearm will be revoked
  • Any firearms you have will be confiscated until the case is resolved


You will be formally advised of the charges against you at your first court appearance. It is beneficial to call a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. A domestic violence charge is very serious, and it is best to go through the legal process with a lawyer. Often, but not always, your domestic violence lawyer will try to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor, including having you plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge, less severe penalties, or both. If a plea bargain is not offered or you decide to refuse it, the next step is going to trial. Once law enforcement and the courts are involved, the case will likely take a long time to resolve. Whether you are guilty or not, your reputation may be irreparably harmed in the community and your workplace. Take these charges seriously.


To determine the best strategy going forward, a criminal defense lawyer will:

  • Examine the statements you made at the time of your arrest and the statements made by others
  • Ascertain if the alleged victim appeared or still appears to be traumatized or fearful
  • Assess whether what you say happened is corroborated or refuted by evidence
  • Look into any evidence of injuries, such as photographs or doctor reports
  • Watch the recordings of the police interview and determine if law enforcement did things “by the book”
  • Check into your past to ascertain if this is the first time you were involved in something like this or if you have a prior domestic violence charge



At trial, your lawyer may claim that you were falsely accused and the claims made against you were complete fabrications. Your attorney may mention that your alleged accuser has a grudge against you or wants to get revenge and that they exaggerated what happened—or even made it up entirely. Your lawyer might claim that the alleged victim injured themselves and accused you of “getting back” at you for something.


Another possible defense in domestic violence cases is that the alleged perpetrator acted in self-defense. Again, your lawyer will examine your statement and those of any witnesses and see if any evidence supports this claim.


A defense that claims that the injuries suffered by the alleged victim were the result of an accident, and you did nothing wrong or reckless that resulted in the injuries.


Your lawyer may claim that the prosecution has not reached the burden of proof needed to convict you of the crime of domestic violence. Perhaps the entire case against you relies on the alleged victim’s statements but cannot be corroborated by others. Maybe the alleged victim has no injuries or evidence of injuries that back up their allegations of what happened. Each domestic violence case is unique. You need to contact a lawyer specializing in domestic violence cases as soon as possible after arrest to preserve your rights and get the best resolution possible.


Charged with a crime of domestic violence? If you are unsure what to do next and need help navigating the complicated Ohio domestic violence laws, contact The Botnick Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. Your future is at stake. Call us now to get the help you deserve. An experienced Cleveland domestic violence lawyer can help get you through this. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Process step-by-step

  • 01.
    Initial Arrest

    01. Initial Arrest

    The process to charge someone that’s been accused of a crime begins with an arrest. If the police have reason to believe that someone has committed a crime, the accused can be taken into custody. Police will usually start by asking basic questions like name and address to identify a person, and then they’ll often pivot to more specific questions related to the incident. At some point during this, you should have been read your “Miranda warnings.”

  • 02.
    Reading Your Rights

    02. Reading Your Rights

    You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court. Those are your unwavering rights that must be recited upon taking someone into custody. Take note of when these rights are read to you, as it could be helpful information for your attorney.

  • 03.

    03. Booking

    When you’ve been taken down to the station, police will fingerprint you and get your photograph to update their records. Once this is done, you should be granted the opportunity to contact your criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a loved one to book a consultation with a lawyer on your behalf. It’s important that you do NOT disclose any details about your case over the phone with your loved ones, as those calls are monitored.

  • 04.

    04. Investigation

    After you’ve made it through the booking process, the police may begin conducting their investigation with you. Depending on the situation, this might include a personal search, collecting samples, interviewing/interrogating, police lineups, etc.

  • 05.
    Court Appearance

    05. Court Appearance

    You’ll be held at the station until you can be brought before a judge. The initial court appearance will happen within 48 hours or less of the arrest. Here, the judge will review the case and decide if there’s any reason to keep you in holding or if bail can be granted. If bail is granted, you’re allowed to be released upon certain conditions.

  • 06.

    06. Hearing

    Depending on the seriousness of your allegations, you may have a preliminary hearing at which a judge can determine whether enough evidence exists to charge you with that level of crime. You’ll be able to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you plead not guilty, your case will be sent to trial. You may get the opportunity to enter a plea deal. That’s something your attorney will advise you on.

  • 07.

    07. Discovery

    In the discovery stage, the case against you is made much more transparent. The prosecutor will share the evidence they have against you with your defense attorney. During this time, your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be. All of the evidence on the table will be considered, and your lawyer will work with you to form the best plan for your defense.

  • 08.

    08. Trial

    If a plea deal is unable to be reached, the case will enter trial. During the trial, the prosecutor begins by presenting the case to the jury. They share any evidence they have against you and have witnesses make their statements for the prosecution. This can be tough to sit through. Afterward, it’s your lawyer’s turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. Your lawyer can question the prosecutor’s witnesses and all of the evidence that was used against you. There are many different strategies that your lawyer will use to defend you during the trial.

  • 09.

    09. Sentencing

    In a best-case scenario, you will have been found not guilty by the end of the trial, and the charges against you have been dropped. If you are found guilty, the judge must determine what your sentence/penalties will be. The sentencing will happen at another hearing, usually a few weeks after your trial ends.

Ohio Felony Sentencing

Prison TIme
Maximum Fine
First Degree
3-11 years
Second Degree
2-8 years
Third Degree
9-36 or 12-60 months
Fourth Degree
6-8 months
Fifth Degree
6-12 months

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing

Jail Time
Maximum Fine
First Degree
Up to 180 days
Second Degree
Up to 90 days
Third Degree
Up to 60 days
Fourth Degree
Up to 30 days
Minor Misdemeanor

Frequently Asked Questions

How serious are domestic violence charges in Ohio?

Charges can be devastating for those accused of domestic violence crimes. Your entire life becomes exposed to the courts, only to be combed through for evidence of violent behaviors. They will take into consideration things like your history, and the injuries sustained, if any. Once charged, it can impact your relationships, your career, and can even result in jail time.

How long do domestic violence charges show up on your criminal record?

With the right legal representation, you can win your case and have your charges dropped, and sealed. If you are convicted, depending on the severity those charges may show up on your criminal record for the rest of your life. Once your fines are paid and any jail time is served, there are determined waiting periods in Ohio before you may pursue expungement.

What is the domestic violence law in Ohio?

Under Ohio law, domestic violence charges can be pursued by family or household members that have been harmed or threatened. This includes spouses or romantic partners, exes, children, parents, and extended family members. Ohio courts also state that incidents with close relatives of a spouse or ex-spouse may also fall under the domestic violence law. If convicted, depending on the situation you could be facing either a misdemeanor or a felony with fines and jail time.

Ohio Courts System

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