What to Expect in a Felony Domestic Violence Case

felony domestic violence case process

Domestic violence has become a serious problem in the United States, with nearly 10 million cases reported annually. Every case is different and can vary from minor verbal abuse to violent physical attacks.

It’s important to understand what to expect if you or someone close to you ever finds themselves involved in a domestic violence case.

This article will provide an overview of all these aspects so you can better prepare for any situation involving domestic violence. A Cleveland domestic violence attorney at The Botnick Law Firm can provide more help.

Domestic Violence Laws in Ohio

Domestic violence laws vary from state to state. In Ohio, domestic violence is considered a criminal offense that can result in severe legal penalties.

Domestic violence laws in Ohio cover a wide range of behaviors, including assault, menacing, stalking, and harassment. The legal definition of domestic violence in Ohio includes individuals who share a household, family members or individuals who have a child in common.

Domestic Violence Case Process

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Ohio, it is essential to understand the legal process involved.

The following steps are involved in the domestic violence case process in Ohio:

  • Arrest and bail — If the police have probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred, they can arrest the suspected perpetrator without a warrant. After the arrest, the accused may be released on bail or held in custody until the preliminary hearing.
  • Preliminary hearing — Within 10 days of the arrest, a preliminary hearing is held to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with the case. At the hearing, the prosecutor presents evidence, and the defendant can cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses.
  • Indictment — If the judge determines that there is enough evidence to support charges, the case is forwarded to the grand jury for indictment. The grand jury reviews the evidence and decides whether to indict the defendant.
  • Pretrial hearings – After a defendant has been arraigned on the charges, pretrial hearings are scheduled in order for the defendant to obtain evidence from the prosecutor that is to be used at trial. Additional pretrial hearings can be scheduled in order for the defendant to review the evidence and investigate the case on his own.
  • Plea bargaining — Before the trial, the prosecutor may offer a plea bargain to the defendant. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense in which the defendant pleads guilty to a reduced or amended charge in exchange for a reduced potential sentence.
  • Trial — If the case goes to trial, the prosecutor presents evidence, and the defense can cross-examine the witnesses. If it is a jury trial, the jury decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charges. If the case is tried by a judge, the judge decides whether the defendant is guilty or not.
  • Sentencing — If the defendant is found guilty, the judge determines the sentence based on the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Ohio

Penalties for domestic violence in Ohio can be severe and vary depending on the severity of the offense, whether the defendant has previously been convicted of domestic violence, and the defendant’s criminal history.

For example, a first-degree misdemeanor can result in up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, while a fourth-degree felony can result in up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, a mandatory counseling and treatment program may be required. A domestic violence conviction will also result in the loss of your Second Amendment Right to own or be around firearms.

Possible Defenses for Domestic Violence Charges

Here is a list of defenses for domestic violence charges in Ohio:

  • Self-defense
  • False accusations
  • Lack of evidence
  • Mistaken identity

It is important to consult with an experienced Cleveland criminal defense lawyer to determine the best defense strategy based on the specific circumstances of your case.

Protection Orders In Domestic Violence Cases

Temporary or permanent protection orders (also called restraining orders) may be filed against you to prevent contact with the alleged victim and their family. The named victim in the case may request an “ex parte” order or a full hearing, and you will have the opportunity to present a defense at the hearing.

If the court finds sufficient grounds for granting the order, it will be issued with terms that prohibit contact and intimidation.

Your Rights in a Domestic Violence Case

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Ohio, you have certain rights that must be protected.

These include:

  • The right to an attorney — You have the right to an attorney to represent you in court. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you.
  • The right to remain silent — You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so it is essential to consult with your attorney before speaking to the police or anyone else who could testify at your trial.
  • The right to a fair trial — You have the right to a fair trial, including the right to an impartial jury and the right to confront witnesses.
  • The right to appeal — If you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal the verdict and sentence.

Getting Legal Representation for Domestic Violence Cases

Getting legal representation for domestic violence cases is crucial for achieving the best possible outcome. An experienced domestic violence attorney can help you navigate the legal process, understand your rights, and build a strong defense to get your domestic violence case dismissed.

At The Botnick Law Firm in Ohio, we have extensive experience in domestic violence cases and are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients. If you or a loved one is facing domestic violence charges, contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward protecting your future.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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