Domestic violence in Ohio is a misleading and over-charged offense. Common sense has given way to the current climate in this country surrounding violence against women. Those statements, however, could be viewed as inflammatory and, therefore, here is my argument.
Law enforcement and prosecutors charge people with domestic violence when no person would actually categorize the alleged conduct as “violent.” The statutory language in Ohio describes domestic violence as knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
Thus, if a person pokes their family member in the chest during an argument or pushes them out of the way, that person can be charged with domestic violence. Should that person be facing 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine? Is that conduct the same as a man who repeatedly hits his wife? I think not.
Moreover, in many domestic violence cases, the alleged victim asks the prosecutor to drop the charge once cooler heads have prevailed. However, the prosecutor and “victim’s advocate” often attempt to bully the victim into cooperating with the prosecution. If the victim does not appear for hearings, the prosecutor will attempt to hold the victim in contempt and have them jailed. And this is all in the name of protecting them.
Common Domestic Violence Scenario in Ohio
One very common scenario that results in a domestic violence charge in Ohio goes like this: husband and wife get into a heated argument, and both parties push each other. No acts of violence, such as a punch, occur and no one is injured. However, because the argument gets heated, one or both parties call 911.
This is an enormous mistake. Once the police hear of any physical contact between the parties, one or both parties will be arrested. Law enforcement does not arrive to be a marriage counselor or mediator for the parties – they arrest people. Moreover, even if the police do not want to arrest anyone, law enforcement is required to remove someone from the home.
Once the police respond and, after hearing that husband pushed his wife, the police will arrest the husband, charge him with domestic violence, and take him to jail. However, the wife only wanted the police to cool things down. Once the police become involved, the alleged victim’s intent is irrelevant.
So, what is the lesson here? Do not call the police unless you are in fear of violence. Do not call the police to cool things down because even if there is no injury, one or both parties will be arrested and charged with domestic violence.
Is Actual Injury Required for Domestic Violence in Ohio?
The short answer is “no.” Courts in Ohio routinely find that the “harm” required by statute can be “fleeting” or “slight.” Moreover, no harm need actually occur because the statute allows for an attempt to cause harm. Thus, the push described in the scenario above will suffice. This is why I stated above that domestic violence in Ohio is misleading. No reasonable person would describe a push as “violent” conduct.
This is not to say that there aren’t people who commit domestic violence. I have represented both men and women who caused serious injury or harm to their family member. That is not the point that I am trying to make. Domestic violence cases are not equal. A man who repeatedly physical abuses his wife should be charged with domestic violence. However, it could also be a wife who poked her husband in the chest, or attempted to do so. “Violence” is viewed very broadly and can lead to ridiculous results.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC to discuss your case. An experienced and knowledgeable Columbus and Delaware, Ohio domestic violence attorney can help you fight the charge and achieve the best possible outcome.
Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for Domestic Violence:
Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Pataskala, Franklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Union County and Delaware County