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"Brian Joslyn is an Award-Winning Criminal and DUI Defense attorney who, along with his team at The Joslyn Law Firm, have handled hundreds of criminal cases and helping their clients obtain the best results possible."

We Are Experienced Domestic Violence Attorneys Who Will Defend Your Rights

If you were arrested in southwestern Ohio for an alleged offense involving domestic violence, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Joslyn Law Firm aggressively defends clients throughout Hamilton County and surrounding areas who have been accused of domestic violence.

Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer Brian Joslyn understands the tremendous stress that these kinds of arrests place on alleged offenders. He works tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes to domestic violence cases, including possibly having criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

The attorneys of Joslyn Law Firm have handled hundreds of domestic violence cases for clients all over Hamilton County, including Cincinnati, Norwood, Forest Park, Blue Ash, Springdale, Reading, Montgomery, Harrison, and many other nearby communities. You can take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyers review your case and help you understand your legal options when you call (513) 399-6289 today.

Cincinnati Domestic Violence Lawyer

When police officers in Ohio respond to calls relating to domestic violence (frequently referred to as “DV’), it usually means that one person will end up being placed under arrest. Even when there is a complete lack of evidence and an alleged victim expresses a desire not to press charges, the alleged offender will still be taken into custody and be forced to deal with the numerous court appearances that result.

Increased awareness about domestic violence in recent years has led to a more dramatic emphasis on making alleged offenders in these cases face harsh penalties. While such punishments are often intended to be for the safety of alleged victims, the consequences of a conviction for an alleged offender can be quite severe and long-lasting well beyond just any fines and terms of incarceration.

Ohio Domestic Violence Information Center

  1. Ohio Domestic Violence Overview
  2. Definition of Domestic Violence
  3. Common Domestic Violence Charges
  4. Domestic Violence Defenses
  5. Ohio Penalties for Domestic Violence Conviction
  6. Domestic Violence Resources
  7. Allegations and Filing Domestic Violence
  8. Warrant for arrest for Domestic Violence Charges In Hamilton County
  9. When Domestic Violence Charges are Filed, the Victim Can’t Turn Back
  10. Protection Orders and Victims' Rights in Domestic Violence Case
  11. The Court Process in Domestic Violence Cases
  12. Evidence In Domestic Violence Cases
  13. Preventing Testimony In Domestic Violence Trials
  14. Collateral Consequences of a DV Conviction
  15. Domestic Violence Cases with Children
  16. Cincinnati Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit / Specialized Prosecution
  17. Related Domestic Violence News and Articles

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1. Overview of Domestic Violence in Hamilton County

The phrase domestic violence is not limited to a single type of act or event. The term encompasses a wide variety of behaviors or actions that involve people who have some kind of familial relationship.

Domestic violence may involve physical, verbal, or sexual attacks, and not all cases result in physical injuries. Some alleged offenders may have histories of abusive behaviors while others may face criminal charges for isolated incidents.

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2. Definition of Domestic Violence in Ohio

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2919.25, alleged offenders can be charged with domestic violence if they:

  • knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household members;
  • recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household members; or
  • by threat of force, knowingly cause family or household members to believe that they will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household members.

It is critical to understand that despite what the name implies, a person may be arrested for domestic violence even when there is no physical contact between an alleged offender and an alleged victim.

Learn more about the Ohio Domestic Violence Statute.

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3. Types of Domestic Violence Crimes and Related Offenses in Cincinnati

A few of the most common criminal charges relating to domestic violence that people face in Cincinnati include, but are not limited to:

  • Child Abuse / Neglect — Ohio Revised Code § 2151.031 defines an abused child as any child who is the victim of sexual activity; is endangered; exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted other than by accidental means, or an injury or death which is at variance with the history given of it; because of the acts of his or her parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare; or is subjected to out-of-home care child abuse. Ohio Revised Code § 2151.03 defines a neglected child as any child who is abandoned by the child's parents, guardian, or custodian; who lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian; whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child's health, morals, or well-being; whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child's mental condition; whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of state child custody laws; who, because of the omission of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare; or who is subjected to out-of-home care child neglect. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22, an alleged offender can be charged with endangering children if he or she does any of the following to a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age: abuses the child; tortures or cruelly abuses the child; administers corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure, or physically restrains the child in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period, which punishment, discipline, or restraint is excessive under the circumstances and creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child; repeatedly administers unwarranted disciplinary measures to the child, when there is a substantial risk that such conduct, if continued, will seriously impair or retard the child's mental health or development; entices, coerces, permits, encourages, compels, hires, employs, uses, or allows the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, is sexually oriented matter, or is nudity-oriented matter; allows the child to be on the same parcel of real property and within 100 feet of, or, in the case of more than one housing unit on the same parcel of real property, in the same housing unit and within 100 feet of the illegal manufacture of drugs or the illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs when the alleged offender knows that the act is occurring.
  • Domestic Assault / Battery — Assault is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2903.13 as knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another person or to another person's unborn child, or recklessly causing serious physical harm to another person or to another person's unborn child. Battery is the intentional infliction of physical harm to another person or to another person's unborn child. These offenses can become domestic assault or domestic battery when the alleged victim is a family or household member.
  • Rape — Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 defines rape as engaging in sexual conduct with another person when any of the following applies: For the purpose of preventing resistance, the offender substantially impairs the other person's judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception; The other person is less than 13 years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person; The other person's ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person's ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age; or when the alleged offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force.
  • Sexual Battery — Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.03, sexual battery is defined as engaging in sexual conduct with another person when the alleged offender knowingly coerces the alleged victim to submit by any means that would prevent resistance by a person of ordinary resolution; the alleged offender knows that the alleged victim's ability to appraise the nature of or control the alleged victim's own conduct is substantially impaired; the alleged offender knows that the alleged victim submits because the alleged victim is unaware that the act is being committed; the alleged offender knows that the alleged victim submits because the alleged victim mistakenly identifies the alleged offender as the alleged victim's spouse; the alleged offender is the alleged victim's natural or adoptive parent, or a stepparent, or guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the other person; the alleged victim is in custody of law or a patient in a hospital or other institution, and the alleged offender has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the alleged victim; the alleged offender is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other person in authority employed by or serving in a school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards, the alleged victim is enrolled in or attends that school, and the alleged offender is not enrolled in and does not attend that school; the alleged victim is a minor, the alleged offender is a teacher, administrator, coach, or other person in authority employed by or serving in an institution of higher education, and the alleged victim is enrolled in or attends that institution; the alleged victim is a minor, and the alleged offender is the other person's athletic or other type of coach, is the alleged victim's instructor, is the leader of a scouting troop of which the alleged victim is a member, or is a person with temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the alleged victim; the alleged offender is a mental health professional, the alleged victim is a mental health client or patient of the alleged offender, and the alleged offender induces the alleged victim to submit by falsely representing to the alleged victim that the sexual conduct is necessary for mental health treatment purposes; the alleged victim is confined in a detention facility, and the alleged offender is an employee of that detention facility; the alleged victim is a minor, the alleged offender is a cleric, and the alleged victim is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric; or the alleged victim is a minor, the alleged offender is a peace officer, and the alleged offender is more than two years older than the other person.
  • Menacing by Stalking — Ohio Revised Code § 2903.211 defines menacing by stalking as, by engaging in a pattern of conduct, knowingly causing another person to believe that the alleged offender will cause physical harm to the other person or cause mental distress to the other person or, through the use of any electronic method of remotely transferring information, posting a message with the purpose to urge or incite another person to commit a menacing by stalking violation.
  • Violating Protection Order — Under Ohio Revised Code § 2919.27, an alleged offender can be charged with violating a protection order if he or she violate the terms of any protection order issued in Ohio or by the court of another state.

Learn more about domestic violence and related offenses.

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4. Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges in Hamilton County

When people are accused of an act of domestic violence, alleged offenders cannot think that simply articulating their views of how the incidents occurred will result in criminal charges being thrown out. Many cases can become “he said/she said” affairs with conflicting versions of events.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use any one of a number of strategies to possibly get criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Some of the most common defenses in these cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-Defense — When an alleged offender has been physically attacked or is believes that he or she was in danger of being injured, then that person has the right to defend him or herself. Judges and juries are less likely to convict alleged offenders when incidents of domestic violence were actually initiated by the actions of the alleged victims.
  • Lack of Evidence — Simply put, a prosecutor will have a difficult time securing a conviction if there is no proof that an alleged offender committed an act of domestic violence or that his or her actions caused any alleged injuries.
  • False Allegations — During contentious divorce or child custody proceedings, it is not uncommon for current or former spouses to manufacture allegations of domestic violence in order to punish the alleged offender and gain leverage in those civil disputes.
  • Defense of Others — In certain situations, an alleged offender may have harmed a family or household member while attempting to protect another family or household member or other person.
  • Accidental Injury — During some domestic disputes, alleged victims may have legitimate injuries that were actually the result of their own negligence or some other cause other than the actions of an alleged offender.

Learn more about available defenses to domestic violence charges here.

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5. Domestic Violence Penalties in Ohio

The possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction can vary depending on a number of factors. In addition to the underlying charge, the criminal record of the alleged offender, the type of alleged victim, and the severity of the injuries involved can all impact the classification of the alleged offense:

Generally, convictions in Ohio are punishable as follows:


Term of Incarceration


Minor Misdemeanor


Up to $150

Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 30 days in jail

Up to $250

Third-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 60 days in jail

Up to $500

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 90 days in jail

Up to $750

First-Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 180 days in jail

Up to $1,000

Fifth-Degree Felony

Up to 12 months in prison

Up to $2,500

Fourth-Degree Felony

Up to 18 months in prison

Up to $5,000

Third-Degree Felony

Up to 60 months in prison

Up to $10,000

Second-Degree Felony

Up to eight years in prison

Up to $15,000

First-Degree Felony

Up to 11 years in prison

Up to $20,000

Learn more about the Ohio Domestic Violence penalties.

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6. Cincinnati Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic Violence Shelters & Transitional Living Program | YWCA Greater Cincinnati — The YWCA identifies itself as a Community Based Organization “dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” In regards to domestic violence, the organization provides “safe protective shelter, crisis line assistance and necessary supportive services for adults and their children to move them toward self-sufficiency, independence and freedom from abuse.” Learn more about shelters and transitional housing on this section of the YWCA website.

YWCA Greater Cincinnati
898 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 241-7090

Women Helping Women — Women Helping Women provides crisis intervention and support services for women and men who are survivors of domestic violence in Hamilton County. Ob this website, you can find statistics about domestic violence and what you can do if you’re the victim of domestic violence. You can also learn more about services offered by Women Helping Women and ways to get involved with the organization.

Women Helping Women
Hamilton County Office
215 E. Ninth Street, 7th Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 977-5541

Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) — In its mission statement, ODVN “advances the principles that all people have the right to an oppression and violence free life; fosters changes in our economic, social and political systems; and brings leadership, expertise and best practices to community programs.” You can find various resources on this website relating to domestic violence and animal issues, law, religion, and the workplace. Information for survivors includes a downloadable self-help manual.

Learn more about domestic violence resources.

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7. How Domestic Violence Charges Are Filed in Hamilton County

When authorities respond to a call relating to domestic violence, criminal charges will typically be filed if an alleged offender’s actions constitute any kind of crime. The prosecutor’s office will investigate cases and pursue the criminal charges in court when it feels there is enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Learn more about notifying law enforcement and filing charges.

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8. Ohio Arrest Warrants Based on Domestic Violence Charges

During a police investigation at the scene of an alleged incident of domestic violence, authorities will promptly sign or file a warrant for the alleged offender’s arrest if probable cause exists and the alleged offender is no longer at the scene. Probable cause exists for issue a warrant when an alleged victim completes a Form 311VS, Victim’s Statement, and alleges facts and circumstances that meet the elements of Ohio Revised Code § 2919.25.

Learn more about the steps to take after a domestic violence warrant is issued.

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9. When Victims in Cincinnati Domestic Violence Cases Want to ‘Drop the Charges’

Incidents of domestic violence often arise from heated disagreements when emotions run high. After both sides have had time to cool down, alleged victims may realize that it was a mistake to call police and express a desire to not have the alleged offenders face criminal charges.

When an alleged victim tells the person who was arrested for domestic violence that he or she will not pursue the charges, the alleged offender frequently assumes that this means there will be no criminal case. The truth, however, is that once police have filed the charges, only the prosecutor has the power to reduce or dismiss the charges.

Learn more about roles of victims in the prosecution of domestic violence cases.

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10. Hamilton County Domestic Violence Protection Orders

A civil or criminal protection order (frequently referred to as a restraining order) is a court order that directs an alleged offender not to contact or harass an alleged victim. Depending on the protection order, an alleged offender may be required to do or not do certain things.

Temporary protection orders may be issued without the alleged offender, but the alleged offender is allowed to present his or her case at a hearing before a final protection order is issued. Protection orders can contain any one of a number of possible injunctions, including required counseling, orders to vacate shared residences, and/or prohibition on possession of any firearms and ammunition.

Learn more about protection order hearings.

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11. Ohio Domestic Violence Case Procedure

When a person is arrested for a domestic violence offense, the criminal process can take several weeks or months to play out. Generally, these cases will involve the following court appearances:

  • Arraignment — The arraignment is the alleged offender’s first court appearance at which the judge informs the alleged offender of the criminal charges and is given the opportunity to enter his or her initial plea. In a majority of cases, people plead not guilty at this stage of the process.
  • Pre-Trial Hearing — During the pre-trial hearing, the alleged offender’s criminal defense lawyer will be able to utilize discovery to have the prosecutor turn over all evidence in the case. The prosecutor and defense attorney may also being pre-trial negotiations relating to a possible reduction the charges, and the defense lawyer could also raise any evidentiary issues.
  • Trial — If the prosecution and the defense are not able to reach a plea agreement, the case will be set for trial. At a criminal trial, the prosecutor and the defense attorney present their cases to a jury that renders a verdict.

Every case is different, and not all cases will require all of these steps to achieve a favorable resolution.

Learn more about the Domestic Violence Court Process.

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12. Types of Evidence in Cincinnati Cases of Domestic Violence

The types of evidence that are involved in domestic violence cases can vary by case. In some cases, alleged victims or police may have photographs of injuries. Evidence can also include text messages or emails in cases involving electronic harassment before or after the alleged incident.

In most cases, evidence frequently relies on the testimony of the alleged victim and any witnesses. The kinds of evidence involved in a case relating to domestic violence can be very important because a lack of evidence may lead to criminal charges being reduced or dismissed.

Learn more about evidence in a domestic violence case.

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13. Refusing to Testify In Hamilton County Domestic Violence Cases

Testifying in any criminal case can be an extremely stressful experience. For certain people, being honest and forthright under oath may have unintended consequences later on.

Fortunately, individuals in certain situations may be able to utilize certain rights that prevent them from testifying or disclosing privileged information. Some of these privileges include:

  • Competency
  • Fifth Amendment Privilege Against Self-Incrimination
  • Spousal Privilege

While many of these privileges provide tremendous protection for certain people, there can be limits to some of the powers in domestic violence cases.

Learn more about preventing testimony in domestic violence cases.

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14. Types of Collateral Consequences to Convictions for Domestic Violence in Ohio

When a person is facing domestic violence charges, the primary concern is generally with the more immediate penalties such as incarceration and fines. A conviction for one of these crimes, however, can carry consequences that are much further-reaching and longer-lasting.

Domestic violence on a person’s criminal record can lead to extreme difficulty in obtaining employment or housing. A conviction can also significantly impact the rights that an individual has both as a parent and a citizen.

Learn more about the collateral consequences of a domestic violence charge.

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15. When Children are Alleged Victims in Cincinnati Domestic Violence Cases

Cases of child abuse in which the alleged offender is the parent or legal guardian of the child are considered domestic violence. It is not uncommon for many alleged offenders to find themselves facing criminal charges when they were merely disciplining their children.

Parents and legal guardians in Ohio are permitted to use so-called “corporal punishment” in disciplining children, but it can be extremely difficult to determine what is considered discipline and what is considered abuse. Generally, corporal punishment becomes criminal when it involves a risk of death, serious injury, or substantial pain to the child.

Learn more about domestic violence and children.

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16. Domestic Violence Units in Hamilton County

The City Prosecutor’s Office in Cincinnati has two Domestic Violence Victim Advocates who serve as liaisons to domestic violence victims with cases being prosecuted by the City Prosecutor’s Office. Surrounding counties in the Cincinnati area also have special units that specifically focus on domestic violence offenses.

Learn more about Ohio's special domestic violence units.

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17. Ohio News and Articles About Domestic Violence

Man Charged With Domestic Violence After Four-Hour Standoff— The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Beechmont Avenue had to be shut down on June 19 while police responded to reports of a suicidal man barricaded inside a building. According to court documents, the standoff began when the 45-year-old man’s girlfriend said she was moving out. He allegedly struck her and put a loaded .25 caliber Titan handgun to his head before fleeing to the garage and barricading himself there. After four hours of negotiations, the man was taken into custody and charged with domestic violence and inducing panic.

Bill Gives Domestic Violence Victims New Addresses — On June 8, Governor John Kasich signed a bill establishing Ohio's Address Confidentiality Program into law. House Bill 359 allows domestic violence victims to protect their information when registering a vehicle or registering to vote by letting them use special post-office box addresses rather than using their personal addresses. The bill helps hide sensitive information that would otherwise be available through Ohio's public voting database. Read the full text of the bill here.

House of Representatives Passes Bill Expanding Protections for Domestic Violence Victims — On May 25, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 392 (HB 392) with a vote of 96-0. WKYC reported that supports claim the bill “will close a loophole that leaves victims vulnerable to intimate partner violence” by allowing people in “ongoing, substantial, intimate and romantic relationships” to be included for domestic violence protection. HB 392 was introduced in the Ohio Senate on June 1, and you can read the full text of the bill here.

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Joslyn Law Firm | Cincinnati Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of domestic violence in Hamilton County or a surrounding area of southwestern Ohio, do not delay in seeking legal representation. Joslyn Law Firm fights to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed for clients in the greater Cincinnati area, including Anderson, Colerain, Delhi, Green, Harrison, Miami, Springfield, Symmes, Sycamore, and several other locations. Call (513) 399-6289 or complete an online contact form today to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

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