Domestic Violence

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 20,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s Best Criminal Defense Firms. We treat our clients like family with a non-judgmental approach. Knowledge is power in any situation. We are here to help educate you about your circumstances. Use our resources below to contact us and learn how we can help you.

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Domestic Violence Lawyer in Cincinnati, OH

If you were arrested in southwestern Ohio for an alleged domestic violence offense, it could help to retain legal counsel for criminal defense as soon as possible. Joslyn Law Firm defends clients accused of domestic violence throughout Hamilton County and surrounding areas.

Brian Joslyn, a criminal defense lawyer in Cincinnati, OH, 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 charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide a client with legal advice and a solid defense strategy.

Brian Joslyn has been recognized in both Ohio and throughout the U.S. for his legal skills. Some of his accomplishments include:

  • America’s Top 100 Attorneys
  • American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star Selectee

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. We want to put our experience handling domestic violence cases to work for you.

Lawyer for Domestic Violence Crimes in Cincinnati, OH

When police officers in Ohio respond to domestic violence calls (frequently referred to as “DV”), it usually means that one person will end up 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.

This is where Joslyn Law Firm comes in. We can help protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process and work towards a successful outcome in your case.

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 keep alleged victims safe, the consequences of a domestic violence conviction for an alleged offender can be quite severe and long-lasting, well beyond just any fines and terms of incarceration. Our team has combatted these penalties by putting our legal knowledge to work for our clients.

Some of our domestic violence case results include:

  • Domestic violence charges dismissed
  • Minimum sentence probation
  • Minimum community control
  • Penalty reduced to a fine
  • Record expunged
  • Case dismissal and removal from record

You can take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our Cincinnati, Ohio domestic violence lawyers review your case and help you understand your legal options when you call our law office at (513) 399-6289 today. Joslyn Law Firm is ready to take on your case.

Cincinnati Domestic Violence Information Center

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Overview of Domestic Violence in Cincinnati

The phrase domestic violence is not limited to a single type of act or event. The term encompasses many 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.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), if you’re charged with domestic assault, you’re less likely to be released before your trial. Also, if you’re charged with domestic sexual assault, you’re more likely to be convicted than non-domestic sexual assault defendants. This is why it’s so important to retain legal counsel following a domestic violence charge.

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Definition of Domestic Violence in Cincinnati, Ohio

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

  • Knowingly cause or attempt to cause harm to a family or household members
  • Recklessly cause serious harm to a family or household members
  • By threat of force, knowingly causing family or household members to believe that they will cause imminent harm to the family members or people in the household

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.


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Types of Domestic Violence Crimes and Related Offenses in Cincinnati

Below are a few of the most common charges relating to domestic violence that people face in Cincinnati, Ohio. If you were arrested in the southwestern Ohio area for an alleged offense involving domestic violence, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.

Our firm handles cases that fall within the practice area of domestic violence, among other crimes.

Child Abuse / Neglect

Ohio Revised Code § 2151.031 defines an abused child as any child who is:

  • The victim of sexual activity
  • Is in danger
  • Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death someone else inflicted on purpose
  • Because of the acts of their parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers a physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare
  • Is subjected to out-of-home care child abuse

Ohio Revised Code § 2151.03 defines a neglected child as any child who:

  • Was abandoned by the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Parents, guardians, or custodians neglect or refuse to provide proper or necessary sustenance, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child’s health, morals, or well-being
  • Parents, guardians, or custodians neglect or refuse to provide the special care made necessary by the child’s mental condition
  • Parents, legal guardians, or custodians have placed or attempted to place in someone else’s care in violation of state child custody laws
  • Because of the omission of the child’s parents, guardians, or custodians, suffers a physical or mental injury that harms or risks the child’s health or welfare
  • 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 they do any of the following to a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically disabled child under 21 years of age:

  • Abuse the child
  • Torture or cruelly abuse the child
  • Administer corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measures, or physically restrain 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 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, or is nudity-oriented
  • Allows the child to be on the same 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 the manufacturing of drugs when the alleged offender knows that the act is occurring

Child abuse and neglect charges can be tricky to navigate, especially with multiple charges, but a lawyer can help.

Domestic Assault / Battery

Assault is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2903.13 as knowingly or attempting to physically harm another person or another person’s unborn child or recklessly causing serious physical harm to another person or 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 domestic violence victim is a family or household member.


Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02 defines rape as engaging in sexual conduct with another person when any of the following applies:

  • To prevent 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, the 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 offender knows or should reasonably know the other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age
  • When the alleged offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force

If you face this situation when charged with domestic abuse, a rape defense lawyer can help you navigate these sensitive cases.

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 consent or control their conduct is substantially impaired
  • The alleged offender knows that the alleged victim submits because the alleged victim is unaware that they are committing the act
  • 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, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the other person
  • The alleged victim is in custody 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 another person in authority employed by or serving in a school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards
  • The alleged victim is a minor, the alleged offender is a teacher, administrator, coach, or another 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 their coach, instructor, leader of a scouting troop of which the alleged victim is a member or 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 claiming that the sexual conduct is necessary for mental health treatment purposes
  • The alleged victim is 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 where the cleric serves
  • The alleged victim is a minor, and the alleged offender is a peace officer more than two years older than them.

With such an expansive definition, you may be facing sexual battery charges and not know the best way to defend yourself. A member of our team is able to help.

Menacing by Stalking

Ohio Revised Code § 2903.211 defines menacing by stalking as causing another person to believe that the alleged offender will physically harm them or cause them mental distress through any electronic method of remotely transferring information, posting a message 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 they violate the terms of any protection order issued in Ohio or by another state court.


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Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges in Cincinnati and 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.

A criminal defense lawyer may be able to try to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Some of the most common defenses in domestic violence cases include, but are not limited to:


When an alleged offender has been physically attacked or believes they are in danger of being injured, then that person has the right to defend themself. Judges and juries are less likely to convict alleged offenders when the alleged victims’ actions initiated domestic violence events.

Lack of Evidence

Simply put, a prosecutor will have difficulty securing a domestic violence conviction if there is no proof that an alleged offender committed an act of domestic violence or that their 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 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 people.

Accidental Injury

During some domestic disputes, alleged victims may have legitimate injuries resulting from their own negligence—or some other cause other than an alleged offender’s actions.

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Domestic Violence Penalties in Cincinnati, Ohio

The possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction can vary depending on many 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:

Classification Term of Incarceration Fine
Minor Misdemeanor None 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

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Cincinnati Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic Violence Shelters & Transitional Living Program | YWCA Greater Cincinnati

The YWCA provides shelter, crisis assistance, and support services for abused adults and their children to become free from their abuse.

Learn more about shelters and transitional housing on 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 domestic violence survivors in Hamilton County. On 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 the services Women Helping Women offers 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)

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.

Office of the Public Defender (OPD)

The OPD has a criminal law casebook on domestic violence. You can find the Ohio statutes related to domestic violence and cases that might be similar to yours to find defenses.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Prevention Program (SADVPP)

The ODH created the SADVPP to fund local sexual and domestic violence prevention efforts. They also promote women’s health resources.

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How Domestic Violence Charges are Filed in Cincinnati

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 criminal charges in court when it feels there is enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

According to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) domestic violence benchbook, judges take special care when setting bond and pretrial release because Ohio courts take victims’ rights very seriously. They have to consider your history of violence, mental health, threat potential, and treatment.

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Cincinnati, Ohio Arrest Warrants Based on Domestic Violence Charges

During a police investigation at the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident, 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 issuing 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.

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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 the police and express a desire to prevent the alleged offenders from facing criminal charges.

When an alleged victim of domestic violence tells the offender they will not pursue the charges, the alleged offender frequently assumes that this means there will be no criminal case. However, the truth is that once the police have filed the charges, only the prosecutor has the power to reduce or dismiss the charges.

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Cincinnati 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 their case at a protection order hearing before a final order is issued. Protection orders can contain any one of a number of possible injunctions, including required counseling, orders to vacate shared residences, or the prohibition on possession of any firearms and ammunition.

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Cincinnati 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:


The arraignment is the alleged offender’s first court appearance where the judge informs the alleged offender of the criminal charges and gives them the opportunity to enter their 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 utilize discovery to have the prosecutor turn over all evidence in the case. The prosecutor and defense attorney may also bring pre-trial negotiations relating to a possible reduction of the charges, and the defense lawyer could also raise any evidentiary issues.


If the prosecution and the defense cannot reach a plea agreement, the case will be set for trial. At a criminal trial, the prosecutor and the defense lawyer 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.

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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.

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Refusing to Testify in Cincinnati Domestic Violence Cases

Testifying in any criminal case can be an extremely stressful experience. For certain individuals, 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.

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Types of Collateral Consequences to Convictions for Domestic Violence in Cincinnati, Ohio

When a person faces domestic violence charges, the primary concern is generally with the more immediate penalties such as incarceration and fines. However, a conviction for one of these crimes 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 an individual’s rights as a parent and a citizen.

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When Children are Alleged Victims in Cincinnati Domestic Violence Cases

Cases of child abuse in which the alleged offender is the child’s parent or legal guardian 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.

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Domestic Violence Units in Cincinnati

The Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has domestic violence victim advocates who serve as liaisons to domestic violence victims with cases the office is prosecuting. Surrounding counties in the Cincinnati, Ohio area also have special units that specifically focus on domestic violence offenses.

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Ohio News and Articles About Domestic Violence

Beechmont SWAT Standoff Ends in Cheers of Support

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Beechmont Avenue had to be shut down 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.

Safe at Home

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.

House Passes Bill Reforming Ohio’s Domestic Violence Laws After Teacher’s Murder

According to FOX19 Now, Ohio lawmakers passed House Bill 3, changing how law enforcement agencies handle domestic violence disputes. The bill is named after Aisha Fraser, a teacher whose boyfriend killed her after abusing her for years.

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Cincinnati Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will my domestic violence case proceed?

A: After police arrest you on domestic violence charges, you will likely have a bail hearing or arraignment. If they post bail, you can have someone pay the charge, and you can go home to await your pre-trial hearing. If not, you will likely have to stay in jail until the hearing.

At your pre-trial hearing, the prosecution will present your domestic violence lawyer the evidence against you, and you can enter into plea negotiations. If your lawyer thinks a plea deal is beneficial for you, and you agree, then your case will likely be decided then and there. However, if you cannot reach an agreement with the prosecutor, your case will go to trial.

At the trial, your case will be decided by a judge and jury whether you are innocent or guilty of the domestic violence charges against you.

Q: Can I lower my domestic violence charge?

A: With the help of a domestic violence attorney, you could possibly get your charges dropped or lowered if you have a good defense. Some defenses against domestic violence charges include:

  • Lack of evidence: If you and your defense attorney can prove that the prosecution’s evidence against you is too weak for a conviction, then you could get your case dismissed. Your attorney can work to invalidate the evidence and will most likely target the weakest aspects of their case against you first.
  • Self-defense: Proving that the “domestic violence” was instead self-defense can lead to the charges being dropped as well. This might be if another household member was attacking you, and you fought back to protect yourself or others.
  • False allegations: Sometimes, family members make false accusations against each other in the heat of an argument and in retaliation. If you can show that this was the case, and no domestic violence actually occurred, the judge could dismiss your case.

There are many other possible domestic violence defenses, and what you and your attorney choose will be based on your individual circumstances.

Q: How long is the prison sentence for a domestic violence charge?

A: The prison sentence for a domestic violence charge will vary based on what you are charged with. For a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge, you could face a month in jail. For a first-degree misdemeanor, you could face six months in jail. If you have a prior domestic violence conviction, you’re probably looking at 18 to 60 months in prison.

Sentences vary from case to case, and a lawyer can give you better insight into the penalties in your case.

Q: What are the fines for domestic violence charges?

A: Fines and jail terms are meant to penalize domestic violence, and the two can be used together or separately.  Just like prison terms, fines also vary case by case, but generally, you can expect the following:

  • Maximum $250 for a fourth-degree misdemeanor
  • Maximum $1,000 for a first-degree misdemeanor
  • Maximum $2,500 for a fifth-degree felony
  • Maximum $10,000 for a third-degree felony

Again, your lawyer can tell you what fines you most likely face for the charges against you, and they can work to get them reduced or dismissed.

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Finding a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Crimes in Cincinnati, OH

If you have been accused of domestic violence in Hamilton County or a surrounding area of southwestern Ohio, do not delay in seeking professional legal representation.

Joslyn Law Firm fights to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed for clients in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area, including Anderson, Colerain, Delhi, Green, Harrison, Miami, Springfield, Symmes, Sycamore, and several other locations.

Call (513) 399-6289 today for a free, confidential consultation. A member of our team can help you with legal advice when you call today. This advice could cover the criminal justice system, a defense strategy, or questions regarding a protection order or child custody agreement within your family.

A Cincinnati, OH domestic violence lawyer is standing by to take your case and handle it from start to finish.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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