Domestic Violence Attorney
In the State of Ohio acts of violence against a family or household member can be prosecuted as a crime as well as prosecuted in the Common Pleas Court as a civil matter. The two actions involve separate court proceedings and, although each may arise from the same event, each is litigated separately. If prosecuted as a crime, the charge is brought on behalf of the State of Ohio and is filed in the criminal division of the court. Whether or not a criminal charge is filed, the alleged victim may still choose to file a petition alleging domestic violence as a civil matter. A civil petition alleging domestic violence is filed by the alleged victim in the Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, if the court has a domestic relations division, or in the Court of Common Pleas generally. If the perpetrator of the alleged domestic violence is a minor child the alleged victim may file a civil action alleging domestic violence in the juvenile division of the Court of Common Pleas.
Criminal Domestic Violence
In the State of Ohio a criminal charge of domestic violence, depending on the circumstances, may be charged as a first degree misdemeanor, a fourth degree misdemeanor or a felony. The complaint or indictment, alleging domestic violence, proceeds in the criminal court, for the most part, like any criminal charge. If charged as a misdemeanor, a conviction may result in a sentence of up to 6 months in jail. If charged as a felony, a conviction may result in a prison sentence. In addition to the criminal penalties associated with a conviction, which can be severe enough, the consequential damages from a conviction can be life altering. A conviction may also result in the disqualification of the right to own or possess a weapon and may prohibit the right of the convicted to expunge or seal the record of the conviction.
Civil Domestic Violence
In the State of Ohio a person filing a civil petition alleging domestic violence may request a temporary order and, if requested, the court will hold a hearing on the same day that the petition is filed. After the hearing, if the court finds that there is immediate and present danger of domestic violence against a family or household member the court can issue a temporary order which it feels necessary to protect the family or household member from domestic violence. The temporary order, if issued, may order the following:
*Direct that the alleged perpetrator refrain from abusing or committing sexually oriented offenses against the family or household member;
*Grant exclusive possession of the residence or household to the alleged victim or other family or household member if the residence or household is owned or leased solely by the alleged victim or other family or household member or is owned or leased jointly by the alleged victim or other family or household member and the alleged perpetrator. If the alleged perpetrator has a duty to support the alleged victim, family or household member, and if the alleged perpetrator is the sole owner or lessee of the residence or household, the court may grant exclusive possession of the residence or household to the alleged victim, family or household member or, if agreed by consent, allow the alleged perpetrator to provide alternative suitable housing to the alleged victim, family and household member.
If the court grants exclusive possession of the residence or household to the alleged victim in a temporary order, the court will schedule a full hearing on the petition for domestic violence within 7 court days of the hearing on the temporary order. If the court issues any other type of protection order but does not grant possession of the residence or household to the alleged victim, the court will schedule a full hearing on the petition within 10 court days of the temporary order hearing. At any full hearing scheduled, the alleged perpetrator will be afforded an opportunity to be heard on the allegations alleged in the petition.
In addition to the above, after full hearing, and if the court finds for the alleged victim on the petition, the court may order additional protection orders, including, but not limited to the following:
*Temporarily determine the custody of the minor children and establish temporary visitation rights regarding the minor children, if no other court has determined or is determining custody or rights of visitation regarding the minor children;
*Require the perpetrator to maintain support to the victim, family or household member;
*Require that the perpetrator refrain from entering the residence, school, business, or place of employment of the victim, family or household member;
*Ordering the perpetrator to permit the victim, family or household member the use of a motor vehicle, apportion the household and family personal property, and any other relief the court considers fair and equitable; and
*Require that the perpetrator not remove, damage, hide, harm or dispose of any companion animal owned by or possessed by the victim and authorize the victim to remove a companion animal owned by the victim from the possession of the perpetrator.
Any civil protection order issued by the court after a full hearing can remain in effect up to 5 years from the date of the order or, if the perpetrator was 18 years of age, or less, can last as long as the perpetrator's 19th birthday. In addition, a domestic violence order can be renewed in the same manner as an original order or may be terminated or modified upon the filing of a motion by either party and after a hearing on the motion.
If you are accused of the crime of domestic violence, or if a civil petition is filed alleging acts of domestic violence against you, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an experienced domestic violence attorney to protect your rights and interests. Likewise, if you are a victim of domestic violence, are contemplating the filing of a civil domestic violence petition and, if time permits before filing, it is always advisable, for different reasons, to discuss your case with a seasoned domestic violence attorney, or shortly thereafter, to make sure that you receive all of the rights and remedies that are available to you.
At W. Randall Rock, Attorney at Law, we have the knowledge, training and experience needed to successfully represent you whether you are accused of domestic violence or a victim of domestic violence. If you have questions or concerns regarding your rights, CALL US NOW or CONTACT OUR OFFICE by completing the form below to receive a FREE INTITIAL and CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION. Our FEES ARE REASONABLE and AGREEABLE PAYMENT PLANS CAN BE ARRANGED.
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