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Ohio Domestic Violence Laws

Note: If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.

Domestic Violence in Ohio

In Ohio, victims of domestic violence are protected by both civil and criminal laws. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. Certain types of harassment or emotional abuse can happen through different types of communication, including written, telephone, fax, e-mail, or voicemail.

Examples of Domestic Violence

What does domestic violence look like? It can be any act of physical violence or attempted physical violence against a family or household member, regardless of whether the victim suffers any visible injuries or requires any medical attention.

Examples include: kicking, choking, slapping, pushing, throwing physical objects at a person, pointing a weapon at a person, sexually assaulting a person, physically restraining a person, tearing a person’s clothing, or any other type of hitting or harmful touching.

Domestic Violence Penalties

A person convicted of domestic violence faces the following possible penalties. Additionally, if the offender knew the victim was pregnant, the court is required to impose a minimum sentence between six (6) months to a year in jail.


  • 1st degree misdemeanor: Maximum of six months in jail and/or a fine up to $1000
  • 2nd degree misdemeanor: Maximum of 90 days in jail and/or fine up to $750
  • 3rd degree misdemeanor: Maximum of 60 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500


  • 5th degree felony: Six to 12 months in prison and a fine up to $2500
  • 4th degree felony: Six to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5000
  • 3rd degree felony: Nine months to three years in prison and a fine up to $10,000

What Protections Are Available in Addition to Criminal Prosecution?

There are several remedies and legal protections available for victims of domestic violence in Ohio. These may include:

  • Protective Orders: Victims of domestic violence can apply for a temporary restraining order, a court order signed by a judge that offers protection to victims.
  • Civil lawsuit: The victim may file a civil lawsuit to recover losses and expenses such as medical bills or pain and suffering damages
  • Custody/child or spousal support orders: These may be modified to prevent any further incidence of violence between spouses, children, or other persons

The following table highlights the main provisions of Ohio's domestic violence laws. See Stalking and Filing a Domestic Violence Lawsuit for more information.

Code Sections Ohio Revised Code Section 2919.25
What Protections are Available?

Civil and criminal

What is Prohibited?
  • Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
  • Recklessly causing serious physical harm to a family or household member.
  • Using threat of force or force to knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that you will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member.
Family/Household Member Relationship Requirement

A person who is residing or has resided with the offender and any of the following:

  • A spouse, a person living as a spouse, or a former spouse;
  • A parent, foster parent, or a child of the offender, or another person related to the offender;
  • A parent or a child of a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender, or another person related to a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender.
  • The natural parent of any child of whom the offender is the other natural parent or is the putative other natural parent.
Definition of "Person Living as a Spouse"
  • A person who is living or has lived with the offender in a common law marital relationship, who otherwise is cohabiting with the offender, or who otherwise has cohabited with the offender within five years prior to the date of domestic violence incident.

*Factors such as prior offenses or history of domestic violence help determine the severity of the punishment. Sentence may also include a restraining or protective order.

Physical violence or attempted physical violence: first conviction is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Penalties go up from there include possible prison time for a felony conviction.

Threatening to use physical force: first conviction is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a $250 fine. Penalties go up from there include possible prison time for a felony conviction.

Types of Protective Orders Available

Criminal Protective Order: Temporary Protective Order (TPO)

Civil Protective Order: Civil Protective Order (CPO)


Facing Domestic Violence Charges? You'll Want Legal Representation

Because domestic laws can sometimes get complicated, it is a good idea to consult an experienced Ohio domestic violence lawyer if you have questions about your specific situation. If you're facing charges, a skilled lawyer can explain the law and how it may apply in your case. Start now by contacting an Ohio criminal defense lawyer near you.

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