Facing Domestic Violence charges during quarantine.

Facing Domestic Violence charges during quarantine.

There is one thing for sure during a quarantine, domestic violence cases are on the rise. We’ve seen this happen already in countless towns and cities across the country. Columbus is no exception. Advice from healthcare professionals is unanimous; if there are domestic violence concerns in a house, get out! But what if you’re the one accused of domestic violence?

Depending on the seriousness of the occurrence, Domestic Violence can be charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony. Both are separated into degrees, with First Degree being the most serious. For an offense that has allegedly caused actual physical harm to the victim, a defendant could be charged with anything from a 1st degree misdemeanor to a 3rd degree felony. For threats of physical harm against another person, an offender can be charged with anything from a fourth degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor.

What if the alleged victim wants to withdraw domestic violence charges?

In domestic violence cases, once the case enters the Court system, the State is reluctant to withdraw charges even if the victim recants or decides they no longer wish to see charges pursued. However, a prosecutor will give a great deal of weight to a victim’s request that the State withdraw criminal charges. But what if the State doesn’t withdraw the charges.

Here at Terry Sherman Law, we have a strong history of success in negotiating reduced charges and even dismissals for clients when the victim recants.

What if this is my first domestic violence charge?

Defendants who have never been in trouble with Domestic Violence charges before will often be charged with a Misdemeanor, usually of the first degree. However, depending on the circumstances, sometimes a defendant is charged with a lesser offense, even a fourth degree misdemeanor. If the harm to the alleged victim is very serious, a defendant could be charged with a felony even on the first offense. Certainly, during the course of the criminal proceedings, we will attempt to convince the Court to reduce the charges to a less serious offense to even to dismiss the charges altogether.

What if I have been convicted of domestic violence before?

Defendants with a prior conviction(s) face a very serious charge. After a first domestic violence conviction, defendants will be charged with a mandatory felony for any subsequent violations.

How can I fight domestic violence charges?

Due to the seriousness of the charges and the possibility of a conviction, it’s highly recommended that you hire an attorney immediately and to do so prior to the first hearing if possible. It is also advisable, with a Domestic Violence charge or any other criminal charge that you not talk to any police or detectives before hiring an attorney.

Attorney Terry Sherman will help protect your rights and develop defense strategies to increase your chances of having your charges dismissed or significantly reduced. Ohio domestic violence law is complex. We can help you understand the strength of your case, and the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

During your first visit or phone call, we can do an initial assessment of your case, and give you a good idea of your personalized defense strategy including how much our services will cost.

Don’t wait. Contact us today.

I am the victim of domestic abuse. What can I do?

If you are the victim of domestic violence, stay with friends or family during this uncertain time. If you are in need of assistance with filing an injunction from your abuser, contact our office, and we will help.

If you have been charged with domestic violence yourself, call our office and we will get started building your defense. Stay safe, and hopefully, we can all make it through this pandemic.

Ohio Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-934-9840

Even online, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Even online, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on social media, you likely read abusive and offensive statements posted or left as comments to a post.

Justin Olsen, an 18-year-old Ohio man has been arrested and is facing state and federal charges after investigators claimed he made threats against federal law enforcement and Planned Parenthood. The FBI investigation found multiple entries in which Olsen posted his support of mass shootings, and cited a target of Planned Parenthood.

Olsen was arrested on Aug. 7 and told the FBI that his posts were “only a joke”. He was booked into the Mahoning County Jail on state charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, and the federal charge of threatening a federal law enforcement officer.

Is abusive language unlawful?

Although the Justin Olsen’s charges are severe for online behavior, a malicious or threatening post may qualify as defamation. Defamation is the publication of a statement about someone which hurts their reputation in the eyes of members of society.

Abusive language is always in bad taste but it is unlikely to break the law unless threatening or contains criminal intent.

Can I be arrested for releasing a video?

Richard Godbehere, a Hawaii native, knows all too well about the repercussions that come with “over-sharing”. In February, he uploaded a 5 minute video of himself driving, then cracking open a beer and taking a drink. He made a joke stating “We all know drinking and driving is against the law. You’re not supposed to do that. But they didn’t say anything about driving and then drinking.”

Even though he knew he was posting a video of himself doing something illegal, he was still surprised when the police showed up at his house prepared to arrest him on charges of consuming alcohol while operating a vehicle.

Although Godbehere stated the video was meant as a parody and claimed there was no beer in the bottle, the Police Chief Darryl Perry stated “Our traffic laws are in place for a reason, and Mr. Godbehere’s blatant disregard for those laws is the type of behavior that won’t be tolerated.”

Severe consequences.

In Steubenville Ohio, social media played a part in the case against two football players who were found guilty of raping a drunk 16 year old girl.

The victim says she doesn’t remember much of what happened that night when Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, assaulted her at a friends party in 2012, and was only made aware of it after a video popped up on social media. A key piece of evidence was an instagram photo of the boys carrying the girl out of the house by her arms and legs.

Legal experts say photos and videos, whether posted publicly or obtained by police, have to meet certain criteria:

  • They must be authenticated, meaning the prosecutors have to prove the images are what they seem and have not been altered or staged;
  • And they can’t be shown out of context

Additional charges were later brought against two teenage girls after police were shown twitter posts threatening the victim physical harm if she didn’t drop the charges.

When the accused admits to posting the materials themselves, the incriminating posts put them in the awkward position of having to disavow their own words. The boys each served 2 years in prison.

If you or someone you love is in need of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer, call Terry Sherman. 

What to Do When You’ve Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

What to Do When You’ve Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is viewed by society and the courts as a serious charge against a criminal defendant. Regardless of whether you’re guilty or innocent, mere allegations of domestic violence against you can adversely affect your life and your future.

While millions of people are abused by their spouse or partner every year, (approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men) unfortunately, some people are quick to fabricate stories in order to “get back at” the alleged offender. These allegations are not only hurtful but undermine those that are true victims of domestic violence. If you’ve been accused or charged with a domestic violence offense, it’s extremely important that you contact an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer right away to protect yourself. It is not an admission of guilt.

What is Domestic Violence?

Many people believe that domestic violence is limited to a physical action against a spouse, family member or significant other.

Under Ohio law, victims of domestic violence are protected by both civil and criminal laws. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. Domestic violence charges may also extend to:

  • Stalking
  • Mental/psychological abuse
  • Destruction of personal property
  • Cyberbullying
  • Throwing things toward the victim (even if they don’t actually hit the victim)
  • Sexual abuse

Whether domestic violence charges are charged as misdemeanors or felonies depends on the allegations, the age of the individuals, and whether there were weapons involved, and the associated punishments will range accordingly.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges

Though unfair, people may accuse individuals of domestic violence for a number of reasons. Disputes can arise during a divorce, custody hearings regarding children, or just due to day-to-day stress of living under the same roof. If the alleged victim is seeking marital assets in a divorce or seeking custody of children, they might believe that domestic violence allegations will help their cause.

Many domestic violence victims, unfortunately, later recant their testimony or state that they no longer want to press charges. However, by this time, it’s usually too late. The decision to go forward with domestic violence charges is completely up to the prosecutor on the case.

Experienced Domestic Violence Defense

Being wrongfully accused of something as serious as domestic violence can be scary and has the potential to dramatically impact your life.

Attorney Terry Sherman is an experienced criminal defense attorney that has helped many clients dismiss or lessen domestic violence charges against them. He knows how to navigate your criminal allegations from start to finish and will help you arrive at the best possible result.

5 Things not to do when facing assault charges

5 Things not to do when facing assault charges

You didn’t intend to get involved in a fight when you went out for a night with your friends, but one thing led to another and you ended up getting pulled into a violent altercation and the police got involved. Now, you’re facing assault charges and you’re not sure what to do. Making the wrong choices could be detrimental to your case.

Here’s a list of common mistakes made when facing assault charges.

Talking to Police. Police are trained to manipulate you to get what they want, this includes evidence against you. For example, let’s say that you’ve been involved in a violent bar fight and the police are called. They might take you aside, hand you an ice pack for your swollen knuckles, tell you the other guy is clearly at fault and ask you for your side of the story. Naturally, you’ll want to explain yourself and tell your side, so you do. At that point, the police arrest you and charge you with assault. Unfair but legal, and also avoidable. The truth is, you don’t have to talk to the police. You’ve heard of your right to remain silent. That’s not just for after you’re arrested. You don’t have to speak to the police ever. Exercise your right to remain silent and stay silent until you talk with an attorney.

Talking with Others About the Assault. Being involved in an assault can be traumatic. It’s natural to want to talk about what happened with other people, to explain your side of the story or ask for advice. Just like talking to the police can hurt you, anything you say to other people can be used against you in court. This even includes those closest to you, like siblings and parents. It’s best to not discuss the incident with anyone except your lawyer.

Posting About the Incident on Social Media. Any time you’re involved in an incident that might result in you appearing in court, do not post about it on any social media forum, including Facebook, Twitter, or SnapChat. Prosecutors absolutely love to blow up huge images and Tweets for the benefit of the jury and use your words against you. So post anything, not even a fist emoji. It can be taken out of context and turned around to hurt you.

Contacting The Victim of the Assault. You may want to apologize, or clear the air, especially if the victim was a friend. Regardless of the reason, don’t do it. This is because anything you say to the victim may be used against you in court. Even if you had the best intentions.

Destroying Evidence. Maybe you’re reading this after you’ve already posted a video of the incident. Don’t delete the post and don’t delete the video from your electronic devices. This considered destroying evidence and can actually land you in more trouble.

Just like there are there are lots of things you can do that will hurt your case, there are also things you can do to improve your situation. With the help of an expert criminal defense attorney, you can give yourself the best chances of putting this behind you. Call Terry Sherman today to schedule a free legal consultation!

Can I plead self-defense to an assault charge?

Can I plead self-defense to an assault charge?

Self-defense is defined as the legal use of force when a person believes it is absolutely necessary to prevent injury or death to his person. Circumstances vary from case to case, but there are general guidelines to follow if you wish to plead self-defense to an assault charge.

Choose a criminal defense attorney who specializes in assault cases. Well-trained lawyers are your best friends when criminal charges are pressed. A good attorney will often know how best to build a case for self-defense and can advise you on what to do.

Explain why assault was the only option. A self-defense argument usually succeeds only if your actions came as a last resort. Be prepared to explain why other means of resolving the situation (such as retreating from the situation or calling the police) were not feasible in your case, and that you risked injury or death if you hadn’t acted immediately.

Point out that a felony was being committed, or that your assailant struck first. You are legally allowed to defend yourself if the other party is committing, or is about to commit, a crime. You may also legally defend yourself if you were attacked before attacking someone yourself. If you can demonstrate either of these two conditions, you may be able to plead self-defense successfully.

Show that the force you used was proportionate to the force with which you were threatened. The law weighs proportion very carefully in these cases. Be prepared to show that you did not escalate the situation and that you fought back using the same means and force with which you were attacked.

Demonstrate that you stopped when your assailant no longer posed a threat. Your ability to plead self-defense successfully may hinge on how much damage you inflicted after your assailant was clearly incapacitated. You should note when you stopped attacking, and be ready to explain why your assailant was still a danger up until that moment.