Domestic Violence : Evidence or Proof of Domestic Violence

What are some examples of “threats of force” that constitute domestic violence under Ohio’s domestic violence laws?

Some examples of “threats of force” that constitute domestic violence are:

  1. pointing a gun or waving a knife at the victim;

  2. driving or moving car toward the standing victim;

  3. telling the victim, “I’m going to shoot you,” “I’m going to beat you to a pulp,” “You’re going to be a dead person,” “You’re going to be sorry when I get my hands on you,” or making similar verbal threats; or

  4. picking up a bullet and saying, “This is meant for you."

It is impossible to catalog all of the types of physical and verbal threats that might constitute “domestic violence.” However, two points should be kept in mind:

  1. the abuser’s past history of acts or threats of violence toward the victim are relevant to determining whether his more recent threats constitute unlawful “domestic violence”; and

  2. the courts look at each case on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the alleged threats placed the victim in danger or caused her to have a reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm.

What kinds of threats do not constitute “threats of force” under Ohio’s domestic violence laws?

Vague or ill-defined threats such as “you will be sorry” or “I’ll get back at you for this” generally do not rise to the level of “domestic violence” threats under Ohio law. In addition, so-called “conditional threats” do not by themselves constitute unlawful threats of force under Ohio law. A “conditional threat” means the type of threat where the abuser tells his victim that he will physically harm her IF she does or doesn’t do something that he is demanding of her.

For example, the threat “I will beat you up if you don’t get back home by 6 p.m.” is a conditional threat because the threatened use of force is conditioned on certain action by the victim. However, evidence of conditional threats may be admitted in court to help prove the victim’s reasonable fear of physical harm arising from the abuser’s unconditional threats or acts of physical violence.

For more information on domestic violence visit the Ohio Domestic Violence Resource Center.

See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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