For many people, the phrase “domestic violence” still conjures up images of a husband abusing his wife.
Some states’ domestic violence statutes stick strictly to such images in defining crimes of domestic violence.
Yet many modern day couples are not husbands and wives. And violence may still be very much a part of the relationship between the members of such a couple.
So where do abusers within the context of such relationships stand under domestic violence laws?
It depends upon the state and how broadly its domestic violence laws are written.
In Florida, domestic violence laws cover cohabitants.
In Ohio, however, a man was arrested for felony domestic violence – allegedly committed against his live-in girlfriend.
At trial, the court reduced the felony domestic violence charge to misdemeanor assault, holding that the state’s domestic violence statute was unconstitutional as it applied to unmarried couples.
The case is now on appeal for the Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether Ohio’s domestic violence laws apply to unmarried couples living together.