The Ohio Senate today passed Senate Bill 261, sponsored by Senator Kevin Bacon (R–Minerva Park), which strengthens existing law so that offenders who avoid service of a protection order and knowingly violate the terms of the order can be prosecuted.
Senator Bacon jointly sponsored the measure with Senator Gayle Manning (R–North Ridgeville).
“Senate Bill 261 closes a loophole in Ohio Law so that offenders who violate a protection order cannot escape prosecution by avoiding service of the order,” said Senator Bacon, “Today we are cracking down on violent offenders who choose to ignore a court’s order, and preventing victims from enduring further torment.”
In many cases victims of domestic violence, stalking, and menacing seek legal security in the form of a protection order.  Under current law, it is easy for a perpetrator to simply avoid being served with the order, thus shielding them from prosecution if the order is violated. Senate Bill 261 establishes that a protection order is effective at the time the offender has actual notice of the order’s existence. The bill maintains, however, that the prosecution still has the burden of proving the order was recklessly violated.
“With passage of Senate Bill 261, we can arrest offenders who are flagrantly violating the law. This bill will prevent violent interactions before they occur,” said Senator Bacon. If signed into law, Senate Bill 261 would overturn a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court in State v. Smith where an offender’s conviction was reversed.   
The bill will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

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