Allegations of domestic violence can lead to a host of issues for the person accused. Not only do you get arrested or taken out of the home where you live, but you could find yourself facing criminal charges and numerous kinds of consequences.
While you may not relish the idea of going to criminal court, defending yourself against domestic violence allegations will be the only way to avoid the four serious consequences listed below.
Even if you enter a guilty plea, there is no guarantee that a judge will be lenient when sentencing you in a domestic violence case. You will also have a violent record that will affect you for life.
The degree of the offense will dictate the penalties you face. A misdemeanor domestic violence charge could mean up to a year in state custody and $5,000 in fines. A Level 3 felony charge, on the other hand, could mean as long as 16 years in prison. The age of the other person and the extent of the alleged harm done will determine the charges. If someone dies, the accused could face a Level 2 felony that carries up to 30 years in prison.
Career and educational consequences
Many employers have zero-tolerance policies for criminal convictions, felony offenses or violent criminal charges. Depending on the charges in your case, a company might terminate your employment if you plead guilty or get convicted.
Even if you keep your job, you may find that your upward mobility within the company comes to a halt. Your criminal record could also affect you when you go to apply for another job or seek enrollment at a college.
Second Amendment rights and profession
There are federal rules about domestic violence convictions that will affect firearm owners in particular. Any domestic violence conviction, even a misdemeanor offense, will make it illegal for you to possess firearms in the future.
The restrictions on your firearm ownership will potentially affect your career. Those who work in law enforcement, in the military or in private security may not be able to continue their careers after a domestic violence conviction affects their firearm ownership rights.
Child custody rights
Whether the accusations against you involve a child or a romantic partner, a conviction could affect your rights as a parent. In any future custody matter, a prior domestic violence conviction could give the other party ammunition against you. A judge might agree with them that you should have less time with the children or no unsupervised access whatsoever.
Pleading guilty does not eliminate any of these consequences and may put you at higher risk of certain penalties. Only defending yourself against the domestic violence allegations will eliminate the possible consequences you face.