Domestic violence affects countless households in the United States. For every criminal charge brought related to domestic violence, there are probably dozens of other households where the violence goes unaddressed. Even when law enforcement officers get involved, that may not resolve the issue.
Sometimes, those accused of domestic violence weren’t really engaged in an act of violence but were instead defending themselves during an argument. Neighbors who called the police and the officers who responded to domestic scenario may misinterpret what they witnessed and accuse or charge the wrong person with criminal activity.
Someone who was only defending themselves could wind up charged with a serious crime. Many people facing domestic violence charges focus their concern on jail time risks. They fail to consider the other ways that a domestic violence conviction or guilty plea might affect their life.
Any domestic violence charge can end your legal gun ownership
Although the Second Amendment extends the right to bear arms to all Americans, federal lawmakers have enacted limitations on that right with the intention of protecting the public. You don’t even need to have a conviction with an offense that includes the term domestic violence in its title. Any violent offense like battery or assault that involves a spouse or other domestic partner could end your ability to legally own guns.
A domestic violence conviction could haunt you if you divorce later
While you and your spouse may work things out now, the potential is always there for your marriage to end in the future. After a divorce, your guilty plea to a domestic violence charge could help your spouse cut you out of your children’s lives.
Although the family courts typically favor shared custody scenarios, if your ex can reasonably convince the courts that you pose a threat to the children, they might give your ex full custody or even supervise your visitation with the children.
It can be hard to find a job with a violent criminal record
Many companies screen potential employees and even those they want to promote for criminal records. You can find yourself missing out on job opportunities or struggling to earn a living wage. Some companies will make exceptions about criminal convictions but only for nonviolent offenses.
Even if you try to hide your conviction, most employment contracts have clauses that allow your employer to summarily terminate you if they discover you did not disclose the criminal convictions.
Although you may worry about the stress and expense of defending yourself against charges, a rigorous defense will go a lot longer toward protecting your future than a guilty plea if you find yourself facing allegations of domestic violence.