Whether your spouse reports you themselves or a neighbor calls the police, domestic violence accusations can lead to major disruptions in your life. You may have to go to court to defend yourself. Even if you decide to plead guilty to avoid court, you will still have to deal with the impact of a criminal record.
A domestic violence conviction or guilty plea is not a minor issue. It may lead to jail time, probation and major expenses like court costs and fines. Beyond the consequences that you will face in criminal court, there are numerous secondary consequences that could affect your life after domestic violence charges.
There could be restrictions on your living arrangements or socialization
Domestic violence convictions often come with court-ordered limitations on your behavior. You may not be able to contact the other party involved. Many times, domestic violence charges and the no-contact rule that accompany them will mean that you have to find someplace else to live. If the other person requests a protection order from the courts, you may not be able to go anywhere that they are present, which could affect your socialization or even your work.
Your Second Amendment rights will suffer
There are federal laws that place direct limitations on firearms ownership. One of the most sweeping restrictions on firearm ownership relates to a domestic violence conviction.
Even a misdemeanor offense could permanently end your right to legally own a gun. Pleading down to a less serious offense won’t necessarily help you either, as any charge related to domestic violence can end your legal gun ownership rights, even if the charge on your record is not a domestic violence crime.
Future employers may view you as a risk
A domestic violence charge on your criminal record will likely result in you failing every background check someone performs on you.
When you apply for a new job, they may screen you for criminal activity and deny you a position based on an old conviction. Even your current employer could take punitive action against you if they occasionally do background checks of existing staff members or run a background check because you are up for a promotion.
Recognizing the consequences of a domestic violence charge could incentivize you to fight back against it.