Consequences of a Conviction on Domestic Violence
Radical changes in the way our legal system deals with domestic violence charges have been implemented in the past few years. As society’s attitude toward domestic violence has shifted, more and more laws have been enacted specifically addressing domestic violence within our states. These changes have resulted in much more severe penalties and consequences for those convicted of domestic violence. The person convicted of domestic violence may face enhanced jail or prison sentences, extremely high fines and fees and a sentence of completion of a fifty-two week batterer’s treatment class. Aside from the criminal penalties the offender will face there will also be long-term consequences including the loss of employment opportunities, the inability to obtain a student loan or bank loan and even the inability to rent a house or apartment.
The convicted person could find it impossible to get a professional license, even one they have worked for years to obtain. He could be unable to get a governmental job and may have a state license which allows them to engage in a particular type of business revoked entirely. A domestic violence conviction could mean the offender has lost the right to possess firearms, could lose immigration status and may even lose child custody or visitation rights. Additionally, victims of domestic violence are allowed to file civil suit against their abuser resulting in large compensatory and punitive damages.
Some states will also authorize family courts to give one partner the other’s interests in all shared community property as payment for damages following such a civil suit. Even if the convicted person avoids jail time they could be sentenced to probation for two years or even longer during which they will have to report regularly to a probation officer, proving they are meeting the required conditions. In the end, domestic violence is considered a crime of moral turpitude meaning the convicted person could experience widespread issues regarding their credibility, regardless of the situation.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
Common defenses to domestic violence charges include self-defense, accident and false accusations. Many times during a heated domestic dispute both individuals are physically participating. Should one of the parties throw up an arm to stop a blow from their spouse, inadvertently striking the spouse in the process, then it can be argued that the blow was accidental. In other cases one spouse might strike the other as a means of protecting themselves from attack and self-defense can be argued. False accusations are also quite common in cases where there are other issues at hand. Perhaps a divorce is in the works or child custody is contested. One spouse may instigate a full-blown argument simply to be able to make false accusations of domestic abuse against the other as a form of revenge. A girlfriend who suspects a boyfriend of cheating could create a loud argument, report him to the police all in order to teach him a lesson.
If you have been charged with domestic violence it is extremely important that you get a highly experienced personal injury attorney on board at the earliest opportunity possible. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with a broad background in domestic violence defense can minimize the damage to your future if they have the opportunity to defend your charges early on.