Getting arrested for domestic violence is a potentially frightening and humiliating experience. All of your neighbors and family members might witness the police taking you away in handcuffs. After you spend the night in jail and get arraigned, you then face domestic violence charges.
Depending on the circumstances, including the specifics of the incident and your prior criminal record, the charges could range from misdemeanor offenses to more serious felony allegations. While pleading guilty to avoid court often appeals to those embarrassed by the charges against them, you have a lot to lose if you plead guilty to domestic violence allegations.
You will have a permanent criminal record
While it is true that some people can adjust to life with a single offense on their records and live relatively normal lives afterward, violent offenses tend to have a major chilling effect on your career opportunities and your social life.
When you plead guilty, even to a lesser charge, anyone who pulls a background check may assume that you were guilty of the more serious initial charge against you. More importantly, they will likely assume that you are someone who becomes violent and therefore isn’t safe to sign a lease with or to hire.
You will face criminal consequences
Jail time and fines are common consequences for those accused of domestic violence. The exact penalties depend both on the charge levied against someone and the discretion of the judge hearing the case. However, one penalty is not up for negotiation.
Even misdemeanor domestic violence charges trigger a federal rule about firearm rights. Convicted domestic abusers cannot legally own firearms. A conviction or guilty plea could put you at risk of future criminal charges if you get caught with a firearm in your possession. It could also affect your ability to support yourself, as the firearm rule could force you out of your military career or your current job in law enforcement.
Domestic violence charges can be difficult for people to handle. Unlike many other criminal charges, the accuser or victim may not play any role in the prosecution, which means that their support of your position may not help much with your defense. Reviewing the evidence against you carefully and getting the right help can make all the difference if you find yourself facing domestic violence charges.