Getting into a physical fight with your romantic partner, your family members or your roommate might result in domestic violence allegations. Even if the other person involved does not contact law enforcement, neighbors or other individuals may call authorities, who could then proceed to charge you with a criminal offense.
Domestic offenses may on the surface seem like inconsequential matters, but they can have serious implications for the individual accused. In addition to the potential for fines and jail time, there are a number of secondary, non-criminal consequences that can go hand-in-hand with a domestic violence conviction.
You may no longer be able to legally own a firearm
In order to protect victims of domestic violence from escalating threats and retaliation, federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence offenses or criminal offenses directly related to domestic incidents from possessing firearms.
Once the conviction becomes part of your permanent record, you will no longer be able to pass the mandatory background check used by gun shops and even the vendors at shows. If you already own a firearm, having it in your possession could lead to criminal charges in the future if law enforcement officers find it.
The courts might limit some of your freedoms
Sometimes, domestic violence charges also result in an Order of Protection restricting your contact with the other party. If the courts do enter such an order, you will have limitations on where you can go and whom you can socialize with without there being consequences. Even social media activity could be enough to get you into trouble if it constitutes a violation of the order.
Domestic violence allegations can influence custody proceedings
During a divorce or a breakup of unmarried parents who share children, splitting custody can quickly become difficult. If the courts are the ones that make the decisions regarding custody, they will try to do what is best for the children involved. A history of domestic violence could be one of the situations in which the courts choose to give the other parent full custody or even limit your contact with the children to supervised visitation.
Fighting back against domestic violence charges can potentially reduce their impact on your life, but doing so will require planning and careful consideration of the circumstances.