Accusations of domestic violence can spring up for all kinds of situations. A neighbor might call the police when they hear you and your spouse having an argument. People unfamiliar with your family dynamics might make dramatic assumptions that don’t reflect your family’s daily experience.
It can be difficult to defend against domestic violence allegations, especially because they often put one person’s word against another’s. It is surprisingly common for those accused of some form of domestic violence to plead guilty so that they don’t have to deal with criminal court.
However, those individuals may put themselves at risk of three consequences beyond jail time or fines.
1) A conviction could affect your custody rights
Even if your spouse doesn’t testify against you and continues the relationship, a conviction could affect you if you get divorced in the future or if you break up with a partner who shares children with you.
They could leave and potentially ask the courts to grant them sole custody based on the reported history of domestic violence. Although the New Hampshire family courts usually try to keep both parents involved with their children, they do sometimes grant full custody in cases where there is abuse or other indications that shared custody won’t benefit the children.
2) A conviction could end your 2nd Amendment rights
One concern about domestic violence that too many people overlook is how it affects their right to own a firearm. Even if you already own a firearm at the time of your arrest, your conviction will impact the legality of the ongoing possession of that weapon.
Under federal rules, anyone convicted of an offense relating to domestic violence, even if the charge itself does not mention domestic violence, can no longer legally own a firearm. Although you may be able to purchase one or keep one you already own, you will always be at risk of weapons charges if you have a domestic violence offense in your past.
3) A criminal record could limit where you live and work
Compared with murder or other severe offenses, domestic violence may not seem like a major concern. However, many employers perform background checks and won’t hire anyone with a history that includes violent offenses.
The same is true for landlords and even educational institutions. You could face many limitations regarding your daily life all because of a single conviction.
Understanding the consequences outside of criminal court that come from pleading guilty to domestic violence allegations can help you make a more informed decision about how to respond to pending charges.