Domestic violence charges can have a substantial impact on all aspects of your life. From prison time to hefty fines, the punishments associated with domestic abuse are costly on both personal and financial levels.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence refers to behavior - whether verbal or physical - that either causes or threatens to cause harm to a family member, spouse or co-inhabitant in a shared household environment. These charges are leveled against individuals and families of all age groups, cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations.
Understanding the potential consequences
In California, domestic abuse charges can lead to:
- Fines and prison time: For most people, these are the biggest concerns. The sentence can range depending on the specific charges and circumstances of your case.
- Civil restraining order: After an arrest, you may become subject to a protective order (also known as a restraining order) that requires you to stay away from the alleged victim. The terms of the order could prevent you from returning home and cause other significant hardships. What's more, if you violate the order, you could face another arrest and additional charges.
- Prohibition against owning firearms: A conviction for domestic abuse can prevent you from owning or otherwise acquiring guns.
- Loss of custody rights: The alleged victim might seek a change in custody based on the allegations, which could deprive you of your ability to regularly see your kids.
- Immigration consequences: If you are here illegally, or have status but are not a U.S. citizen, conviction of these charges can lead to your deportation or exclusion from the U.S. - even if convicted of only a misdemeanor.
In addition to the legal and financial costs associated with domestic violence charges, allegations of abuse can cause serious damage to your reputation. You could end up losing your job - or face limited employment opportunities down the road. What's more, your friends and family members may side with the alleged victim rather than hearing you out. You may suddenly find yourself feeling very alone.
As you can see, accusations of domestic violence are serious. Fortunately, there is no need to struggle against these allegations on your own. An experienced defense attorney can advocate for you and provide support through each phase of this difficult period in your life.