Police officers in California might arrest you for a domestic violence offense after someone calls to report overhearing the fight or your romantic partner goes to the police to file a complaint. Often, domestic violence charges amount to little more than “he-said/she-said” cases in the courtroom, which can make people think they don’t need to take the charges seriously.
However, if the other person convinces the courts that you were violent with them, you could face major penalties after a conviction. What consequences do you face when accused of an act of domestic violence?
Criminal consequences, including jail time and fines
Under California law, a judge can sentence someone convicted of domestic violence to incarceration and order them to pay fines. The severity of the incident and the previous record of the person accused will both influence how significant the penalties someone faces will be.
The loss of your firearm rights
A conviction with any domestic violence offense will trigger federal rules that limit your rights to firearm ownership. Not only does that limit your ability to hunt and protect yourself, but it can limit your job prospects, as well. If you are a military service member or work in law enforcement, losing your right to possess a firearm is a career-ending situation.
A threat to your custody rights
A conviction for domestic violence offense could impact your parenting rights in a custody matter with your ex. In fact, a conviction could affect your parental rights in a relationship unrelated to this specific incident, even years later. It can be brought up as evidence that you’re an unsuitable parent.
Avoiding a domestic violence conviction helps you preserve some of your most crucial rights as a resident of California. When you’re facing these kinds of accusations, it may be wise to exercise your right to remain silent until you can explore all your defense options with the assistance of a California criminal defense attorney.