Compared with other violent crimes, domestic violence isn’t particularly severe in the eyes of many people. Arrests and criminal charges can stem from a neighbor misunderstanding an argument or a relationship between two people with poor impulse control.
If the other party involved has already forgiven you, you might think that you could plead guilty and just move on with your life if the state prosecutes you. However, the problem with this approach is that domestic violence could affect many other areas of your life once you have a record.
You have to give up your firearms
The federal rules about firearm ownership prohibit someone convicted of domestic violence from legally owning a gun. Misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges can affect your gun ownership rights. In fact, the charge itself does not have to be a domestic violence offense but only needs to relate to an act of domestic violence for the charge to affect your firearm rights.
Your daily life could suffer
Domestic violence charges can sometimes come with restrictions on where you can go and who you can interact with after court. A judge may order you to move out of the home where you have lived for years or tell you to cease all communication with the other party. Those orders could affect everything from your living arrangements to your job.
Your custody rights could be at risk
Even if the allegations don’t involve your children, domestic violence convictions could impact your parental rights in the future. A conviction will make it easier for someone else to claim you are not someone who should have access to the children.
Recognizing that the penalties for domestic violence go beyond just probation can help you make better choices about your pending charges.