Domestic violence allegations usually stem from altercations or arguments between romantic partners or spouses. However, the law applies to those who cohabitate, not just those who are physically intimate. Such charges are often the result of he-said, she-said scenarios or a neighbor getting involved in an argument by calling the police.

Domestic violence allegations are serious offenses that people often think they don’t need to defend against in court because they don’t carry major penalties. However, even first-time, misdemeanor domestic violence charges can have significant consequences beyond just the penalties assigned by the judge.

Police officers and others who work in law enforcement, in particular, could find that even a first offense could lead to the end of their careers. Why are domestic violence charges so serious for those in law enforcement?

There are federal consequences for domestic violence convictions

Typically, there are two kinds of consequences people suffer after a criminal conviction or guilty plea. There are the criminal consequences, which include fines, jail time and probation. Then, there are social consequences. These include restrictions on where someone lives, loss of employment opportunities and educational limitations because of a criminal record.

For those accused of domestic violence charges or any offense involving domestic abuse, there will be federal consequences as well. Federal law makes it illegal for anyone convicted of a crime related to domestic violence to possess a firearm.

State or federal charges, including those that don’t use the word “domestic” in the title could permanently impact someone’s right to own a gun. If an individual can’t own a firearm, they likely also can’t work as a police officer. Even a first-time misdemeanor offense could effectively end someone’s career in law enforcement unless they aggressively defended themselves.

There are many defenses available in domestic violence situations

Those accused of domestic violence may need to look closely at the evidence against them to decide how to defend themselves. Some people could challenge an arrest or the accuracy of evidence. Others might allege that they were defending themselves and were actually the victim of domestic violence.

There are many strategies that could help defuse domestic violence charges, and only a review of the circumstances leading to your arrest will let you know which strategy would apply best in your case.