How Domestic Violence Convictions Affect People
Domestic violence convictions have the potential to dramatically complicate lives. Outside of jail time, supervised probation, and costly fines and fees, society’s perspective on domestic violence convictions will also have an affect on someone’s ability to live a full and productive life following a conviction. If you’re facing domestic violence charges in Tucson, you need to understand the full scope of what’s to come in the event that you’re convicted.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Many types of crimes fall under the rubric of “domestic violence” offenses. In fact, “Domestic Violence” is not an offense in and of itself. It simply means that there is at least one of certain types of listed relationships between the alleged victim and the defendant (accused). While certainly an offense like assault, such as causing physical harm to a member of one’s own household, is one possible “domestic violence” related offense, some seemingly less severe crimes are also considered domestic violence related offenses. Making threats, stalking someone, violating a restraining order, disorderly conduct, or criminally harassing behavior are all considered domestic violence offenses if you share or have shared a roof with someone.
Domestic violence charges can be pursued by an individual who lives with you – even roommates you barely interact with. Though it is common that these charges are pursued by current or former intimate or romantic partners, they’re often pursued by family members, platonic friends, or even children.
What Are The Penalties For Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor penalties are the lightest of the two, though they still must be taken very seriously. Even as a misdemeanor, people convicted of domestic violence can see up to six months behind bars. Most first-time offenders in minor domestic violence cases will receive probation instead of jail time. But the court is well within the law to hand out a jail sentence to anyone convicted of any type of domestic violence related offense.
Arizona law requires anyone convicted of any kind of domestic violence charge, including the most minor offenses, to attend lengthy domestic violence education classes. The program is comprised of a minimum of 26 DV sessions, and it needs to be completed as a part of the sentence. The court may recommend additional classes, such as anger management, as it sees fit. Community service can also be a part of the sentence.
In addition to all of these consequences, you’ll be responsible for court fines and fees. Your right to own a firearm can be temporarily rescinded, and you’ll have to work with the court to get it back. Domestic violence offenses become a part of your permanent criminal record for any conviction.
Domestic violence charges also have a significant impact on child custody situations. A domestic violence conviction demonstrates that you have the potential to be a dangerous individual. This can lead to loss of child custody or a limiting of your relationship with your children to scheduled and/or supervised visits. This is most common when domestic violence charges relate to a divorce.
Aggravated Domestic Violence And Additional Charges
Aggravated domestic violence is an elevated crime, and it comes with elevated penalties. Distinctions are made between simple misdemeanor domestic violence and aggravated domestic violence if the victim’s life was imperiled in some way. This usually comes in the form of excessive force, choking, or the use of a weapon, including but not limited to a firearm. It also covers domestic violence involving sexual assault.
Aggravated domestic violence is always a felony, and penalties can include from 4 months up to ten years in prison or more, depending on the charges and circumstances. Fines and restitution can be substantially higher as well.
Consequences Of Domestic Violence Convictions
Even after you’ve served jail time or successfully completed probation, you aren’t done dealing with the ramifications of a domestic violence charge. Domestic violence will always show up on a background report, and employers and other organizations aren’t likely to be open-minded when they see these charges on your record.
Jobs that involve work with the public or children, including nursing and childcare, are almost impossible to get when you have a domestic violence conviction on your record. Most people who work in retail or foodservice environments will also find it difficult to find work post-conviction. If you hold a professional license, it may be revoked in the wake of your charges.
Combine job loss or lack of employment opportunities with the fines and fees you’ll pay as a result of your conviction, and poverty will almost certainly come as a consequence of conviction. Unless you’re already independently wealthy, you’ll find it difficult to pay all associated costs with your conviction.
Defending Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges are among the most serious, longest lasting charges a person can face. If you’re facing these charges, you don’t have a moment to spare. Contact Doug Taylor for immediate help. He is a Tucson lawyer who will be able to arrange a free consultation with you, either at his office or in jail. The sooner we start helping you prepare a defense, the less likely you are to suffer the full extent of the law.