Domestic violence is serious. Not only are the penalties tougher than other assault cases, you have collateral consequences to consider. These consequences can alter your life forever. It's worth keeping collateral consequences in mind when deciding what to do about domestic violence charges. Many people give up and plead guilty without fighting, but collateral consequences can be more problematic than the actual penalties imposed if convicted.
Here are some of the most serious consequences you can expect when charged and/or convicted of domestic violence in Dallas or Fort Worth, Texas.
When you are charged with domestic violence, by the time you've been booked and arraigned, a protective order may have already been issued. Along with this order are instructions to stay away from the alleged victims, possibly any children, and your home. That means you need to find a new place to live.
If you have to rent or lease a home, you may find it difficult if you've been convicted of domestic violence. It's considered a violent crime, and many places will not lease to persons convicted of violent crimes. That is even more true if the domestic violence was charged as a felony.
If you have children, domestic violence charges are harmful. First, with a protective order, you may only be allowed supervised visits. Second, if you have custody or are fighting for it, you could lose it. There is a rebuttable presumption that you are not fit to have custody or visitation with children, especially if the child was the victim of or witnessed the domestic violence
If you have children, child welfare may be called into action after a claim of domestic violence. You don't need to be convicted in order for the State to get involved. You could find that the children are taken away and placed in foster care.
A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction will not likely impact your ability to obtain federal financial aid, but a college or university could deny your application based on it. If domestic violence occurs while studying, then disciplinary action could be taken.
Whether you are a janitor or a CEO, domestic violence can impact your job prospects and future career. Criminal background checks are common. You can be offered a position on a conditional basis and then have it taken away once the company learns of the domestic violence charges. While many jobs will hire you, having a criminal record alone can hurt your chances. Jobs are competitive, and another person with the same qualifications may get hired simply because he or she doesn't have that criminal record. There are also jobs that cannot legally hire you, like daycare centers or nursing homes or any place where you would be in charge or near vulnerable persons.
Professional Licenses & Security Clearances
Many professional licenses and security clearance can be at risk if you are convicted of domestic violence. If you are a teacher, a doctor, a CPA, a real estate agent, or another person where you are required to either obtain a professional license or security clearance, domestic violence convictions can affect your ability to get it or to have the license or clearance renewed. You can also have your license suspended. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of your case and which professional license or level of security clearance.
Loss of Travel Rights
If you have a felony, you may be restricted from traveling to some countries. For example, Canada can refuse you entry, and it has done so on a regular basis.
Loss of Public Benefits
If the domestic violence is a misdemeanor, public benefits – if any – likely won't be affected unless you are incarcerated for more than 30 days. If you were convicted of a felony, you can lose those benefits.
Loss of Voting Rights
Convicted felons are not allowed to vote. There is a process, however, to get your voting rights reinstated.
Loss of the Right to Own & Use Firearms
In Texas, we love our Second Amendment rights, but this right is taken away from anyone – whether or not the domestic violence was a misdemeanor or felony – accused of domestic violence. The protective order may require you to give up any guns in your possession or that you own.
If you are convicted, under federal law, you may never have the right to own and use a firearm again. In Texas, however, if domestic violence is a misdemeanor, you may be able to own and use a firearm five years after release from confinement or community supervision. But you must remember that federal law prohibits misdemeanor domestic violence convicts from possessing or owning firearms, therefore, Texas law does not protect you if you are prosecuted under federal law.
Also, once convicted of domestic violence, you no longer qualify for a License to Carry in Texas. Even after a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction and the five years have expired, you will no qualify to ever again have a license to carry. This is true if you violated a protective order, too.
If you are not a citizen and are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or violated a protective order in Texas, you may be subject to removal from the United States. If you are in the process of petitioning to become a lawful permanent resident, a conviction will disqualify you for the reason of lacking good moral character.
Contact an Aggressive Domestic Violence Attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX Today
You don't have to be convicted of domestic violence in order to feel the repercussions on your life. The consequences begin almost immediately. As such, you need to take immediate action to mitigate the harm.
Carl Ceder, an aggressive domestic violence defense attorney in Plano, Texas, is committed to his clients. He understands what the stakes are. He knows you deserve a strong, viable defense – it's your Constitutional right, after all. He also knows that we all make mistakes and there are two sides to every story. He will be the voice that brings your story to life. Contact his office today to schedule a consultation and learn how he will be able to help you defend against the consequences of a domestic violence charge in Texas.