Convictions for domestic violence often result in more than just jail time and a fine. Such a conviction can have permanent or long-lasting impacts on your life after you’ve served your sentence, as it may bar certain opportunities for employment or custody, for example. Read more to learn about what additional repercussions to expect following your conviction and how an experienced lawyer might help.
Additional Consequences for Domestic Assault Convictions
If you’ve been convicted of domestic violence in California, you may be ordered to pay victim restitution. This could include payment of the victim’s:
- medical bills,
- mental health counseling,
- lost wages, and/or
- property damage.
The defendant may also have to pay an additional fine of $500 to fund domestic violence programs in California.
Permanent Criminal Record
Perhaps one of the most detrimental and long-lasting consequences of a domestic assault conviction is its permanent mark on your criminal record. The conviction will appear anytime someone does a routine background check on you, which can make it difficult to gain:
- state licensing,
- other state benefits.
In California, domestic abusers are usually not eligible to receive custody of their minor children. However, they are often still able to obtain certain visitation rights. Note that in a custody situation, you do not necessarily need a criminal conviction for a family law judge to determine there was domestic violence.
Possession of Firearms
A California domestic assault conviction will almost always rescind your right to own or possess a firearm. Most misdemeanor convictions will result in a 10-year firearms ban, and a misdemeanor conviction involving corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant could carry a loss of gun rights for life. Further, if the offense qualifies as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence at the federal level, the conviction will certainly result in a firearm ban for life.
Felony convictions, on the other hand, will impose a firearm ban for life no matter the circumstances of the offense; both California and federal law will prohibit you from ever legally possessing a gun. The only way to remove the federal firearms ban is with a Presidential pardon, and not even an expungement can remove the ban.
California law also allows a victim of domestic violence to apply for an emergency restraining order (also known as a “protective order”). A restraining order can be obtained in either civil or criminal court.
Note that no physical harm is required for someone to apply for a protective order against you; the alleged victim does not need to have suffered physical harm in order to obtain a protective order in California. In filing the petition, they simply need to prove that:
- you have abused or threatened to abuse them or their minor child, and
- you are an intimate partner or a first- or second-degree relative.
A domestic assault conviction can have further severe consequences on you if your immigration status is at risk. Domestic violence charges can subject a non-U.S. citizen to:
- deportation from the United States, and/or
- inadmissibility to the United States (including ineligibility to apply for a green card or an adjustment of status).
If you have been convicted of domestic assault, you should seek legal counsel immediately. The immediate penalties of fines and jail time are only the tip of the iceberg, as a conviction could affect how you live the rest of your life. You may lose employment opportunities, be prohibited from seeing your children, and lose your rights to firearms possession, to name a few consequences. The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch can examine your case and try to help you avoid these additional repercussions.
Contact The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch by submitting a form online to schedule your initial consultation today.