The Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
If you are arrested for domestic violence in Florida, you must take the charges seriously. A domestic violence conviction isn’t merely a slap on the wrist — it can profoundly affect your life. Whether your arrest is the result of a heated argument with a family member or a false allegation by a soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is imperative that you retain immediate legal support as you deal with the charges.
Some of the consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Florida include the following:
- Batterers’ Intervention Program — As a condition of your probation following a domestic violence conviction, state law requires you to enroll in a Batterers’ Intervention Program for a minimum of one year.
- Mandatory jail time — If you are convicted of domestic violence, and the victim suffered injury, you’ll face a minimum sentence of five days in a county jail.
- Criminal record — Perhaps worse than the potential jail time is the fact that you will have a violent offense on your criminal record. This may prevent you from pursuing a career in teaching, law enforcement or other government positions.
- Right to own firearms — In 1996, the U.S. Congress enacted the Lautenberg Amendment. Under this law, persons convicted of domestic violence are banned from owning, using or possessing firearms.
- Divorce or custody case — Many domestic violence allegations occur during divorce proceedings. A conviction for domestic violence can severely affect your ability to obtain child custody.
Fighting a domestic violence charge can be daunting, but it is important to understand that an arrest is not an automatic guilty verdict. You have the right to attorney representation and the right to defend yourself. With professional legal help, you may be able to avoid the penalties and other serious consequences of a conviction.