If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Pennsylvania, you could be facing the risk of jail time and steep fines. While these consequences are serious, they are not the only way a domestic violence conviction could impact your life.
In addition to the penalties written into domestic violence statutes, there are additional consequences that can come with a conviction. These are known as collateral consequences. An attorney experienced with defending domestic violence charges in Pennsylvania could help mitigate these collateral consequences in your case.
If you are convicted of a domestic violence charge – particularly a felony – you could find many of your civil rights curtailed. For example, federal law will prevent you from owning a firearm following a conviction for domestic violence. This applies to both misdemeanor and felony offenses, and the ban is permanent.
If you are convicted of a felony, you could also lose your right to vote. Regaining these rights once you lose them can be difficult, if not impossible.
Loss of Employment Opportunities
While a conviction may not directly result in challenges in your professional life, they can greatly hamper your ability to maintain employment indirectly. For many employers, a criminal background check is standard procedure. They are free to discriminate on the basis of your criminal record, which could make it difficult to obtain employment you are qualified for.
What's more, your conviction could also cost you any professional licenses you might rely on. Most entities that issue professional licenses have the right to revoke them based on certain bad acts. A conviction for domestic violence often qualifies.
Finally, if your line of work requires you to carry a firearm you could become virtually unemployable due to the loss of your gun rights.
Much like with finding a job, you could also face difficulty in arranging appropriate housing following a conviction for domestic violence. Like employers, prospective landlords also generally make use of criminal background checks. They also have the right to reject your rental application based on nothing more than your criminal conviction. This could dramatically restrict the housing options that are available to you.
Custody Rights and Divorce
A conviction for – or even allegations of – domestic violence could play an outsized role in both divorce and custody proceedings. These hearings are subjective in many ways, with the courts given broad discretion to determine what is in the best interest of the child. The same is true during the process of dividing property during a divorce hearing. A conviction for domestic violence could result in an unfavorable outcome in a divorce case or the placement of limitations on your parental rights.
Contact a Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges of domestic violence in Pennsylvania, your conviction is never guaranteed. However, working closely with strong legal counsel could greatly improve your chances of a favorable outcome at trial. To protect your rights following your arrest, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento as soon as possible at 888-535-3686.