A conviction for a charge related to domestic violence can carry with a jail sentence as well as significant fines, strict probation and other potential criminal penalties.
However, those who are not familiar with the criminal justice system may be surprised by how far-reaching and serious other consequences of domestic violence convictions can be.
In particular, those who have never been in legal trouble before should be careful before taking a plea bargain, even if the deal takes jail and other serious penalties off the table.
A domestic violence conviction can affect child custody
For example, family law judges in New Jersey are allowed to consider domestic violence convictions when deciding questions about custody and parenting time.
The fact a parent pled guilty to a crime against the other parent can be used as a reason for a judge to deny the parent important custodial rights, including the right to unsupervised visits.
The parent will probably not be able to explain away the conviction by saying he had a good deal or was just pleading guilty to put the matter behind him.
Other important rights and privileges are also affected
Aside from custody rights, a person who gets convicted of a crime related to domestic violence may face other penalties.
For example, under federal law, a person convicted of a crime of domestic violence, even if it is a first-time misdemeanor, may forfeit her right to carry a firearm.
Likewise, if a person is not an American citizen, a conviction can be grounds for her deportation. Citizens and non-citizens alike may also face consequences when it comes to finding a job or practicing their professions.