Domestic violence is a serious problem in the U.S. Both men and women can both perpetuate and fall victim to such violent acts. A domestic violence charge can immediately impact your life in numerous ways and — if you’re in the military — a conviction can end your career.
If you’re in the military, it’s smart to know how a domestic violence charge will affect your life.
How a domestic violence arrest puts your residential situation in jeopardy
Virtually anyone you share a close relationship with can ask the police to charge you with domestic violence, whether you currently or previously dated, it’s your spouse, the parent of your child, your kids, or someone else who resides in your home.
In most situations, the court will issue an emergency protection order that requires you to stay a specific distance from your alleged victim until the case can be heard. In essence, this forces you out of the home you share with your alleged victim.
Military officials don’t have the authority to evict your dependents if they’re living in on-base or subsidized housing, so your commander could require you to move into the barracks or some other shared housing situation pending the adjudication of your case.
How a domestic violence conviction could end your military career
The 1968 Gun Control Act, or 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq, permanently bars convicted felons from possessing firearms. This federal law also applies to anyone currently subject to a domestic violence protective order or convicted of a related crime, even if it’s a misdemeanor offense.
Considering how virtually all service members must regularly engage in firearms training, any prohibition of your possession of guns might make it virtually impossible for you to remain in good standing in the military. This is especially the case if a judge makes a temporary protection order a permanent one or if a judge or jury convicts you of such an offense.
Have you been accused of domestic violence? You owe it to yourself and the career you’ve built to fight the charges you’re facing aggressively. It’s your only option for preserving your career.