Domestic violence charges impact the entire family and are taken very seriously by the court. Therefore, if you are being accused of family violence, speak with a McDonough domestic violence lawyer about your charges. A criminal defense attorney could help you navigate the legal process and increase your chance of success in obtaining a favorable outcome.

Domestic abuse has several consequences that result from being found guilty. First and foremost, you could face jail time and significant fines. Additionally, you may lose your parental rights or have a restraining order filed against you.

Domestic violence charges are also the only misdemeanor that will forfeit your right to possess a gun under federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). Even pleading to reduced charges can sometimes still result in a loss of your gun privileges since the feds can look past the label of the crime and look to the underlying facts of the case. If the facts fit the federal definition of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence”, then you may lose your gun rights. There are still ways to avoid this penalty without going to trial and obtaining a complete exoneration. Speaking with a McDonough family violence attorney is the first step.

What is the Legal Definition of Domestic Violence?

Under the Official Code of Georgia §19-13-1, domestic violence is abuse that occurs when the defendant commits any felony or batters, assaults, stalks, criminally damages property, unlawfully restrains, or criminally trespasses against any person living or formerly living in the same household. Acts of domestic violence may only occur against:

  • Past or present spouses or parents of the same child
  • Parents and children or stepparents and stepchildren
  • Foster parents and foster children
  • Any persons living or formerly living in the same household

A McDonough lawyer could review a particular domestic violence case and determine the best steps to take based on the specifics of your case.

Consequences of Domestic Abuse

One of the most important aspects of domestic abuse charges is that they could result in more than just a prison sentence. Other potential consequences include a protective order or loss of parental rights.

Protective Order

A victim of violence in Georgia may petition for a protective order to protect against family violence. The person seeking a protective order must be a family member, past or present spouse, or live in the household with the defendant. Protective orders can only be in effect for a temporary period of time or last for up to a lifetime.

Protective order violations could result in a fine and/or 12 months in jail. Protective orders granted to a person may include protection for minor children, and prevent the defendant from visiting or seeing their children. Once a protective order is issued, it is difficult to have it removed.

Parental Rights

In serious cases involving violence against a child, a domestic abuse offense may result in the defendant losing their parental rights. While violence against children almost certainly results in losing parental rights, so does violence against another person in the same home. The court likely views defendants with violent tendencies to not be in the best interest of the child.

A defendant convicted of family violence is subject to lose both physical and legal custody of minor children. However, despite losing most parental rights, the defendant could continue to be responsible for paying child support.

When the police respond to a family violence situation, their report includes whether a child witnessed the incident. Subjecting a child to an environment of violence may result in loss of parental rights, even if the child was not the subject of the violence. Individuals who have children and are accused of domestic violence, should speak with a McDonough attorney who could help them protect their parental rights.

Call a McDonough Domestic Violence Attorney for Help

Domestic abuse charges put you at risk of losing more than just your freedom. If convicted, you may lose the right to possess a gun and likely have your family torn apart. Fortunately, an experienced McDonough domestic violence lawyer could help you through this legal process. For more information about how our team could help you, call and schedule a free initial consultation today.

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Carl Chapman