It is an unfortunate truth, but something as commonplace and simple as an argument between two spouses can change a person’s life forever. It happens every day of the year: a man and his wife become embroiled in a shouting match. Tensions begin to rise, and as things escalate the male bumps into his wife. The female spouse calls the police, and a few minutes later there is a knock on the door that brings with it jail time and a hefty fine.
After things cool down, the female in this case admits to authorities that the police were not needed and no abuse took place, but the government continues to charge the male. What started as a shouting match between two adults turned into a domestic violence conviction that sticks on an individual’s record for the rest of their life.
What is included in the term domestic violence?
Under the law in Georgia, the following are examples of what domestic violence can include:
• Simple Assault
• Simple Battery
• Unlawful Restraint
• Criminal Damage to Property
• Any Felony
These crimes must take place between two spouses past or present, parents who have the same child, children and parents, stepchildren and stepparents, or foster children and foster parents.
The bottom line is this – If you push, slap or punch your spouse, your girlfriend or your boyfriend who lives with you, it is considered domestic violence. You will be charged even if there are no signs of physical harm such as a cut or a bruise. In addition, you will be charged if you act in a way that scares the individual living with you in your home, such as threatening that person with bodily injury.
Consequences of Being Charged with Domestic Violence
Initial incarceration – Those who are charged with domestic violence can expect to stay in jail for at least a full 24 hour period. No bail is allowed in these types of cases until you sit before the judge presiding over your case.
1st conviction – In most circumstances this charge will be a misdemeanor, but one that is aggravated in nature. As such, you could face 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
2nd and other subsequent convictions – Each time that you accrue a new charge for domestic violence it will be treated as a felony. The maximum jail sentence for this kind of felony is up to 5 years in jail.
Other Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge
Gun Ownership – According to federal law, if you are convicted of a domestic violence charge you are not allowed to own or possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm. The punishment for being caught with this kind of weapon will result in a long jail sentence, possibly up to 10 years.
Employment – Sometimes employers will not hire a prospective employee if they have any sort of charges on their permanent record. This is especially true in cases involving domestic violence or felonies. Your future job prospects may be much less lucrative as they once were.
The author of this article is a professional writer with work on several criminal defense blogs and is a frequent contributor to O’Brien Law Firm PC and other law firms in Savannah, Georgia.