Besides direct consequences that can include jail time, fines, and treatment, a domestic violence conviction can trigger many consequences outside of the Washington State court system. These consequences can affect your current employment, future employment opportunities, housing, and ability to travel or relocate.
If you are convicted of certain domestic violence crimes, you will be subject to the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) rules. If you want to move out of state or return to your state of residence after being convicted in Washington State, you will have to meet the requirements of WA State AND the state that you are entering. You may also be prohibited from entering Canada.
Under the Lautenberg Amendment, Domestic Violence convictions that are considered violent in nature will result in a loss of gun rights. This mandatory forfeiture of your firearm rights can last indefinitely and is triggered without regard for your occupation. This means that those employed by the military or by a police department will likely lose their careers if convicted of a domestic violence offense.
Domestic violence convictions can affect a variety of occupations. For example, the Department of Health has a policy of denying credentials to people convicted of certain domestic assault or malicious mischief crimes. This means that a conviction could end the career of someone employed in the medical field.
The Department of Education, which regulates teachers, also has strict guidelines for applicants and current teaching certificate holders. A DV conviction could end the career of an educator.
Most housing applications ask applicants to disclose any convictions that would appear on their criminal record (in addition to doing a criminal background check). A conviction for domestic violence carries with it a stigma that prospective landlords may want to avoid, resulting in the denial of a rental application.
Protecting Yourself from a DV Conviction
The best way to avoid a conviction for domestic violence is to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Any contact with the accuser can result in a No Contact Order Violation. Additionally, statements made to law enforcement, investigators, potential witnesses, or the court can harm your chances of avoiding a conviction.
At Beckwith DV Law, we fight domestic violence charges in the Puget Sound. Call us today for a free consultation.