An allegation of domestic violence is extremely serious and should not be handled alone. It takes a skilled defense lawyer to fully challenge a domestic violence allegation to avoid ruined family relations, potential loss of career, and your reputation.
Attorney Tom Kopacz, of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, fully understands the long lasting collateral consequences of a domestic violence conviction and works meticulously to fully protect your rights in this often horrible time of your life.
In Ohio, domestic violence is defined as the following:
Family or household member includes a spouse, a person living as a spouse, a former spouse, a parent, a foster parent, or a child.
Due to the seriousness of a domestic violence allegation, both law enforcement and prosecutors aggressively seek convictions against the alleged aggressor. If convicted of a domestic violence charge, a person faces serious penalties and lifetime collateral consequences.
A first time conviction of domestic violence brings about potential jail, probation, hefty fine, and no contact orders with the victim.
The collateral consequences, often lifetime consequences, are just as serious. Some of these collateral consequences are listed below:
Firearms and Domestic Violence
A conviction of domestic violence will automatically bring about a lifetime ban of ever owning, possessing, carrying, or having access to any firearm. This lifetime ban comes from The Gun Control Act of 1968. Under this act, a person will receive a lifetime ban if their criminal charge or conviction is a misdemeanor crime of violence. Three United States Supreme Court Cases have interpreted what the definition of misdemeanor crime of violence entails. These cases are U.S. v. Hayes, U.S. v. Castleman, and Voisine v. U.S.
In U.S. v. Hayes, 555 U.S. 415, the Court found the definition of misdemeanor crime of violence to mean the following:
1) The misdemeanor offense has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly gun;
2) Is committed by a person who has a specified domestic relationship with the victim;
The misdemeanor offense has the element of domestic violence.
To sum it up, a misdemeanor offense that has the element of domestic violence will lead to a lifetime gun ban under the Federal Gun Control Act. So the offense itself does not even have to be labeled domestic violence, it just has to fit into the above test.
In U.S. v. Castleman, the Court looked at what physical force means for the purposes of the Gun Control Act. The Court held that the requirement of “physical force” is satisfied, for purposes of the Gun Control Act, by the degree of force that supports a common-law battery conviction. That means physical force can be hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, and hair pulling to just name some examples. Bottom line, if the physical force used in the allegation is just mere offensive touching, that counts as physical force!
In Voisine v. U.S., the Court looked at the definition of physical force once again, but this time to see if reckless would fit into the definition. The Court found that the language of the Gun Control Act encompasses acts of force undertaken recklessly, i.e., with conscious disregard of a substantial risk of harm. Based on this case, a person does not even have to act purposefully or knowingly when committing the physical act!
Listen, the feds are very serious about stripping gun rights away from people who are convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence. Due to this, a reduction from a domestic violence charge will not save you from a lifetime ban of firearms! This means if your domestic violence charge is reduced to a disorderly conduct, and you plead guilty to the reduced charge you are still under a lifetime firearm ban! Thus, you will either have to receive a not guilty verdict, have the domestic violence charge dismissed, or have the domestic violence charge dismissed and be re-charged for a new offense.
DO NOT LET A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION RUIN YOUR LIFE!
Do not take on these serious charges alone. Attorney Tom Kopacz, of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, will assess all the evidence that will be used against you, spot the weakness of the police officer’s and prosecutor’s case, formulate defenses in your favor, utilize the weakness in the prosecutor’s case and your defenses to negotiate a favorable outcome, and works to Minimize The Negative Consequences.