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Orange County, CA Criminal Defense Law Blog

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Domestic Violence Conviction Could End a Military Career

Unless a conviction for a domestic violence charge involves enough time away from work to result in the defendant being fired, it normally wouldn’t impact one’s job status. For those serving in the military, a conviction of one of these charges could end one’s career.

Domestic violence claims among military families are not unusual. According to the Department of Defense, in fiscal 2011 military social workers worked with 14,237 people in response to domestic violence reports. If that alleged violence occurs off base and civilian law enforcement are involved, subsequent charges would be handled through the civilian criminal justice system. If you find yourself in this situation, we can help. We do not represent service members in court martial or military separation issues, but we can refer you to a qualified, experienced attorney who does.

The Lautenberg Amendment of 1996 amended the federal Gun Control Act, which was created to prevent domestic violence offenders from carrying firearms or ammunition. There is no exception for military members. If one is convicted of a domestic violence crime, that person will be restricted from carrying a weapon and ammunition. That often will prohibit a service member from fulfilling their duties for combat duty or training, making it likely that they will face discharge. That discharge could have a devastating effect on someone planning on making a career of military service or who has served nearly enough time to qualify for retirement benefits.

If a commanding officer suspects that you may have a qualifying conviction the officer must secure your access to any government issued firearms or ammunition (unless you’re deployed) and any privately owned firearms or ammunition stored on base. You would be referred to the command’s staff judge advocate to determine if you have a qualifying conviction.  If you do, you will be unable to complete annual training requirements that will require the use of firearms or ammunition (such as marksmanship training). 

While it’s never a good thing to be convicted of a domestic violence charge, service members need to be especially wary of domestic violence claims. With a career possibly at risk, service members need to have a criminal defense attorney represent them every step of the way in the civilian criminal justice system. If you’re a member of the military in Orange County, California, facing domestic violence charges contact The Law Offices of Mark Raymond McDonald at (949)460-6421 or (800)595-8159 today for a free consultation.

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