We’ve previously discussed how a domestic violence charge will not only prevent you from joining the military, but even be likely to end a career in the military. When many people find this out, they assume the same would be true when it comes to police officers, but in practice, the effects of a domestic violence conviction are somewhat different when it comes to law enforcement. When it comes to whether someone convicted of domestic violence can become a cop or stay on the force, the answers are a bit more complex.
Someone Convicted of Domestic Violence Cannot Become a Cop
Those who have been previously convicted for any type of domestic violence cannot become a cop, plain and simple. That’s due to the federal laws prohibiting anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing, transporting or owning a firearm, which are obviously required duties of a police officer. This is why anyone who has been accused of hitting or otherwise attacking their spouse, partner, ex or anyone else they have been intimate with needs to contact a domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible, especially if he has aspirations of joining the military or police force.
But What About Abusers Who Are Already Police Officers?
Lines become a bit more blurred when the someone who has been accused of domestic violence already became a cop in the past. While anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence is supposed to be removed from the force (though in reality many end up keeping their jobs), what happens to those who have been accused of the crime is less clear cut.
When a restraining order is in place, the suspect will almost always be prohibited from possessing a gun and police officers subject to such restrictions will be required to be placed on administrative duty. As for abuse situations that do not involve restraining orders or where the judge allows the suspect to maintain his Second Amendment rights, the decision ultimately lies with the chief. While most departments error on the safe side and put those accused of domestic violence on desk duty, some departments still allow those facing charges for domestic violence on active duty.
Domestic Violence Among Police Officers
The issue of domestic violence and police becomes more even more complex when you consider some of the many studies on the frequency of such incidences in police officer relationships. In fact, two different studies have found that over 40% of police have abused their partners and that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common in families with a police officer than in the average American home.
These studies have found that victims are less likely to report the violence because they know their partner’s co-workers and friends will be the ones sent to respond to the incidents. When incidents are reported, arrests are rarely made immediately despite the fact that this is almost always the process when someone not on the police force has been accused of the same crime. In other words, few cops actually end up facing charges for domestic violence, so few will lose their badges as a result of a conviction.
Police Accused of Domestic Violence Need Defense Lawyers Too
That being said, if you’re a cop who has been accused of domestic violence, you absolutely need to work with a lawyer as soon as possible. That’s because when these cases are brought before the courts, the prosecutor may attempt to use these types of statistics to strengthen their case. Because being convicted of domestic violence will cause you to lose your place on the force, it’s important to do whatever you can to fight the charges, which may include pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
If you are facing charges of domestic violence and want to become a cop or already are on the police force, it is critical you call an attorney in Vista as soon as possible to help you fight the charges. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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