We have already discussed how a domestic violence conviction can prevent you from being able to possess a firearm and how felonies can prohibit you from entering the military without a wavier, but what about a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence? Military career outlook isn’t good for those convicted for domestic abuse.
No Firearm Prohibition Exceptions for Soldiers
As it turns out, those firearms prohibition laws that affect people convicted of even misdemeanor domestic violence do not have exceptions for soldiers serving in the military, which means those convicted of the crime cannot ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunition even while in the service. Most soldiers convicted of domestic violence will be discharged or separated because there are very few military jobs not requiring access to firearms or ammunition or training and those convicted of felony domestic violence will often be dishonorably discharged.
A Conviction for Domestic Violence and Your Military Career
In fact, any soldier with a misdemeanor domestic violence charge on their record will become non-deployable, denied leadership positions for roles requiring access to weapons or ammunition, not permitted to attend service schools that require weapons training and ineligible for re-enlistment. In essence, while your military career will not always end immediately, it will still be over in effect.
Victims Do Not Need to Consent to Prosecution
It is important to remember that even if your partner understands these consequences and refuses to press charges against you, the DA will almost always press charges in domestic violence cases regardless of how the victim wishes to proceed. That is why it is so important to contact a domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible if you have been accused of abuse against your spouse or partner.
Your Pension and Other Benefits
On the upside, because a misdemeanor conviction will not result in a dishonorable discharge, you will still be eligible for your pension and other VA benefits you earned by having served in the military. As a result, it is still always better to face misdemeanor charges rather than felony domestic violence charges aside from the obvious benefit of a shorter sentence. In many cases, you may not be able to avoid charges altogether, but your lawyer may be able to have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor so you can retain your VA benefits and serve out the rest of your enlistment period.
Convicted for Domestic Violence and Want to be in the Military?
While the military is issuing more waivers to allow those with felonies into the service, they generally will not issue these waivers to those with domestic violence convictions on their records because these soldiers would be subject to all of the above restrictions. Even a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence will end your military career before it starts in most cases.
If you are in the military or have any interest in serving in the military and are accused of domestic violence, it is critical you contact Peter M. Liss as soon as possible. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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