Military families experience significant stress, including worries about injury and the emotional strain of separation. In addition, the stress of combat leaves many veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health concerns. All this can put military families under strain, and this could lead to conflict in their households.
Unfortunately, if a fight leads to a domestic violence accusation, military servicemembers risk more than just their reputation. That charge could limit their career as well. What should military personnel know about domestic violence charges?
The loss of gun rights uniquely impacts servicemembers.
One of the many ways that a domestic violence conviction affects servicemembers and civilians alike is that The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 prevents them from owning firearms. While this limits the rights of any person, but the inability to possess a gun can endanger servicemembers’ careers because they use firearms in their work.
As the United States Army Combined Arms Center notes, this amendment does not have a provision protecting servicemembers’ ability to us a firearm while deployed. Having a conviction on their record would disqualify servicemembers from deployments and missions involving most firearms. Depending on their role in the military, this can put them at significant risk of discharge.
Can military personnel protect their career?
While a domestic violence conviction can limit servicemembers’ opportunities, there are ways for military personnel to protect their career and their future. This starts with speaking to an experienced attorney to build a strong defense. Your attorney can fight to protect you from conviction and help you explore options like pretrial military diversion that could protect them from the impact of these charges.