Domestic Violence – Career Terminator
A Domestic Violence Conviction Can End a Military Career
Domestic violence is such a common occurrence in the military that the Department of Defense (DOD) has made Domestic Violence an item of specific concern. First Sergeants and Military Police, like their civilian counterparts, despise calls to domestic violence scenes because the “victim” is often unclear, there are rarely any clear-cut solutions, and when there does appear to be a “victim,” more often than not, they will refuse to file a complaint, statement, or even cooperate for a variety of reasons including: “it was a simple argument,” or not wanting to harm their or their spouse’s military career.
Charged with a Domestic Violence?
Don’t let it end your Military Career.
Make sure that you get the right help from a Civilian Military Attorney, in San Diego or Worldwide, built to support your needs. Military Law Center Is Ready to Help You – Right Now. Military Law Center will aggressively advise and defend you – Know Your Military Legal Rights.
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If the Domestic Violence Abuser is a Civilian:
The military has no jurisdiction. In such cases, the military may choose to inform the local civilian authorities. Base commanders have the power to bar civilians from having access to military installations and will often bar an abusive spouse to protect military servicemembers when necessary.
If the Domestic Violence Abuser is a Military Servicemember:
Domestic violence situations are handled on two separate tracks: The military justice system, and the Family Advocacy system. It’s important to realize that these are two separate systems, and not connected. Family advocacy is an identification, intervention, and treatment program — not a punishment system. It is entirely possible that the Family Advocacy Committee will return a finding of “substantiated abuse,” but there will be insufficient legally admissible evidence to allow punishment under the provisions of military justice.
Avoid a Conviction of “Domestic Violence” at all Cost
It is of utmost importance for servicemembers to avoid a conviction that is classified as “Domestic Violence.” If you are an armed servicesmember facing an allegation of assault, domestic violence, or both, your military career could be in serious jeopardy. Defending those accused of such charges is very possible, especially domestic violence charges, as these cases are often solely based upon circumstantial evidence. Similar to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape cases, domestic violence charges are generally: “He Said vs. She Said.” Alcohol is sometimes involved and events can be fuzzy, contradictory, distorted, or exaggerated. Sometimes accusers will have ulterior motives for making or exaggerating circumstances. Often, an outsider or neighbor causes an otherwise innocent argument to become a messy, unnecessary domestic violence case where there was none.
How a former U.S. Senator Can Destroy Your Military Career
Frank Raleigh Lautenberg was not only the U.S. Senate’s oldest member at 88, he was considered one of the Senate’s most liberal members. One piece of legislation he is most proud of, the “Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban,” more commonly known as the “Lautenberg Amendment,” has terminated the careers of thousands of soldiers, police officers, FBI agents, and state/federal employees who must carry a firearm in the course of their job or career.
Many law enforcement and military people have heard the name used, as in a law enforcement conversation in the lunchroom: “Yeah, I heard George was Lautenberged off the force, and only two years before his pension was fully vested…” The same term is commonly used when a soldier is discharged from the military based on the effects of the Lautenberg Amendment as it pertains to domestic violence misdemeanors and the result of such a conviction (Reason for Separation – “serviceperson can no longer legally possess a firearm.”)
What is the Lautenberg Amendment?
In September of 1996, an amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) was passed establishing a comprehensive Federal ban on the possession of firearms by persons convicted of a misdemeanor act of Domestic Violence. This amendment to the GCA, commonly referred to as the “Lautenberg Amendment,” prohibits persons convicted of misdemeanor or felony crimes of domestic violence from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving firearms or ammunition. The Lautenberg Amendment also prohibits knowingly selling or providing a firearm to a person who is known to have a domestic violence conviction.
How does the Lautenberg Amendment affect Military Personnel?
The Lautenberg Amendment prohibits individuals (including military servicemembers and law enforcement officers), accused of a crime of domestic violence (even a misdemeanor), from possessing a firearm.
As mentioned before, the stress of military life and police work probably has a lot to do with both servicemembers and law enforcement persons being charged with Domestic Violence more than any other sector of society —and that’s the irony! Cops hold the “threat of force & violence” over criminals —promising a lawful violent response if the law-breakers threaten to hurt us citizens at the local level. Soldiers are warriors that protect our country at the national level. We pay soldiers to threaten violence on our foes and protect us from being harmed. Cops and Warriors are type-A individuals who are hired and trained to inflict violence on the enemies of U.S. citizens —if necessary. But if that warrior, male or female, were to have a trying day, raise their voice, grab an arm, or push their spouse and a neighbor were to overreact and call 911, then an often times out-of-control chain of events begins that even the responding police cannot stop (even if responding officers or MPs clearly see there’s no “there there”). Once on a DV call, someone’s going to jail. (This is the only type of call where this happens). But it is out of their control. Any cop in America must arrest someone when answering a “domestic call.” There is a Domestic Violence prosecution conveyor-belt that often rubber-stamps arrests and convictions. Some claim: “political-correctness gone awry.”
When a soldier is arrested for a charge with the word “domestic” (even if there was NO violence) he or she will very probably be convicted of “misdemeanor domestic violence.” Just a Misdemeanor? No big deal – right? Wrong. Wrong, if you are a cop, soldier, or even single mom who might want a revolver for home protection someday. The Lautenberg Amendment takes no prisoners. Many an FBI, Police, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy or Coast Guard career is destroyed because of a neighbor’s well-intentioned 911 call over raised voices.
Typical Procedure following a Domestic Violence Call.
Once taken to the station, the a the accused is booked, finger-printed, photographed, and may be released that night or the following day. A court date is set up. If, weeks later you forget that court date. Convicted. Show up to court and, to get this behind you, you plead “no contest.” Convicted. Show up in court and plead “not guilty,” and ask for a trial. The prosecutor winks at you as if “you idiot… we’ll see!” Typical end result without legal counsel? Convicted.
Cop or soldier… You have just been “Lautenberg’ed” out of your career.
Voters vote for law and order politicians. Those politicians wanting to be re-elected produce far-reaching law and order legislation. A cop or MP, anywhere in America, is instructed by their superiors or DA’s (political office) that they CANNOT leave any domestic disturbance call without one or the other in cuffs (often, cops literally have to flip a coin, or choose the more aggressive-looking person to arrest). Following an arrest, prosecutors are conditioned to think that having a zero-tolerance policy towards a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend will get them re-elected, so they vigorously prosecute anyone arrested (regardless of defendant’s or “victim’s pleadings and protestations to “drop it please!”).
Every day, both male and female servicemembers are charged with acts of domestic violence. The incidents range from “acts of violence” which include: vocal harassment, yelling, verbal threats, touching, shoving, hitting or kicking. They are often charged as harassment or third degree assault but can be tagged by civilian law enforcement and MP’s as a “domestic violence” incident. That’s all it takes.
Caveat to website visitors…
This page is not a men’s rights or soldier’s rights support page. Domestic Violence is an equal-opportunity accuser of women and men. Female soldiers are trained to be the best warriors on the planet, but that very training, and the fact that women soldiers, by their very career-choice are generally more aggressive, and more outgoing “type-a” individuals
—just like their male soldier counterparts. Female soldiers and female cops are significantly more likely than their female civilian counterparts to be charged with Domestic Violence against a husband or boyfriend.
Defense attorneys are afforded a unique look into the lives of countless individuals who get in trouble with the law: many deservingly so. And yes, Domestic Violence cases often involve men and women who, we would all agree, are either troubled and/or dangerous. Some of these people would be better served living alone and will never be good at relationships or marriages. Violent individuals deserve a justice system that will punish them, incarcerate then when necessary, and protect their victims. That said, our modern day Domestic Violence laws and blanket-prosecutions treat ordinary, every-day couples (boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife) as violent, disturbed, dangerous and hardened criminals — when they ARE NOT.
Domestic Violence Charges should not Destroy Careers of Soldiers and Cops
If, as a young man of 18 you stole a wrench from the Sears store; or if as a young lady of 19, you swiped some mascara from a corner Thrifty’s between college classes – both individuals, when caught, might end up with a misdemeanor conviction. No big deal – right? Youthful indiscretion. Busted. Punished. Lesson learned. Life goes on…
Move 10 or 20 years into adulthood and have a tiff; a onetime verbal altercation with one’s spouse, and in today’s almost conveyor-belt-like domestic violence cattle-drive, the accused is entirely likely to end up with an undeserved misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. But unlike the wrench or the mascara, if your entire life’s passion was to become a policeman, a police woman, or a male or female soldier, your career can be ended. Just like that.
Some laws morph out of control. The unintended consequences of one federal law that attaches itself to any conviction with the words “domestic violence” is one such law. If you are charged with assault, harassment, or domestic violence, a skilled defense attorney will make every effort to get the all charges of —especially domestic violence charges— dismissed.
Your defense attorney has many options a defendant does not –
Starting at the law enforcement level, you attorney can advocate your side of the story to the investigator or detective before the paperwork is referred up the chain to a prosecutor’s office. (That’s the best time to get your lawyer involved.) If a detective or investigator has already sent the paperwork to the DA or prosecutor with a recommendation to prosecute, your attorney has another opportunity to advocate on your behalf at the prosecutor level before charges are actually filed. A skilled advocate, (not the “scum perpetrator”) is a well-received 3rd party telling your side of the story; humanizing you in the prosecutor’s eyes and defusing the governments case “behind the scenes” not waiting till it is an embarrassing, career-terminating courtroom prosecution. Skilled defense attorneys can do be game-changers —where you have no chance on your own.
Other Opportunities afforded Defense Attorney Advocates
If police, detectives, investigators, and prosecutors all refuse to dismiss the case, they are often open to reducing the charges. They have several motivations: too many cases – too little budget, the reluctance to try a case in court when the case will be defended by a well-known defense attorney with years more courtroom experience than his junior prosecutors, fear of loosing a case that could be settled in the office (losses are embarrassing and slow a prosecutor’s career advancement). A skilled, well-respected, heavy-hitting defense attorney can often help those accused of crimes in so many ways that you, as the defendant, simply cannot do on your own.