Interviewer: I know that’s how it is here in Texas. Your law sounds the same in New Hampshire as far as yes; an arrest has to be made when police are able to prove probable cause. What are the consequences for actually being convicted of domestic violence?
A Conviction for a Domestic Violence Offense Include a Criminal Record and Potential Loss of Employment
David: The consequences of being convicted domestic violence are and the most significant one is the person then at that point is marked up as a convicted criminal. That would have a variety of collateral consequences, in the sense that it would impair them future employment possibilities. There are certain people that, their jobs are such if they were to be convicted of a criminal offense they would lose them, for example, if a police officer was convicted.
A Police Officer Is Likely to Lose His or Her Position after a Domestic Violence Conviction
I’ve represented police officers who have been arrested for domestic violence and their job is definitely at risk if they get convicted. Sometimes they get suspended pending the trial. That’s a serious problem and there are other types of employments where the job would be at risk if they were convicted of the misdemeanor.
Foreign Nationals Convicted of Domestic Violence Will Face Deportation
One of the questions that I ask every brand new client, they look at me kind of puzzled when I ask them, “Where were you born?” I’m hoping that the answer is someplace in America because of the fact that officials from ICE, Immigration Control Enforcement, initiate between a half million and a million deportations a year for people convicted of various criminal offenses and domestic violence.
In fact, a criminal conviction for domestic violence will get an individual that’s not yet an American citizen deported.
Interviewer: I don’t know if this is politically correct, but what if you do have a client from a country where they feel it is proper to hit my wife as part of my beliefs because this is how we were raised. Then they come to America and even on a temporary green card, would that still affect them or do they use that as a defense of “this is protected by my country’s rights,” if that makes sense at all?
Or is it just here in America, you have to follow American law?
Foreign Nationals Residing in America Are Compelled to Follow American Law Even If It Differs from the Law in their Country of Origin
David: That’s the bottom line. There are certain nationalities of individuals which are extraordinarily male chauvinistic. Individuals coming from those countries, getting arrested in America for slapping the wife, for threatening to kill the wife, for a variety of different things do get prosecuted here in America, certainly here in New Hampshire.
The fact that they’re from some foreign country that shrugs their shoulders with respect to that type of activity is not a viable defense. If the person is not an American citizen it creates, like I say, a significant legal issue above and beyond what the District Court is going to do about the domestic violence.
Interviewer: They absolutely would not be protected under “This is my religious right,” or however else they wanted to defend it.
If a Foreign National Is Deported, This Can Create Difficulties within the Family if There Are Children Born in the U.S.
David: No. The spouses in that instance would undoubtedly be jumping up and down trying to have the charges dropped. That would result in the defendant, if convicted, being deported and the spouse at that point might decide to go back to the foreign country. Then the situation becomes awkward if they have children because if the children born in America, they are American citizens.
What Usually Transpires for Individuals Appearing in Court for a First Offense Domestic Violence Charge without an Attorney?
In terms of if an individual were to not get a lawyer and go to the Manchester District Court, which is my home court, and at arraignment enter a guilty plea to a domestic violence assault, the most likely result would be no fine, would be a suspended sentence, a suspended house correction sentence, suspended for two years of good behavior and also, suspended upon the condition that the individual go into a batterer’s intervention program and complete it.
They sign up within 45 days and complete the program or in some instances, undergo an anger management evaluation and then follow whatever recommendations that might be made. That’s a standard disposition for people not represented by lawyers when they go to District Court on first offense domestic violence.