Members of the military face a lot of challenges throughout the course of their service and family life, and domestic violence allegations are no exception. While some of these charges are well founded, others can be the result of misunderstandings that have gone out of control. There are even cases where accusations of domestic violence may be completely false and are made by an alleged victim to punish the accused for one reason or another.
Service members face the same criminal consequences for domestic violence that civilians do. But, they also face special career consequences up to and including court martial and discharge.
Domestic violence and military gun control
The special issues military members face come from a law called the Lautenberg Amendment. In short, this law precludes people convicted of domestic violence crimes-even misdemeanors-from owning or possessing firearms. This prohibition extends to service weapons used in connection with the service member's military duties.
It is possible that military members may continue to be allowed to use major weapons systems and crew-serviced weapons during the course of their official duties. However, most service members - if they are allowed to remain enlisted - end up getting transferred to duties that do not require the use of firearms. They may also lose their rank and security clearance, be restricted from some deployments, and be ineligible to re-enlist, thus ending their military career.
What acts constitute domestic violence?
Domestic violence is defined both by the underlying act, and by the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and victim. In short, it involves the use of physical force, the attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon against the alleged perpetrator's:
In addition to dealing with blows to their military career, service members convicted of domestic violence can also face serious civilian criminal consequences. If you or a loved one has been accused, there is no time to waste. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to mount an effective defense.
At The Foley Law Firm in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we have years of experience working with members of the military in all types of criminal cases. Call us at 719-757-1182 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.