For Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald, jail time and fines may be the least of the consequences he faces for his domestic violence charge.
The pro football player was arrested last month on domestic violence charges after allegedly physically assaulting a victim while she was holding a baby, according to CNN. Following his arrest, the Bears released McDonald from the team.
The Bears had taken a gamble on McDonald when they took him on, knowing that the football player had been let go by the San Francisco 49ers only last year because of sexual assault charges. Now, in addition to incarceration and fines, McDonald may never play professional football again.
Ray McDonald’s situation demonstrates just how life-altering a domestic violence charge can be to your personal life and career. Even if you are not a famous football player, a domestic violence conviction can affect your professional life in a variety of unwanted ways. Below, we’ve outlined seven ways a domestic violence conviction can ruin your career.
Termination. Domestic violence cases are often very public affairs, and if you are a professional, you are likely to be released from your job. While federal laws prohibit termination based on race, color, religion, and other protected classes, employers are within their rights to fire workers for engaging in criminal activity outside the workplace. Violent crimes are almost always acceptable grounds for termination.
Permanent record stain. A domestic violence conviction may remain on your permanent record for the rest of your life if you do not get it expunged. When prospective employers access your record, they will be much less likely to hire you upon seeing a domestic violence conviction. According to some estimates, two thirds of employers will not hire an individual with a criminal conviction on their record.
License revocation. A domestic violence conviction may result in the revocation of a number of occupational or professional licenses, including medical, nursing, contracting, education, massage therapy, and real estate. This type of conviction may also make it impossible for you to obtain such licenses in the future.
Employment disqualification. Under federal law, you may not possess, purchase, or acquire any type of firearm if you are convicted of domestic violence. That means that you may be barred from any type of job that requires the use of a gun, explosive, or other dangerous agent. If you are convicted of domestic violence, you will not be able to work in law enforcement, firefighting, or certain types of construction and truck driving.
End to military career. A domestic violence conviction will almost certainly put an end to a military career and make it impossible for you to join the military in the future.
Deportation. If you are a non-US citizen, you could be removed or barred from entering the country after a domestic violence conviction. That means that even if you have established a life and career in the US, all of this could be taken away from you because of a domestic violence charge.
Secondary education impact. A domestic violence conviction could disqualify you from admission to colleges, grad programs, and other secondary education institutions, and make it nearly impossible for you to obtain a loan. If you are hoping to seek higher education to further your career, a domestic violence conviction may make this difficult.
In addition to devastating consequences to your career, a domestic violence conviction can ruin your family life, romantic relationships, and financial situation. If convicted, your housing options may be restricted. If you are a parent, your child visitation rights may be limited to supervised sessions. And since nearly anyone with a computer can access a criminal record, you may have trouble forming friendships and romantic relationships in the future.
The bottom line? A domestic violence charge is a serious threat to your career, freedom, family, and future. If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence in Illinois, you need the toughest defense possible.
Immediately following an arrest, you should contact an aggressive Chicago domestic violence defense lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to listen to your side of the story without judgement before helping you to understand the charges against you and explaining your options. Your lawyer will carefully investigate the facts of your case, gathering evidence and expert witnesses to strengthen your defense. In the courtroom, your attorney will be a fierce advocate for your rights and freedom. Together, you and your lawyer may be able to obtain a dismissal, acquittal, or reduced charge, thus avoiding devastating consequences to your personal and professional life.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.