In times of high stress or emotion, people can react in regrettable ways. They may yell, break something or cause injuries. And in the aftermath of these situations, it can be difficult to pick up the pieces – especially if they result in criminal charges.

Allegations of assault or domestic violence can take a tremendous toll on everyone involved, so it is vital to understand how you may be able to minimize the fallout if you are facing charges.

Know what you are facing

There are many ways these types of criminal charges can affect someone.

  • Emotional repercussions – Being arrested can be embarrassing, particularly if you did not do anything wrong. However, New Jersey law requires police to arrest someone believed to be the violent party. Even if you were the victim or you were only protecting yourself, you can still face arrest, which can be humiliating, frightening and upsetting.
  • Financial repercussions – Someone accused of domestic violence can face hundreds or thousands of dollars in civil penalties and court costs. Further, if you are prohibited from returning home or to your job, you can take on a host of new living expenses.
  • Personal repercussions – These cases can strain or sever personal relationships, whether the allegations are true or not. They can adversely affect parenting rights, marriages, and living situations.
  • Professional repercussions – Going to jail can mean missing work, and a violent offense on your record can make you ineligible for specific jobs. It can also cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
  • Legal repercussions – Depending on the details of an accusation, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony charge resulting in jail or prison time, not to mention probation, restraining orders and court hearings.

Defending yourself and your future

Considering all the ways a domestic violence charge can affect you, it is critical to know what to do (or not do).

During an arrest, do not fight back or say something that can later be used against you. Try to stay calm and ask to speak with an attorney right away. After the arrest, you can work with your attorney to defend yourself and give your side of the story.

Being arrested can undoubtedly be an upsetting experience. However, when you know the stakes, and you take the right to defend yourself seriously, you can protect yourself and your future.