A domestic violence arrest can have life-changing consequences. Former Miami Dolphins receiver Chad Johnson is probably realizing this now. Johnson, who formerly went by the name Chad Ochocinco, was arrested for domestic violence following an alleged incident with his wife in front of their Florida home.

The argument allegedly took place after Johnson’s wife found a receipt for a box of condoms when she was bringing groceries in from the car. The couple were sitting in the car talking about the receipt and their relationship when Johnson allegedly head-butted his wife. She ran to a neighbor’s house and called police. When officers arrived, they allegedly saw a laceration on the wife’s forehead.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Lesser sentencing options in cases like this include community service or probation. Johnson has been released on $2,500 bail. His attorney says an order is in place which prohibits Johnson from having any contact with his wife.

To make things worse for Johnson, about 24 hours after the arrest the Dolphins terminated his contract. His wife then announced she plans to divorce him. A few days later he lost an endorsement deal with a drink company.

Domestic violence allegations can destroy a reputation and a career. This can happen whether or not the allegations are true. In many cases the accused agrees to a restraining order early in the process, without realizing that the order becomes part of a permanent criminal record which may prevent the accused from obtaining employment or adversely affect immigration status.

Source: Boston Globe, “Johnson released on bail,” Aug. 13, 2012

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