A former Greenville doctor has received a sentence of house arrest and the loss of his license after pleading guilty to first degree domestic violence.
In 2013, Dr. Paul Drago was recognized as one of the best surgeons in both of the Carolinas. He was then involved in an incident of domestic violence: he was arrested for spitting on a woman, punching her, and then chasing after her.
In the incident, the bone behind the woman’s eye was fractured in three places. He was arrested, and the domestic violence charge left him without a license to practice.
Along with first-degree domestic violence, Drago was also charged with kidnapping. Since the victim required immediate medical attention, he faced up to 10 years in prison. He chose to plead guilty, which helped to reduce his sentence.
Despite the threat of many years in jail, his sentence was reduced to only one year of house arrest and three years of probation. His license, however, is still suspended in both Carolinas, and he has not reapplied.
Domestic Violence Penalties besides Incarceration
Dr. Drago’s guilty plea bargain may have helped him avoid incarceration, and losing his medical license may have also been an essential part of his plea bargain.
If you choose to take a plea bargain, you and your attorney may have to negotiate different forms of penalties for the offense. These different penalties, however, may cause your life to change drastically. If you are a licensed professional, like Drago, you may have your license taken away from you and you may not be able to reapply in the future. You have to then find a new career, which is not always easy to do as a convicted felon.
Even if your job does not require a specific license, your workplace may look down upon convicted offenders and you may lose your job. If you then need to find a new place to live, many apartment complexes or residential areas will ask potential tenants or renters about past felony or domestic violence convictions. North Carolina has many policies regarding the workplace and housing that protect domestic violence victims.
Another way that North Carolina strives to protect victims is by allowing them to file restraining orders against alleged abusers. If you have a restraining order filed against you, you may not be able to go certain places, contact the victim, or contact certain people close to the victim.
For example, if you are convicted of domestic violence against a spouse, you may have to move, and you might not be allowed to see your children. You may even have to change your commute to work or other parts of your daily routine just to avoid arrest.
Additional Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions
Recently, the Supreme Court upheld its decision to restrict domestic violence offenders from the right to carry a firearm. This goes for both domestic violence felons and misdemeanants.
And if you do not have citizenship in this country, a domestic violence felony on your records could be grounds for deportation.
A domestic violence conviction goes way beyond incarceration and a few fines – it could follow you for the rest of your life. That’s why, if you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to hire a skilled domestic violence attorney who will fight not only for dropped charges or a reduced sentence, but also for the rights that you have at stake. Give us a call today to get started on your defense.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.