Domestic Violence Offenses – How Long Will It Reflect On Your Record?
Having a criminal record, domestic violence or otherwise, can be a source of embarrassment and may lead to loss of confidence to most of us. That is the reason why a lot of people do the best they can to follow the law and prevent themselves from getting into situations wherein they can be charged with a criminal case. In a lot of domestic violence cases, the defendant is not necessarily a bad or violent person. In some instances, the defendant was probably in some unfortunate circumstance that lead to him being vulnerable charged with a domestic violence case. The defendant is not necessarily a violent or an abusive person, but if proven guilty, this conviction can show up in his record permanently. This record can have big consequences in your future employment and other aspects of your life.
Ways to Prevent Domestic Violence Records
Domestic violence is defined by the law as an abusive behavior of one’s intimate partner done in order to control or have power over the other partner. Hurting or inflicting bodily harm and sexually assaulting your intimate partner are also considered domestic violence. In domestic violence cases, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the defendant with either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. The charge will largely depend on the circumstances of the case including the extent of damage and harm done to the intimate partner. An intimate partner does not only refer to one’s spouse, it can also refer to a boyfriend or girlfriend, sex partner, cohabitation partner and others.
It is worth saying twice that a domestic violence conviction is never a good thing to show in one’s record. Thankfully, there are a few ways to keep your records clean from any domestic violence records. First of all, the best option is to get a lawyer that can help you get a not guilty verdict upon being charged of the domestic violence case. Just like what a common saying states – “prevention is better than cure”. Hiring a top notch attorney that can dismiss the case is the first and most wise way of keeping your record clean.
However, if you have already been convicted of the case, an expungement may be possible. An expungement is a legal process wherein a person who has been convicted of a crime can ask the court to “seal” or “set aside” the criminal records that he wished to be expunged. If the appeal for expungement has been successful, then that person won’t be compelled to state or reveal the criminal record when applying for job or other things. Also, the criminal record won’t be revealed in any background checks done by a private investigator, employer or other private companies. The criminal records, once expunged, will not be allowed access to the general public.
But unfortunately, not everyone can apply for expungement. Some criminal records or certain crimes are also not allowed to be expunged depending on the state’s law that has the jurisdiction of your previous criminal record. So if you are interested in having your criminal records expunged, it is best to consult a lawyer first.