Can a Domestic Violence Case be Expunged in the State of California?
Those who have been convicted of domestic violence in California are often curious as to whether the offense can be expunged and what the process entails. There is a lot that can be affected by a criminal conviction of any kind, let alone one for something like domestic violence. The collateral damage to someone’s life from this type of charge can be catastrophic, causing issues with employment, housing, and other essentials.
The only way to guarantee that this conviction won’t follow you around and haunt your life is to attempt to get the charges expunged. Keep reading to find out whether this is even an option for domestic violence crimes and how you can go about getting your own charges expunged.
Should I Bother Trying for an Expungement?
Some people who may feel that they have already been unjustly served by the system may also feel like there is no real reason for them to fight the conviction or appeal for an expungement. Regardless of how you feel or what you think you know, though, you should always try when you can. Otherwise, having a domestic violence conviction could hamper many areas of your life:
- An increasing number of rental agencies and property owners run criminal background checks on tenants, and this type of conviction could severely limit your housing options.
- Employers will also perform background checks on employees and may not want to hire someone with this type of record.
- There are certain laws and guidelines in place regarding professional licenses, educational loans, and other career and educational training that could prevent you from pursuing your goals with this conviction.
- Any other time you are involved in something that requires a background check, the situation could be negatively affected by this charge on your record.
Domestic violence charges are a matter of public record and can affect many areas of your life, so yes, you should always try to fight your charges with the assistance of a reputable criminal defense lawyer.
Can You Expunge the Charges of Domestic Violence?
As long as there is not a disclaimer preventing such a filing in the original charges, anyone can file for an expungement of their domestic violence conviction. However, defendants in the state of California are still subject to a 10-year ban on firearm ownership or possession. Of course, the federal government also imposes a lifetime firearm ban on a majority of those convicted of this offense, so most people can expect that this will remain in place, despite the expungement.
If a non-U.S. citizen is going through the removal proceedings to be deported, an expungement isn’t going to affect their case. The government will still be able to consider the prior conviction, even if expunged, and use it as part of the reason for removal if they see fit.
How Does it Work?
If you decide to file for expungement of your charges, the first thing that you will want to do is hire a reputable, professional criminal defense lawyer. They will be able to help you understand the California Penal Code and the expungement process and take care of everything along the way. You will need to pay a filing fee and then a motion for a hearing will be filed and you will be given a court date.
At the hearing, your lawyer will be able to argue the reasons in favor of the expungement. The prosecution will also have their chance to speak and they may be able to oppose the filing. In the event that the defendant committed another crime or violated their probation in some other way, it may be easy for the prosecution to have the motion denied. Ultimately, however, this decision will be up to the judge.
Hire a Lawyer Today
If you are facing a lifetime with a domestic violence conviction that you don’t think is justified, contact a qualified domestic violence lawyer right away. There might be more that can be done to expunge your charges and get your record clean so that you can get your life back on track.
Don’t feel like you have to settle with this conviction. Regardless of the circumstance of your case, we’ll be happy to discuss the expungement process and your criminal case to help you decide on the best course of action, no matter what that might be. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to do this alone because you only get one chance and it’s always better to let an experienced criminal defense attorney help for the best outcome in your appeal.