Understandably, domestic violence charges are severe and can heavily impact the lives of those who have those charges on their record. Most people think that these records are permanent and that all domestic violence charges are ineligible for expungement, but that is not the full nature of Ohio law.
People with domestic violence charges may struggle to reach their career goals, may not be able to get the education they want, and their social life may suffer. It is hard to deal with domestic violence charges, and those charges can change the trajectory of someone’s life. However, not all domestic violence charges are on the same level.
The lingering consequences that result because of domestic violence charges are overwhelming, but a criminal defense attorney understands how to work within the law to improve their clients’ futures and help them reduce the negative consequences of Ohio domestic violence charges.
Defining Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is characterized by one household member being harmed or threatened by another. Many behaviors and actions can be included under the umbrella of domestic violence. Some of the main components of domestic violence include physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse. Some common domestic violence behaviors include:
- Threats of harm
- Injury, such as hitting, shoving, slapping, biting, and hair pulling
- Gaslighting and manipulation
- Unwanted sexual acts, including coercion, groping, rape, and injuring sexual body parts
- Destroying property or pets
- Verbal degradation, name-calling, and eroding another person’s self-esteem
- Stalking and harassment
Domestic violence can be devastating for people, and it can impact any kind of person. Accordingly, domestic violence charges are often severe.
What is Expungement?
Even if you’ve heard of expungement before, many people don’t understand what that truly means. Essentially, expungement means that one’s criminal record is not publicly available. Additionally, expunged records do not show up on background checks. Expungement allows people convicted of charges to move past their charges and allows them to have more opportunities without old charges hanging over their heads.
Laws in Ohio have made it simpler for certain people to expunge their records, but domestic violence charges tend to be more resistant to expungement than many other charges.
Can I Get a Domestic Violence Charge Expunged?
For the most part, Ohio law indicates that those who have been convicted of domestic violence will always have domestic violence on their record, but as with most legal parameters, there are some nuances.
For example, domestic violence charges include either causing or trying to cause harm to a household or family member, while another type is just threatening harm. Both are bad, but someone who has threatened harm may be eligible for expungement. Someone convicted of causing harm through domestic violence will never be eligible for expungement.
Additionally, a good lawyer can help their clients get reduced charges, such as a disorderly conduct charge that will have less severe consequences.
Who is Eligible for Expungement?
More serious domestic violence charges will never be eligible for expungement because of their violence, but in very specific cases, an expungement is an option. If the crime is categorized as a fourth-degree misdemeanor, then a convicted person may be eligible for expungement.
First-degree misdemeanors are not eligible for expungement. However, first-degree charges that have been reduced in plea deals may be eligible, so getting a lawyer who understands these parameters can help you if you are unsure.
How to Expunge a Domestic Violence Charge
Many people aren’t sure how to expunge domestic violence charges from their record. For one, you must wait one year after you have completed your sentence for the domestic violence charges. Those on probation must wait until one year after their probation. Furthermore, if you have fines you have to pay, you must wait until a year after those fines have been paid. For any assigned classes or other court-ordered activities, you must also wait a year.
An Important Note
Even if you are potentially eligible for expungement, it’s important to note that some judges may be hesitant to grant that expungement in domestic violence cases. You will have a hearing to make your case, but other parties involved in the case will also have the chance to make their cases. Orders like protective orders can also influence your case.
Columbus Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
If you are concerned about your record, getting a qualified defense lawyer who specializes in domestic violence cases is the ideal option. It will be hard for you to manage your own case and earn expungement on your own, which is why hiring a lawyer can help you protect your life and safeguard it from having the mark of domestic violence charges follow you. A domestic violence defense attorney can help you understand more about what to expect going forward or help you determine if you have a case.