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When relationships get frayed, tempers can flare. And we can do and say some things that we regret. But when the things we regret become part of our criminal record, is there any way to get it off?
Some convictions can be expunged from your criminal record. Is domestic violence one of them?
Getting Into Trouble
As a general rule, expungement eligibility is generally determined by the severity of the crime and your criminal record. State law may vary, but expungement is normally available for crimes committed as a juvenile and most misdemeanors, so long as you don't have an extensive criminal history. State statutes can be especially important if you're trying to expunge an out-of-state conviction, although some states are more likely to expunge a conviction after a certain amount of time has passed.
State domestic violence statutes may treat an offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific circumstances of the incident. The more serious the assault or battery involved, the more serious the charge, and the less likely you will be able to expunge it from your record later. No matter where you live, felony convictions are very difficult, if not impossible, to get expunged. Felony convictions normally involve more serious crimes, making them harder to get off your record.
Getting It off Your Record
There are some other things to keep in mind when it comes to expungement. First, expungement is usually a one-time deal -- future convictions after expungement will likely to stay on your record.
Second, while a domestic violence arrest doesn't mean you're guilty, a record of your arrest may pop up on a background check. Most states will allow you to expunge an arrest record, especially one that doesn't result in a conviction. And expungement can be part of a negotiated plea bargain.
(Getting rid of that online mug shot, however, might be a tougher task.)
The expungement process can be complicated, so you'll want an experienced criminal law attorney on your side -- contact one today.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.