Can I Get a Domestic Violence Charge Expunged? (2023)

Obtaining a domestic violence charge expunged can be a difficult process, with different requirements depending on the jurisdiction. However, there are certain steps you can take to increase your chances of having any charges removed from your record.

Seeking Legal Advice

The first step is to seek out legal advice from an experienced attorney who specializes in criminal defense and/or family law. The lawyer will assess your individual circumstances and advise you on the best course of action to get the domestic violence charge expunged from your record [[SOURCE 1]].

Court Proceedings

Depending on the specifics of your case, your attorney may suggest that you attempt to have the charge dropped or reduced in court. They may also provide advice for obtaining an expungement without going through court, if it's possible to do so internally with law enforcement agencies [[SOURCE 1]].

Compiling Documents

If you need to pursue expungement internally, you will need to compile various documents. These may include itemized receipts detailing monies spent on counseling or classes related to anger management and conflict resolution. Additionally, if applicable, you will need to provide mitigating factors such as proof of rehabilitation, such as letters of reference. It's important to have these documents notarized before submitting them to ensure their validity [[SOURCE 1]].

State Laws and Regulations

Once all required material has been assembled and submitted, along with documentation evidencing that all fines imposed have been paid (if applicable), you can apply for relief under relevant state laws governing post-conviction reviews. Each state may have variations based on specific circumstances surrounding each particular offense, so it's important to inquire with your counsel about any potential ramifications associated with specific legislation [[SOURCE 1]].

Motion For Relief From Disabilities

In some cases, filing a Motion For Relief From Disabilities can be beneficial. This is typically done by advocate attorneys who specialize in Criminal Law. The specific laws governing this procedure may vary by state, so it's important to consult local counsel before commencing proceedings [[SOURCE 1]].

Final Steps

Once all requisite submissions are completed, you may need to supply additional review and verify materials, such as fingerprints, identification cards, or driving records. Lastly, you may need to pay requisite fees if necessary, usually no more than $25. Afterward, you will need to wait until a response arrives confirming the status of your records clearance [[SOURCE 1]].

Limitations of Expungement

Given the gravity of domestic violence charges, it is unlikely that they can ever be completely removed from someone's record. However, it is possible to have a domestic violence charge expunged in certain cases. Expungement means that all records, including those of convictions, related to the charge are sealed and inaccessible to the general public. It's important to note that even if you qualify for expungement, there may still be some public records available through private searches, such as background check companies, that remain unaffected by the action [[SOURCE 1]].

Clearing Your Name

Aside from pursuing expungement, there are additional steps you can take towards clearing your name after a domestic violence charge. These steps include participating in local advocacy organizations or community service events that show a commitment to getting back on track and ensuring that similar incidents don't recur in future relationships or interactions with others. While these steps won't erase what happened, they demonstrate responsibility and can help make a difference when employers conduct background checks or when parents look into potential partners for their children [[SOURCE 1]].

How Long Does It Take to Get a Domestic Violence Charge Expunged?

The process of expunging a domestic violence charge can vary depending on individual circumstances, such as location, severity of the offense, and any special considerations or allowances that may be applied to a unique case.

In terms of the actual time it takes for the expungement process, it largely depends on how progressive and expedient your local jurisdiction's legal system happens to be. However, most attorneys estimate that it can take between six months and two years from the initial filing date before you start seeing concrete results in effecting the expungement of a domestic violence charge from public record [[SOURCE 2]].

It's important to note that expungement involves completely eliminating criminal records from public view. This means that any law enforcement personnel who attempts to access this information will see that it has been vacated from their system due to an ongoing expungement process. In other words, no one can find out about your past transgressions during routine security clearances after qualifying for an expungement order [[SOURCE 2]].

Steps for Expungement

To have a domestic violence charge expunged, you will need to meet certain requirements and follow specific steps. These steps may vary from state to state, but generally include the following:

  1. Gaining approval from both the court and prosecutor involved in handling your case.
  2. Providing proof that all court-ordered obligations, such as fines or community service, have been fulfilled.
  3. Maintaining a clean record since your original conviction or arrest.
  4. Completing any rehabilitation programs deemed necessary by the court, if applicable.
  5. Submitting official documentation requesting the removal of records related to the domestic violence charge.
  6. Filing paperwork supporting why the records should be erased, including any relevant information regarding the case, such as legal documents and police reports [[SOURCE 3]].

It's important to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in criminal law to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements and follow the correct procedures for expungement in your jurisdiction [[SOURCE 3]].

Legal Consequences of Expungement

While expungement can be a powerful legal remedy for individuals with a criminal record, there can be legal consequences for expunging a domestic violence charge. Expunging a domestic violence charge does not erase it from the public record entirely and could potentially have effects in certain civil cases or other contexts in the future.

For example, some states allow domestic violence charges to be used as evidence of an individual's character or state of mind during child custody proceedings or other civil matters where protection orders may be sought. This means that even if the records are expunged, they could still be admitted into evidence, depending on the relevant state laws. Additionally, expunged domestic violence charges may also show up during background checks conducted by schools, employers, and other entities that require such screenings [[SOURCE 4]].

Therefore, while obtaining an expungement is certainly beneficial when faced with a criminal conviction, it is important to understand that any potential risks associated with having an expunged record should be considered before taking this step [[SOURCE 4]].

Information Needed for Expungement Application

When applying for a domestic violence charge expungement, there is key information that you need to know and provide. This information is necessary to ensure that your application is successful.

First and foremost, you need to determine if you are eligible for expungement. Eligibility requirements may vary from state to state, but generally, individuals who have been convicted of non-violent misdemeanors or some non-violent felonies may be eligible. It is important to contact your state's Department of Justice or the local courthouse where the crime occurred to inquire about expungement rules and procedures specific to your state [[SOURCE 9]].

In addition to the general eligibility requirement, there are other criteria you must meet. Most states will require documents related to the charges in question, including court records, sentencing histories, and police reports. You will also need to provide proof that all terms associated with the sentence have been completed, such as payment of any fines. It is crucial to submit these documents with your expungement request to confirm that all conditions related to the conviction have been addressed appropriately before filing papers with a court requesting an order of exoneration [[SOURCE 9]].

Furthermore, many states require applicants seeking a domestic violence charge expungement to provide proof of rehabilitation since the completion of their sentence(s). This may include getting counseling or therapy, providing letters or documentation from employers verifying employment history, and obtaining certificates or documents attesting to the fact that the individual has remained arrest-free since the date of the conviction. These documents should demonstrate successful reintegration into society resulting from therapeutic interventions completed during the probation period, among other forms requiring signatures from appropriate supervising personnel, such as teachers or counselors who can vouch for character references set forth by the petitioner. It is important to ask for judge approval before proceeding with the expungement process, as each case is analyzed individually [[SOURCE 9]].

Ultimately, the laws governing the expungement procedure vary by state, so it is wise to consult attorneys experienced in handling criminal law matters to discuss your individual circumstances and aim for the best possible outcome. By following these steps, you can optimize your chances of successfully expunging a domestic violence charge and moving forward with a clean slate [[SOURCE 9]].


Expunging a domestic violence charge is a complex process that requires careful consideration and adherence to specific legal requirements. Seeking legal advice, understanding the court proceedings, compiling necessary documents, and following the steps outlined by your attorney are crucial for increasing your chances of having the charge expunged. It's important to remember that while expungement can provide relief from the burden of a criminal record, there may still be legal consequences and limitations to consider. By taking proactive steps towards rehabilitation and demonstrating a commitment to personal growth, you can work towards clearing your name and moving forward with your life.

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