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Expunging Domestic Violence Records

April 10, 2024 | Domestic Violence Records

When you are accused of domestic violence, it can lead to serious penalties even if you are not convicted. Having domestic violence charges on your record at all can impact your life in any situation where there is a background check. For example, you may have issues securing unemployment because of a domestic violence arrest, or your child custody agreements may be impacted by these records.

In some cases, you may be able to expunge your records. However, record expungement is a complex process and is not always available to every individual charged with or convicted of a domestic violence offense. But if you are not yet convicted, pursuing a reduction of charges or dismissal may also be an opportunity. Fortunately, domestic violence expungement can allow you to clear your records and start fresh.

Qualifying for Expungement of Domestic Violence Records

Expungement may be the best way to completely clear your record, leaving it as though there was never a criminal record in the first place. However, expungement is not easy to pursue, and it is easy to be disqualified. Below are a few specific situations where you may qualify for expungement according to the State Bar of Texas.

Your Charges Were Dropped, Dismissed, or Pardoned

If your domestic violence charges have been dropped, the court may have realized they did not have a strong case against you. In other cases, you may have brought evidence forward that led to a dismissal. Sometimes, you may even receive a pardon for the case, which can lead to expungement.

There Are Changes in Your Indictment

If your indictment is not handled properly or is dismissed, you may have an opportunity to get your charges expunged, such as if your indictment may never have been presented to you or was considered void by the court. In other cases, legal errors or fraud may also lead to a dismissal of your indictment. If that indictment goes away, you may be able to clear your criminal record.

You Were Part of a Pretrial Diversion Program

Sometimes, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program under Texas Government Code Section 76.011. This program offers options to complete a specific program under specific rules in exchange for dismissing your charges. If you successfully complete this program, your case may be dismissed, allowing you to expunge the charges.

You May Have Grounds to Have Your Case Sealed

Sometimes, you may not be eligible for expungement but may be eligible for record sealing. This process is similar to expungement but has less complete results. However, it can still be valuable in certain situations. Record sealing seals your record from most public and private entities. That means that most of the general public will not be able to see your record. However, this record still exists for certain agencies, such as the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Medical Board, and law enforcement.

However, getting your records sealed may be easier than getting them expunged. If you do not qualify for expungement and have a conviction on your record, sealing may be your next best option. Keep in mind that certain laws, such as the Procedure for Community Supervision Following Conviction according to Texas Government Code Section 411.073, can impact whether you qualify.

Pursuing a Case Dismissal Offers an Easier Path to Freedom

In some cases, expungement may be your best option, and having your records sealed may be your only option if you have a conviction. However, if you have not been convicted and your case is still active, you may be able to pursue alternative options.