Can A Conviction For Domestic Violence Be Expunged In California?
When a conviction for a crime in California is expunged, the defendant’s case is dismissed and any plea previously entered, such as a guilty plea or a no-contest (nolo contendere) plea, is set aside. The effect of an expungement means that a new plea of not guilty will be entered on the record. A primary benefit of an expungement is increasing employment opportunities since the expungement removes the original plea and conviction from certain public records and background checks.
Some offenses that are considered domestic violence include battery, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, trespass, criminal threats, stalking, and child abuse. Any of these offenses may be charged as felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances and the severity thereof in a domestic violence case.
The most common domestic violence offenses include the following:
California Penal Code § 273.5 Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant.
California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) Domestic Battery.
California Penal Code § 422 Criminal Threats.
Misdemeanor charges may be expunged while it may be substantially difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the expungement of a felony conviction. Expungement is only available in felony cases where the defendant served no time in prison. An alternative is a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Pardon from the Governor.
In certain scenarios, those who have had a domestic violence offense expunged must still disclose a conviction for domestic violence. One circumstance is if the former defendant is running for public office. Also, an expunged domestic violence conviction must be disclosed when a former defendant pursues a license from a California state or local agency.
If convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, there is a 10-year prohibition from the state of California. Federal law also has a lifetime prohibition which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of even misdemeanor domestic violence. An expungement does not reinstate the right to own or possess firearms in either case.
The attorney that any defendant hires may be crucial to achieving the best possible result. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. John Patrick Dolan helps his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. Mr. Dolan is a recognized California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and a true courtroom veteran of any type of criminal case. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.