Domestic Violence Expungement in Los Angeles

Domestic Violence Expungement

Defendants who have been convicted of a domestic violence offense often want to know about the expungement process and whether they are able to have the conviction expunged from their record. A conviction for domestic violence can have extensive collateral consequences that can cause long-term difficulties in terms of employment, licensing and housing. Anyone interested in having a domestic violence conviction expunged should contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Los Angeles right away.

Why Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction?

Anytime a defendant is convicted of a criminal offense in California, the conviction is submitted to the Department of Justice who will then keep a record of the conviction. Increasingly, employers and others rely on criminal background searches when making hiring decisions. A domestic violence conviction on someone’s record may prevent him or her from being hired or from being eligible for housing, education loans or professional licenses.

Can Domestic Violence Convictions Be Expunged?

Most misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are eligible for expungement. However, the Court may not grant an expungement if the defendant repeatedly violated the terms of probation or if the defendant has committed subsequent criminal offenses. The Court cannot grant an expungement if a person is currently on probation for a different offense.

Some domestic violence offenses cannot be expunged. For violent crimes that may have involved allegations of rape or violence against minors, the defendant may be legally prevented from expunging the conviction at any point. For defendants convicted of felony-level offenses, the conviction would first have to be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and then expunged.

In some cases, the defendant may still be on probation but may have a compelling argument to expunge the case early. In these cases, the defendant can file a motion to terminate probation early and then expunge. Courts will typically only consider granting these types of motions when there are truly compelling circumstances, such as an impending job loss.

Effects of the Expungement

If the Court grants the expungement, the defendant’s previous plea or conviction will be vacated and the case will be dismissed retroactively. This information will be forwarded to the Department of Justice.

Even if an expungement is granted, the defendant would still be subject to a 10 year California ban on owning or possessing firearms as a result of the earlier conviction. The United States government imposes a lifetime ban on most defendants who are convicted of domestic violence. This ban would remain effective regardless of an expungement.

In addition, an expungement will not have an effect on non-U.S. citizens who are facing removal proceedings as a result of a domestic violence conviction. The U.S. government can still consider this prior conviction in any removal proceedings.

The Expungement Process

In order to have a domestic violence expunged, the defendant would file a motion pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC. Once the filing fee has been paid, the motion will be calendared for a hearing before the original sentencing judge. At this hearing, the defense can argue why the expungement should be granted. The prosecution can be heard on the motion and may oppose the motion where the defendant violated probation or where there was a subsequent criminal offense. Ultimately, the judge will determine whether or not to grant the defendant’s expungement motion.

If you or someone you know is interested in having a domestic violence conviction expunged, it is imperative that you meet with an attorney experienced in filing these types of motions right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands the expungement process and works diligently on behalf of his clients who are trying to clear their records.

For more information about domestic violence expungements, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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