Domestic violence is a serious offense in Texas, and state laws do not favor domestic violence defendants. If you were convicted of domestic violence, you will generally not be able to clear your record unless your conviction is overturned on appeal. Depending on particular case facts, records related to domestic violence arrests and charges that do not result in convictions may sometimes be sealed or expunged, however.
If you have been charged with family violence, contact a domestic violence attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation. Whether you need help fighting charges or clearing your record, only experienced attorneys should handle your case. We know that the impacts of a domestic violence record can be devastating, and we will do everything we can to protect your rights and your future.
What Is Domestic Violence In Texas?
In Texas, domestic violence is an act against a family member, household member, or a current or former relationship partner that results in physical harm, assault, injury, or sexual assault. In some cases, threats of bodily injury and harm can be enough to result in a domestic violence conviction. Depending on the circumstances of the case, charges can be felonies or misdemeanors.
Expunging Domestic Violence
Expunging a criminal record means that your record is effectively cleared. Employers and other people will not be able to see evidence of your case charges and convictions. If you are arrested and charged with domestic violence, you may be able to expunge your arrest and charges in the following circumstances:
- If you are found not guilty
- Your case was never filed after an arrest
- Your case was dismissed
As mentioned above, you will generally not be able to expunge domestic violence from your record if you were convicted, unless that conviction is overturned on appeal. You also will not be able to expunge your record if your domestic violence case resulted in deferred adjudication, probated sentence, or a plea bargain.
Sealing Your Record
Under Texas law, some criminal convictions may be sealed with a court’s order of nondisclosure. When an order of nondisclosure is entered, public entities such as courts and law enforcement offices are prohibited from disclosing your criminal record to other people and entities.
An order of nondisclosure does not clear your record. It does, however, seal your record so that employers and others conducting background checks may not find information related to your arrest, charges, and convictions. Unfortunately for those who have been convicted of domestic violence, Texas courts will not issue orders of nondisclosure for family violence offenses.
How Convictions Can Affect You
As previously mentioned, domestic violence convictions have serious consequences and long-term impacts in Texas. Employers and future employers will be able to see your criminal record when they conduct background checks. This can lead to loss of employment and loss of prospective employment.
Family violence convictions can lead to the loss of your rights and freedoms, such as losing the right to possess firearms, loss of child custody, and protective order limitations. You may also be subject to fines of up to $10,000 and 10 years in prison in the most serious family violence cases.
Defending Domestic Violence Allegations
The best step to take in defending a domestic violence case is to secure the help of an experienced legal advocate as soon as possible. It is not necessary to be charged with a crime before you speak with an attorney. In fact, getting out in front of potential charges with a defense attorney can be very helpful to your case, when possible.
Family violence defense attorneys know that accusations and charges do not automatically mean guilt and convictions. We know that false and exaggerated allegations are often used as weapons to punish the accused or to gain an advantage in a child custody case.
A good defense attorney will investigate your case, gather evidence to help prove your innocence, and aggressively fight for your rights and protections. Family violence cases can result in severe and life-altering outcomes for the accused. Defendants cannot leave these cases to chance because the consequences are too great.
Houston Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, understand the seriousness of family violence records, and they will advocate for the best possible outcome in your case. We know that your life is in our hands, and we will do everything we can to protect your rights and your future.