According to the Texas Bar, you can expunge a domestic violence charge in Dallas only under specific circumstances. This includes:
- If the case against you was dismissed
- If you were found not guilty of the offense
If either of these situations applies in your case, you should contact a Dallas criminal defense attorney to learn more. If you were convicted of an offense, it will remain on your record. This is a key reason why it is important to avoid a conviction if possible in your case.
How Can I Have My Charge Expunged?
You may be able to begin the expunction process when:
- You get a not guilty verdict from the jury at trial; or
- The court dismisses your case, and the statute of limitations expires
By navigating this process and having an attorney work to expunge your record, it will be as if the incident, your arrest, and the charge never occurred. Your records will be deleted and will not appear on background checks. Even law enforcement and the courts cannot access the records after an expunction.
In some cases, people who received deferred adjudication for assault can ask for non-disclosure instead. Under a deferred adjudication, they were not technically convicted. This would keep their records from appearing in background checks. However, Texas does not allow this in domestic or family violence cases.
Why Is Expunction Important to Many People?
Many important steps in your life require a background check. This could include renting an apartment, getting a job, or obtaining an occupational license that your career depends on you having. Even if you were not convicted, having charges of domestic violence pop up on these background checks can cause stress.
People can judge those accused of family violence harshly, no matter the outcome of the case. Not only could this create a situation where you have to explain the circumstances of your arrest repeatedly, but employers might opt for a different candidate who never faces allegations of assault.
Having a clear criminal record means never having to worry about the past haunting you. You can put this whole thing behind you if the courts expunge your record.
Understanding What Qualifies as Domestic Violence Under Texas Law
Domestic assault and family violence occur in several ways and can involve one or more of several charges under Texas Family Code § 71.004. In general, if any of the following occurs with a household or family member, domestic assault charges are possible:
- An act that causes bodily harm or makes the victim fear imminent bodily harm (Likely charge: Domestic assault)
- An act that causes serious injuries or utilizes a weapon to create fear (Likely charge: Aggravated domestic assault)
- An act that includes trying to stop the other party from breathing (Likely charge: Domestic violence assault choking)
- Repeated offenses of domestic assault (Likely charge: Continuous domestic violence)
Who Is a Household or Family Member in Texas?
To prove someone is guilty of domestic violence in Texas, the prosecutors must show the incident occurred and that the parties involved have a certain domestic relationship. This elevates the charges, calling for increased penalties than if they were not family.
Under Texas law, the following parties have a “domestic” relationship:
- Parties related by blood or birth
- Parties related by adoption
- Parties related by marriage, including in-laws
- Former spouses
- Current or former romantic partners
- Dating partners
- Roommates or those who share a household
- Those who share a child, including those related only through the child, such as a parent and adoptive parent
How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Domestic Violence Arrest?
While facing allegations of domestic assault or another related charge is very serious, you should not panic. A domestic violence criminal defense attorney may be able to help you get a better outcome in your case. This will depend on the circumstances that led to your arrest and the evidence available in your case, as well as other details of the investigation and situation.
A lawyer can develop a defense strategy based on what happened and work toward:
- Getting charges dismissed
- Getting evidence barred from court
- Negotiating reduced charges
- Agreeing to a reduced sentence
- Taking the case to trial and presenting evidence you are not guilty
If the jury finds you not guilty or the court dismisses the charges against you, your lawyer can also handle your expunction. Discuss this goal with your attorney early on in your case if it is important to you.
There will be a statute of limitations depending on the type of charges you face. This is a time frame that limits you on how long you have to pursue legal action. Contact one of our attorneys today to ensure we get the ball rolling before time runs out for you.
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You can learn more about the services offered by the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today with a free consultation. Our founding attorney has more than 30 years of experience, including as a former prosecutor, State District Trial Judge, and now a criminal defense lawyer. Reach out to our team today to learn how we can help you