Blog Post


How Long Does Domestic Violence Stay on Your Record?

January 5, 2021 / Criminal Defense

Sometimes arguments get out of hand, and things happen that we do not intend. Domestic violence occurs when a situation escalates that may have started as a simple disagreement. If you have been arrested on domestic violence charges in Florida, it’s understandable that you would want to know “how long does domestic violence stay on your record?” The answer to this can depend on several factors, including the severity of the harm and whether or not you have an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in your corner.

Domestic violence charges cannot be expunged or sealed in Florida if you plead guilty or no contest to the charge. They will always remain on your record. A domestic violence arrest can be expunged from a record in Florida only if the charges against an alleged perpetrator are dropped. Typically, only an experienced defense attorney can make this happen. A skilled criminal defense lawyer knows the ins and outs of the legal system and can help you by either working to get the charges dropped or negotiating a lesser plea. In some cases, your defense attorney can help you get placed in a diversion program that includes domestic violence counseling, and upon completion the charges can be dropped and your record expunged.

It’s important to remember that in Florida, even if the alleged victim agrees to drop the charges, the local prosecutor can still file domestic violence charges and prosecute the case against you. You need an aggressive defense attorney who can negotiate with the prosecutor and explain why dropping the case altogether is in everyone’s best interest.

Attorney Michael Panella has helped hundreds of clients fight criminal charges, and he has the skill and experience needed to achieve the best outcome possible in your case. He will not rest until his clients have been represented with a tough and compelling defense. He can also explain your legal options and guide you in making decisions that protect your future. Do not go into court and face domestic violence charges alone or with an overworked public defender. There is too much at stake. Call us at 407-233-1822 to find out how we can help.

Domestic Violence Definition and Statistics

Domestic violence charges are serious, and they can negatively affect your future. Everything from applying for a job, seeking housing and securing credit can be hampered or denied because of charges that are on a person’s criminal record.

According to the Florida Uniform Crime Reports Program, domestic violence is defined in the following way:
“…any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, or criminal offense resulting in the physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit. Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.”

Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics show that:

  • There were 104,914 reported incidents of domestic violence in 2018 with 80.0% resulting from Simple Assault.
  • There were 196 reported incidents of domestic violence-related Criminal Homicide in 2018. The most common victim to offender relationships were Spouses (35.7%) followed by Co-habitants (17.8%) and children of the offender (17.3%).
  • There were 19 reported incidents of domestic violence-related Manslaughter in 2018. Eleven (11) victims were the children of the offenders.
  • In 2018, 21.7% of the 1,783 domestic violence Forcible Rape victims were the children of the offenders, and 21.1% were classified as Other Family.
  • Of the 160 domestic violence victims of Aggravated Stalking, 44.4% were classified as Other and 34.4% were classified as Spouse.

What Is the Difference Between a Sealed and an Expunged Record?

A skilled and experienced domestic violence attorney may be able to help you get the domestic violence charges on your criminal record expunged. The state does allow this under certain circumstances. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the difference between sealing and expungement is as follows:

“When a criminal history record is sealed or expunged, the public will not have access to it. Certain governmental or related entities, primarily those listed in Section 943.059(4)(a), F.S, have access to the sealed record information in its entirety. When a record has been expunged, most of the entities which would have access to a sealed record will be informed that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order. The response to a record search query from such an entity would be: ‘Criminal History Record Expunged Pursuant to Florida Statutes 943.’”

Penalties in Florida for Domestic Violence

If convicted, the penalty for domestic violence depends on several factors, including the severity of the victim’s injuries and whether you have a previous criminal record. A domestic violence charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts in the case. A sentence for a misdemeanor can include:

  • Mandatory 26-week anger management course
  • Up to a year in jail or a year of probation
  • Banning your right to possess a gun or other firearm
  • Being refused the opportunity to contact or see the victim or your children.

A sentence for a felony can include all of the above and significant jail time.

Get the Best Legal Representation Possible

With so much at stake – including your future employment, financial opportunities and access to family members and children – you don’t want to make any legal mistakes if you have been arrested for domestic violence. These are serious charges, and they can have lifelong consequences. Before entering a plea, it is imperative that you hire a tough and experienced criminal defense attorney who is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with prosecutors. Attorney Michael Panella has helped hundreds of clients fight criminal charges, and he will work aggressively on your behalf. He will explain your legal options, advise you on your best defense, and negotiate skillfully to achieve the best outcome possible. To get your defense started, call Panella Law Firm at 407-233-1822.

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