Facing a domestic violence charge is not something you should take lightly. If convicted, the case will have far-reaching effects on your life, including impacts on where you live, your career, and your family.
That’s because domestic violence will likely show up on a background check.
Depending on the depth of the background check, even domestic violence charges that are dropped will show up on a background check, and you’ll have to explain them to the hiring manager. Domestic violence charges can be misdemeanors or felonies, but even a misdemeanor will show up on a background check during a job search, housing interview, etc.
In this blog, our team of Oklahoma domestic violence defense attorneys at Jacqui Ford Law explains what a domestic violence charge might entail, what you can expect during a case, and the impacts a conviction could have on your daily life.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence can take many forms. Even though it includes the word violence, it does not necessarily mean that you’ve harmed a person physically.
You might be charged with domestic violence if you are accused of any of the following:
- Harming someone
- Assaulting someone
- Stalking someone
- Threatening someone
Additionally, breaching a restraining order can constitute a domestic violence violation. Attempting to control or manipulate someone you live in a domestic relationship with can also be classified as domestic violence.
The following parties can bring about domestic violence charges.
- Spouse/former spouse
- Child/foster child
- Anyone who currently or previously lived with you (i.e., roommate or housemate)
Domestic violence conviction and penalties in Oklahoma
The largest penalties at stake in an Oklahoma domestic violence charge include your career, custody of children, and even your living situation.
But there are other penalties such as fines and jail time, as well.
First-time offenses (where the accused has no history of violence or domestic abuse) are generally classified as misdemeanors in Oklahoma, which could lead to up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
However, subsequent convictions will mean a felony charge and up to four years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Those who have a history of violence could face up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, if you committed domestic violence in the presence of a child, you’ll face more serious charges and a minimum of six months in jail.
Domestic violence against a woman who the accused knows is pregnant will also increase the severity of the situation and will generally be felony charges.
Impacts of domestic violence on background checks
While the pains of the court case, jail time, and fines will be challenging if convicted, the long-term effect comes in the fact that you now have a criminal record.
Anytime someone runs a background check on you, they’ll see your conviction.
Felony charges are much harder to work around – but don’t assume that a misdemeanor charge won’t also have an impact on your ability to find and retain a job. Either way, you’ll likely be barred from working in public employment or in a profession that requires a professional license.
Getting an Oklahoma domestic violence charge expunged
Even if you are convicted of domestic violence in Oklahoma, you still may be able to get your charge expunged. An expungement offers convicted citizens the opportunity to make that conviction go away, clearing the path for better job opportunities, more housing options, and a better future.
Having a criminal conviction “expunged” from your record means that, from that point forward, the court will act as if the conviction never happened. The conviction will be removed from the public view. (Law enforcement may still be able to access your record, however.)
An expungement is different from a legal pardon in that a pardon can be ordered by a public official, “forgiving” the convicted person of their act. In contrast, an expungement is ordered by a judge and the conviction instead disappears, so to speak, from the court system.
Here’s what you can expect about your expungement in an Oklahoma domestic abuse case:
- Arrested but not charged: felony or misdemeanor can be expunged
- Charged, but the case was dismissed: felony or misdemeanor can be expunged
- Convicted with no deferred sentence: only misdemeanor can be expunged
- Convicted with deferred sentenced:felony or misdemeanor can be expunged
Need domestic violence defense in Oklahoma? Contact Jacqui Ford Law
Don’t assume that it’s your word against that of your accuser in a domestic violence case. People are sometimes surprised by convictions because they figure that the accuser doesn’t have adequate proof. Instead, take this valuable time to work with an experienced Oklahoma domestic violence defense attorney to protect your good name. Your attorney will work with you to build your case. Even in cases where a defense attorney cannot avoid all charges for their client, they can often get them decreased to lesser charges to preserve your way of life.
Jacqui Ford Law has extensive experience defending individuals charged with domestic violence. Our legal defense team won’t rest until your case is complete. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.