Domestic Violence arrests are up. They have been rising for about 20 years. Not because man has decided to batter his wife more – because the legal definition has been expanded. Two siblings that get in a fight (say age 8 and 10) are now committing domestic violence. What use to be Spouse Abuse is now generically called domestic violence and that can include siblings, parent and child, ex-lovers, and even roommates. But that is not the worst of it. Get arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and you immediately lose your Second Amendment right to bear arms. Poof – like that.
Most Domestic Violence Arrests Result in Dropped Charges
There is good news. Probably over (way over) 75% of domestic violence arrests result in the State Attorney dropping the charges. Sounds great but the problem with arrests is that even if the charges are dropped they stay on your background. I call this the Domestic Violence Trap Door. This means when you apply for a job, apartment, or want to volunteer, the odds are that this arrest will show up.
Dropped Charges Remain on Your Record – The Domestic Violence Trap Door
You must remember that your record is one of arrests not convictions. This means that, even if the case is dropped or you are acquitted after a trial, you still have a record of the arrest. These records are public – anyone can looked them up on the Clerk of Court’s website.
Background Checks Show Dropped Charges
Today, just about everything we want to do requires a background check. We don’t want people to see charges that were dropped or dismissed. We shouldn’t be punished for things we have never be found guilty of – should we?
Expunge Your Domestic Violence Arrest
Florida law allows for anyone who has been arrested but had the charges dropped, dismissed, or not even filed on, to have that arrest expunged (so long as that person has never been convicted of a criminal offense). An acquittal can be sealed.
An expunged or sealed record removes the arrest from all government agencies including the Clerk of Court, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorneys Office, and the Sheriff and arresting agency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also makes such information confidential from the public.
Find out more information on my website about expungement (and sealings), how to qualify, how much it costs, and other questions and answers. Don’t let a domestic violence charge punish you for life. Have it expunged today.
Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.
If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.
Eric Dirga has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located online in Orlando, FL. He provides representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.