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Domestic violence charges become eligible for expungement

When you are the victim of domestic abuse, the last thing you want to happen is for your abuser to get off scott-free after you worked so hard to get him or her punished for what he or she did to you. While domestic violence crimes can receive criminal punishments, a new law that goes into effect in 2017 will make it possible for some people who are convicted of domestic violence to have their record expunged.

The new law sets time requirements for convictions that can be expunged. The clock for the time requirement starts the day that the person completes his or her sentence. This can be parole, probation, incarceration or other sentences.

In the case of domestic violence, it will be possible for a person convicted of this charge to petition to have the conviction expunged 15 years after he or she completes the sentence. During those 15 years, he or she will have to remain out of trouble with the law.

This new law is likely to have some people who take a stand against an abuser rather upset. One thing to note that might help a little is that the waiting period for domestic violence is longer than some other crimes. Other convictions have a 10-year waiting period.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, don't let this law stop you from taking action. You need to take the legal steps to get away from your abuser. You also need to take steps to ensure that you are protected. If your case involves your abuser facing criminal charges, cooperating with the prosecution is one way you can get closure for yourself. Even if the person does get the record expunged, he or she has to deal with it on his or her criminal record for at least 15 years plus the time of his or her sentence.

Source: Herald-Mail Media, "New law allows more Md. criminal records to be wiped clean," Don Aines, accessed Sep. 19, 2016

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