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Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Expunged In California?


Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerDomestic violence cases are frequently prosecuted in California Criminal Courts. When the police are called to a “domestic dispute,” many agencies have a protocol that requires them to make an arrest, even if the victim doesn’t want them to. If found guilty, you might want to clear this off your record later. When you get in trouble for domestic violence, the penalties can be tough. The seriousness of these cases can vary a lot. It could be from severe injuries to no injuries. But, usually one person gets arrested and might be charged with a serious felony crime, and has to pay to get out of jail. But how to get domestic violence off your criminal records.

Can You Get A DV Expunged?

There’s a way to remove domestic violence conviction from your criminal records, called expungement, but it’s tricky with domestic violence. A skilled domestic violence defense lawyer can look at your case and guide you. It’s good to learn the basics of how expungement works in California for such cases.

How To Expunge A Domestic Violence Charge in California

In general, many misdemeanor crimes, including misdemeanor domestic violence charges, can be expunged. However, there are some situations where expungement may be denied. For example, if the defendant has violated probation or has a history of repeated offenses, the judge may refuse to expunge the charge. Expungement is also not possible if the defendant is currently on probation for another crime.

Furthermore, certain domestic violence charges may not be eligible for expungement, especially if the crime was originally classified as a felony crime. In such cases, the charge would first need to be reduced to a misdemeanor, which is sometimes possible under PC 17(b) or other means. That’s why it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in California who can examine the specifics of your case and provide guidance on whether expungement is a viable option.


Prosecution agencies aggressively pursue convictions in domestic violence cases, although the situation was even worse in the 1990s. Many people have agreed to settle their cases resulting in convictions for domestic violence offenses, also known as “DV,” without fully understanding the potential long-term consequences such a conviction can have. It’s important to be aware of the potential problems associated with a domestic violence conviction and to seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney before making any decisions.

In domestic violence cases, it is common for the defendant to be placed on three years of probation. They may also be required to pay fines, provide restitution to the victim, and attend a 52-week anger management class.

Under What Penal Codes Can Domestic Violence Be Charged in California?

In California, domestic violence can be charged under various sections of the state’s Penal Code. The legal landscape surrounding domestic violence is complex, and the charges can vary depending on the specifics of the case, such as the nature of the relationship between the parties involved, the severity of the violence, and whether there are any prior convictions. Here are some of the key sections of the California Penal Code under which domestic violence can be charged:

  • Penal Code Section 243(e)(1): This section pertains to domestic battery, which is the least serious form of domestic violence. It involves any willful and unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive and is committed against a spouse, cohabitant, parent, or dating partner.
  • Penal Code Section 273.5: This is the code for corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. It involves intentionally inflicting a “corporal injury” resulting in a “traumatic condition.” This is generally considered a more serious offense than domestic battery.
  • Penal Code Section 422: Criminal threats can also be charged as a form of domestic violence if the threat is made against a domestic partner.
  • Penal Code Section 646.9: This section is for stalking, which can be charged if someone intentionally and repeatedly follows or harasses another person, and makes a credible threat against them with the intent to place them in reasonable fear for their safety, or the safety of their immediate family.
  • Penal Code Section 273d: This section pertains to child abuse, which can be considered a form of domestic violence when it occurs within a family or household.
  • Penal Code Section 368: Elder abuse can also be considered a form of domestic violence when it occurs within a family or household.
  • Penal Code Section 207, 208, 209: These sections pertain to kidnapping, which can also be charged as a form of domestic violence if the victim is a domestic partner.
  • Penal Code Section 261: Rape can also be a form of domestic violence if committed against a spouse or domestic partner.

Consult with a legal expert to understand the full scope and implications of these laws, as well as any defenses that may be available in a specific case. The judge and jury will consider the specifics of the case, the evidence presented, and the applicable laws before making a determination on charges and sentencing.

Domestic Violence Expungement Process

In California, if you’re looking to expunge a domestic violence charge from your record, here’s how the process generally works:

  • First, you’ll need to file a petition under California Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC, and pay the associated filing fee.
  • Then, you’ll go to court and stand before the same judge who handled your original domestic violence case.
  • At this point, your criminal defense attorney will present arguments on why your record should be expunged. Keep in mind that the prosecution also has the opportunity to file a motion opposing your expungement.
  • Finally, the judge will weigh all the evidence and arguments before making the ultimate decision on whether or not to grant your expungement.

What Happens After Expungement

After your criminal record is expunged, it’s important to know that some limitations will still apply. Primarily, you’ll face two key restrictions. First, you won’t be allowed to own or possess firearms for a decade. Second, if you’re not a U.S. citizen and are at risk of being deported due to domestic violence charges, having your record expunged won’t help you in fighting removal proceedings.

Learn about the upcoming changes to California’s expungement law in 2023 in our new blog post.


Free Consultation With Los Angeles Expungement Attorney Call (866) 713-2159

Before you dive into the expungement process, it’s important to know if you’re even eligible for it. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can help with this. They’ll go over the specifics of your case to see if you qualify and, if you do, they’ll guide you through the process of filing a motion for a hearing.

At this hearing, the judge who handled your sentencing will hear you out on why you believe your record should be wiped clean. If you make a strong enough case, the judge might grant your request for expungement. But remember, it’s up to you to convince the judge that you genuinely need this fresh start.

If you’re looking for expert guidance, consider reaching out to Cyrus Tabibnia, an expungement attorney at Tabibnia Law Firm. With years of experience in criminal defense and expungement cases, Cyrus can help you navigate the legal maze and improve your chances of starting anew. Don’t wait, contact Tabibnia Law Firm today for a consultation: 866-713-2159

Tabibnia Law Firm is serving its clients throughout Southern California including Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Orange County, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, Ventura county, Riverside County, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Monterey Park, La Puente, Van Nuys, Pomona, Manhattan Beach, West Covina, Whittier, Downey, Woodland Hills, Norwalk, Torrance, Redondo Beach, San Bernardino, Walnut Creek, Inglewood, Lancaster, Westlake Village and nearby areas.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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