How Can I Keep a Domestic Violence Charge Off My Record

How Can I Keep a Domestic Violence Charge Off My Record

Being charged with domestic violence can be frustrating and embarrassing. Convincing a court that a domestic violence charge should be kept off your public criminal record requires the help of an experienced Michigan domestic violence attorney.  One strategy to keep the charge off your criminal record of the accused, but certainly not the only one, could be to use Michigan’s statutory diversion program.

First, it’s important to understand that a domestic violence charge in Michigan is very serious. A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, court fees, probation, a permanent criminal record. In addition, anyone convicted of domestic violence is banned by federal law from possessing and purchasing firearms.

After exhausting other legal defenses and plea negotiations, an experienced Michigan domestic violence attorney will often talk to you about the diversion program provided in MCL 769.4a. The main reason most people enter the diversion program is because it becomes the only way to keep the domestic violence charge of their public criminal record.

So, how do you know if you’re eligible for the diversion program? Eligibility requires that the following conditions be met:

The victim must be:

  1. A spouse or former spouse,
  2. A person you had a child with,
  3. Someone you had a dating relationship with, or;
  4. Someone you live or lived with.

Additionally, (a) you cannot have an assaultive crime on your record already; and (b) you must plead guilty to the domestic violence charge (the court will withhold entering the plea during the time of the diversion program).  Finally, the prosecutor must approve your acceptance into the program after consulting the alleged victim.  This final requirement makes your choice of attorney important because relationships matter.  A productive and professional relationship is important and the prosecutor handling your case must have confidence in the integrity of the lawyer representing you.  Developing these relationships and the reputation behind them is of paramount importance to the lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm, and is one of the reasons we have an excellent track record for obtaining these kinds of plea deals for our clients.

The next question is, usually, what is the diversion program? Think of it as intensive probation specifically for domestic violence. Diversion most often requires one or more of anger management counseling, alcohol and drug testing, alcohol and drug counseling, and family counseling.

If you complete the diversion program without violating its terms, the court will keep the guilty plea under seal. That means that it will not be on your criminal record, you would not have to admit that you’ve ever been found guilty of or plead guilty to the domestic violence charge, and it would still be legal for you to possess and purchase firearms (assuming you are otherwise legally able to possess them).

Again, retaining the best domestic violence attorney to help you with this type of charge is crucial to minimizing the consequences. If you need help with a domestic violence charge, the attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm have been focused on criminal defense for over 30 years and will explore every option at success with you.

Contact Information