The consequences of an Oklahoma domestic assault and battery charge can be far-reaching. In some cases, a conviction could result in you being terminated from your current employment or experiencing difficulty finding a new position.
How a Conviction Could Affect Your Employment
If you are currently employed, you will need to refer to your employee handbook to determine whether a conviction related to domestic violence would be considered grounds for termination. Domestic assault and battery cases typically fall under the more general category of “crimes of moral turpitude.”
Oklahoma is considered an “employment-at-will” state. This means either you or your employer are free to end your relationship at any time, as long as you’re not being fired for a reason that violates established discrimination laws.
If you’re not currently employed or plan to be looking for a new job soon, you can expect a more complicated job search. A domestic assault and battery conviction will show up on a background check for the rest of your life. Studies estimate that up to 90 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks on job applicants. Some are only looking for recent felony convictions, but certain industries are known to be very strict when it comes to hiring applicants and may reject an applicant with a misdemeanor conviction that is several years in the past. Large companies are most likely to have formal policies stating which convictions automatically disqualify an applicant, while smaller businesses may give applicants a chance to explain their situation.
If you are convicted of domestic assault and battery, you are most likely to have problems seeking the following types of positions:
- Any job involving children, such as working at a school, childcare facility, or place frequented by children
- Jobs involving caring for people who are elderly or disabled
- Jobs that require you to own or use a gun, such as working in law enforcement or serving in the military
- Jobs where you are serving as the “public face” of a company and your personal conduct would reflect badly on their reputation
If your job requires a professional license, you might experience problems getting your license renewed, be required to surrender a currently valid license, or be subject to disciplinary action. You will need to refer to the board that issued your license for details.
Expungement Won’t Necessarily Solve Your Problems
Expungement is a legal process that formally seals portions of your criminal record from public view. This can make it easier to find or maintain employment, but there are strict criteria used to determine what records are eligible for expungement under Oklahoma law. For example:
- If you were arrested but never charged with a misdemeanor offense, your record can be expunged after three years.
- If you were charged with a misdemeanor and received a deferred sentence, you must wait until one year after the deferred sentence has passed.
- If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, received a fine of $500 or less, and no jail time, you are eligible for immediate expungement as long as you have no felony convictions and no other pending charges.
- If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, sentenced to a fine greater than $500, jail time, or a suspended sentence, you are eligible for expungement five years after completion of the sentence.
Felony convictions are either difficult or impossible to expunge. A charge with no conviction may be eligible for expungement, however.
You Need Effective Legal Representation
If you are facing domestic assault and battery charges, immediate action is necessary to protect your professional reputation and your legal rights. First, request a copy of our free guide, Domestic Violence Charges in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know, to learn how charges are prosecuted and what steps you must take to build a strong defense. Then, contact an experienced attorney who understands the specific challenges you’re facing.
As the only private attorney in Oklahoma to focus his law practice on defending individuals accused of domestic abuse and other special victim crimes, Lee Berlin is committed to helping his clients aggressively defend themselves in court so they can minimize the negative impact of a charge on their professional reputation. Contact The Berlin Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.