Interviewer: Would a Domestic Violence charge stop them from being hired somewhere?
Paul Tafelski: That’s a good question. This is part of the reason why my advice to people is that you do want to take these cases very seriously and you do want to do everything in your power to minimize the damage to you. Many employers will not hire somebody who has been convicted of an assaultive crime, and domestic violence is considered an assaultive crime. Regardless of how minor the incident may have been, if they see that conviction in your record, they’ll just put your resume me in the Do Not Hire pile because they don’t want to hire somebody who has a “history of violence” and then have a turnout where that person commits some type of workplace violence or causes problems of a similar nature. Yeah, definitely a conviction for domestic violence can cause you problems with being hired, especially if you’re looking in some of the more conservative areas like Oakland County and Troy or Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham. A lot of those places are more picky about who they will hire.
Interviewer: Would it ever be possible for someone who’s had a domestic violence charge to get their case expunged or sealed?
Paul Tafelski: Yeah, absolutely. Typically, like I said, if you can get it under a first offender type program, then it’ll usually be dismissed at the end of probation term and they will not have a conviction on their record because it was legally dismissed. On the other hand, if you did have the conviction on your record and it was the only thing on your record, then five years after your sentencing you’d be eligible to petition the court for an expunction to try and have that obliterated from your record. There are a couple of ways to end up with it off of your record.
Sometimes, too, we’ve been able to negotiate a plea bargain whereby they might plead guilty to domestic violence, but then if they complete probation it gets reduced to some other charge like disorderly conduct or something that at least has less of a stigma or an impact upon your employability.
Terminology Used in Domestic Violence Cases.
Interviewer: With regard to terminology, obviously you have different terms being used, like domestic violence and then I hear domestic battery and family violence. Are all of those pretty much the same thing?
Paul Tafelski: Yeah, they’re pretty much the same thing. It’s funny because, like I told you, domestic violence is really just an assault and battery with a domestic element to it, and yet most people would probably, if they have the choice, have their conviction say assault and battery and not have it say domestic violence because there is just a worse stereotype that goes along with that. Here in Michigan, the crimes are mostly couched under the domestic violence term rather than family violence and things like that.