A great question was asked of a potential client today, and I thought I would share the answer:

I have been convicted in Washington, DC of violating a Temporary Protection Order. I am currently appealing this. If I loose this on appeal, can after this process I have this conviction sealed or and expunged?

In DC, code section 16-802,16-803, and 16-804 control the answer to your question. For the complete text, go here: Chapter 8 – sealing records. However, your question is tricky because it may (or may not!) involve a criminal matter (that’s what’s covered under 16-802 and 16-803). Not all protective orders are criminal, and some end in civil contempt or an agreement between the parties. As to expungment of a criminal finding, see generally 16-803(c):

(c) A person who has been convicted of an eligible misdemeanor or an eligible felony pursuant to the District of Columbia Official Code or the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations may file a motion to seal the publicly available records of the arrest, related court proceedings, and conviction if:

(1) A waiting period of at least 8 years has elapsed since the completion of the movant’s sentence; and
(2) The movant does not have a disqualifying arrest or conviction.

The waiting period may be jointly waived by the prosecutor (that means you file a motion and the prosecutor agrees to waive the period of waiting), See 16-803(e). This is important! Often a lawyer can get an agreement with the Attorney General’s office to waive the statutory waiting period.

Generally, however, intrafamily violence convictions, and violations of protective orders that relate to family members, cannot be expunged because intrafamily offenses are not eligible misdemeanors. List of ineligible offenses (see 16-801(9)):

  • Intrafamily offense as defined under D.C. Code § 16-1001(8)
  • Driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, or operating while impaired under D.C. Code § 50-2201.05
  • Any misdemeanor offense for which sex offender registration is required under Chapter 40 of Title 22
  • Criminal abuse of a vulnerable adult under D.C. Code § 22-936(a)
  • Interfering with access to a medical facility under D.C. Code § 22-1314.02
  • Possession of a pistol by a convicted felon under D.C. Code § 22-4503(a)(1)
  • Failure to report child abuse under D.C. Code § 4-1321.07
  • Refusal or neglect of guardian to provide for child under 14 years of age under D.C. Code § 22-1102
  • Disorderly conduct (“peeping tom”) under D.C. Code § 22-1321
  • Misdemeanor sexual abuse under D.C. Code § 22-3006
  • Violating the Sexual Offender Registration Act under D.C. Code § 22-4015
  • …. and many others. Each offense will indicate if it is “expungable”

Because you potentially have an intrafamily offense, it may not be possible to get this conviction expunged. I would suggest you call us and discuss the particulars of your case. Many aspect of expungment can be waived if the prosecutor agrees/consents to the filing. That means a good lawyer can make all the difference! Call us at 1-800-579-9864 or 571-572-8567.

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