New Orleans Criminal Defense
And Personal Injury Lawyer

Frequently Asked

Questions

Traffic Ticket FAQsExpungement FAQs

Traffic Ticket FAQs

I Am Guilty. Why Shouldn't I Just Pay The Ticket?

You should never pay a ticket without consulting with a lawyer at Crescent City Law, L.L.C. first. When you simply pay the fine associated with the ticket online in has the effect of pleading guilty to a traffic offense and, as a result of your guilty plea, the ticket will be reported negatively to your insurance and your driving record.

I Am Guilty. Why Shouldn't I Just Take Defensive Driving (The Driver Safety Course)?

Louisiana does not permit defendants to take a defensive driving course in order to avoid the negative consequences associated with a traffic ticket. If you take a defensive driving class, it does not guarantee the ticket will be dismissed or reduced by the prosecution.

I Am Guilty. How Can You Get Me Off?

At Crescent City Law, L.L.C., we’ve fought 1000s of tickets and that experience has helped us learn the mistakes police make when they write tickets. While police look at you as just another speeder, we consider you a client and our friend. We fight to get our friend’s tickets dismissed or reduced to save you money, time, and keep your insurance low.

There Is A Warrant For My Arrest. Can You Help Me?

Yes and without turning yourself into jail. When a warrant is issued for your arrest, the law usually only requires you or someone on your behalf to appear before the court to answer for the warrant. When you hire Crescent City Law, we appear before the court for you and ask the judge to recall the warrant for your arrest.

How Much Does It Cost For Your Services, And How Can I Pay You?

Our fees vary by location and severity of offense. It is difficult to quote an exact fee without some more information from you about your case, but in general our attorneys’ fees are between $200-$250.00 for a traffic ticket. We currently accept payment by cash, checks, certified checks, credit/debit cards, Venmo, Square, Square Cash, Paypal, and Zelle.

Is It Necessary That We Meet?

In most cases, it is not necessary to meet to discuss your case in person, but we like to engage in a conversation with you about your case by e-mail, text, telephone, or in person so we can develop a mutual relationship of trust and confidence. Our office is conveniently located near the corner of Tulane & Broad Avenues in New Orleans. If you are unable to come to our office, we can make appointments to meet outside of the office when necessary.

Once A Decision Is Reached, Will I Be Able To Make The Payment Online Through The Cities Website Or Do You Facilitate The Payment?

Yes, tickets can be paid online using the city’s website, traffic.nola.gov. A minimum payment of $50.00/month is due.

Is There Anything Additional I Need To Do Or Expect Moving Forward?

If there is anything else we need from you, one of our staff will reach out to you with specific questions about your case.

What Time Frame Can I Anticipate And How Will My Reinstatement Letter Be Issued, Via Certified Mail, Standard, Or Electronically?

The current policy in New Orleans is for reinstatement letter to be issued after the ticket is paid. Some judges will issue the reinstatement letter sooner by request, but that is not a guarantee. Generally, a reinstatement letter costs an additional $25.00.

When My Reinstatement Does Finalize, Does This Mean That Louisiana Would Reissue My Drivers License Or Would They Just Remove The Suspension So That I Can Proceed With Getting My License In The State I Live Now?

Every state is different so I can only advise you based on my experience with Louisiana law. When you receive the reinstatement letter, you are supposed to submit it to the Louisiana DMV and pay any reinstatement fees due to the DMV. The DMV will remove the hold from your license for that matter and if you have a Louisiana driver’s license, they could reinstate your license/allow you to get a new license. If you have a license in another state, then you will probably need Louisiana’s DMV to fax/mail/email you something showing your license has cleared which you can then bring to your home-state’s DMV. While this is all supposed to be done electronically through the Interstate Driving Compact, I would not rely on any DMV (and especially multiple DMVs) to do this process correctly.

Why Should I Hire Crescent City Law Firm Instead Of Representing Myself For A Ticket?

There are several reasons why you should hire a lawyer to represent you

  • Hiring us will save you time: An average traffic ticket will require you to make at least 2 to 3 court appearances and will take about 2.5 hours to fight from start to finish. Can you afford to take that much time off of work or away from your other responsibilities?
  • We work with the prosecutors 5 days a week: We’ve built a strong relationship with the district attorneys and city attorney who make the decisions about whether to give you a break on your ticket. Sometimes we are able to get the tickets dismissed or reduced simply by asking, but that’s not a guarantee.
  • We know the law: If we can’t get negotiate a resolution of the ticket, we routinely file motions to quash to win on a technicality or take traffic tickets to trial to test the sufficiency of the evidence.
  • We will save you money: Did you know that an average citationwill cost you between $150-$600.00 in court costs, fines, and fees, and if you are convicted of a moving violation, your insurance company can raise your rates for 7 years? We did. We do everything we can to keep tickets off your driving record.
  • We save most of our clients about $175.00 in court costs, fines, and fees.

I Am A Teenager. Can You Help Me And Keep My Parents Out Of It?

Yes and No. When you consult an attorney everything we discuss is privileged and confidential. We are not permitted to discuss your case with anyone other than you except with your permission However, your parents may learn about the ticket in other ways which are not part of our attorney-client relationship. For example, if you pay us with a credit card that your parents have access to.

I Have A Ticket In A Remote County Or Out Of State. Can You Help Me?

The attorneys at Crescent City Law, L.L.C. are only licensed in Louisiana. We cannot provide legal assistance for cases outside of Louisiana. If you have a ticket in another state, we suggest you contact an attorney licensed in that state.

Do I Need To Appear In Court?

In Louisiana, it is possible to waive someone’s appearance at all phases of a misdemeanor and traffic case except for sentencing after a trial which results in a conviction.

Is There A Money Back Guarantee?

No. Our attorneys agree to use their best efforts in representing clients in their matters. However, client acknowledges that attorney cannot give and has not given any assurances regarding the outcome of this matter. There are no guarantees.

Do I Only Pay If The Ticket Is Dismissed?

No, our attorneys’ fees are charged before we begin to do work on the case and earned while we work on the case. If your ticket is not dismissed, you are still responsible to pay the agreed upon attorney fee for our work.

I Missed My Hearing Date, Can Anything Be Done?

Yes, our attorneys can go to court even after your court date to get your a court date, ask for the contempt of court fine to be waived, the warrant for your arrest recalled, and to continue to fight your case.

Something Is Incorrect Or Misspelled On My Ticket. Does That Increase The Chances Of My Ticket Being Dismissed?

While this is possible in other states, Louisiana law does not usually require a ticket to be dismissed when a name is misspelled or address incorrectly written. Louisiana law actually allows the prosecutor to fix the mistakes and re-file the ticket, if necessary.

Will Mistakes On My Ticket Automatically Dismiss My Ticket?

No. Louisiana law actually allows the prosecutor to fix the mistakes and re-file the ticket, if necessary.

What Is A Criminal Traffic Charge?

A criminal traffic charge is a violation that has the possible penalty of jail time. Some examples of criminal traffic charges are Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Reckless Driving, Hit & Run Driving, or, in rare cases, excessive speeding. In Louisiana, most traffic tickets are legally considered misdemeanors, but jail time is not permitted as a penalty for the commission of most traffic tickets.

What Is A Civil Traffic Infraction?

A civil traffic infraction is a traffic violation which does not have the possibility of jail time as part of the penalty. For example, failing to wear your seat belt has only a fine of $70.00.

What Happens If I Ignore The Ticket?

The longer you ignore a ticket, the more serious the consequences become. If you receive a ticket and do not appear in court or hire a lawyer to represent you in court, then the court will usually issue a contempt of court fine for failure to appear. If you continue to ignore the ticket and the court, the court is likely to issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear. If you are not arrested and continue to ignore the ticket, the court will file a “301 letter” with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV/DMV), which will ask for your driving privileges to be suspended. If you license remains suspended at the time you seek to renew your insurance, your insurance may not issue you a policy. If your insurance lapses, the Office of Motor Vehicles will issue a civil fine and prohibit you from renewing your license plate. In the worst of the worst cases, ignoring a ticket can cost you THOUSANDS of dollars in court costs, fines, fees, and legal fees.

If I Prove My Speedometer Was Defective, Can I Win My Case?

Probably not. A defective speedometer is a factual defense at a trial. At the trial, the police officer would likely testify the reason they pulled you over is because you were speeding. You could take the stand and explain to the judge your speedometer was broken and did not know how fast you were going. It is likely the court would convict you of speeding based upon the officer’s testimony and some kind of an equipment violation because of your testimonial admission to a broken speedometer.

Can A Police Officer Issue A Traffic Ticket Outside His Jurisdiction?

Sometimes.

  • A police officer can issue a ticket in a jurisdiction outside his own if the offense took place in his jurisdiction.
    Example: If you speed in New Orleans and drive into Jefferson Parish before the NOPD officer pulls you over, the New Orleans Traffic Ticket would be appropriate.
  • Alternatively, many police officers have been deputized for more than one jurisdiction
    Example: If you speed in Metairie, Louisiana, and are pulled over by a NOPD officer who is deputized in in Jefferson Parish, then the Jefferson Parish ticket would be within the officer’s jurisdiction.

What Types Of Traffic Violations Are Worth Fighting?

All traffic tickets are worth fighting because of the potential negative consequences associated with a conviction or guilty plea.

Expungement FAQs

What Exactly Is An “Expungement” In Louisiana?

La. Code of Criminal Procedure Article 972 defines 3 different kinds of expungements:

  • (1) “Expunge a record” means to remove a record of arrest or conviction, photographs, fingerprints, disposition, or any other information of any kind from public access pursuant to the provisions of this Title.  “Expunge a record” does not mean destruction of the record.
    Most of the cases we do fall into this category
  • (2)  “Expungement by redaction” provides for the expungement of records of a person who is arrested or convicted with other persons who are not entitled to expungement and involves the removal of the name or any other identifying information of the person entitled to the expungement and otherwise retains the records of the incident as they relate to the other persons.
    I have only done a handful of these.  Basically, people come to me for an expungement, but their co-defendant’s record is not expunged.  We expunge my client’s information, but the case is still ‘searchable’ for the other co-defendants.
  • (3)  “Interim expungement” means to expunge a felony arrest from the criminal history of a person who was convicted of a misdemeanor offense arising out of the original felony arrest.  Only the original felony arrest may be expunged in an interim expungement.
    I have only had one of these.  It was a sex offense. The State Police/Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information believes these practically the same effect as a full expungement.
  • (4)  “Records” includes any incident reports, photographs, fingerprints, disposition, or any other such information of any kind in relation to a single arrest event in the possession of the clerk of court, any criminal justice agency, and local and state law enforcement agencies but shall not include DNA records.

Is An Expungement The Same As An “Article 893/894” Or Deferred Sentence?

No.

  • Articles 893 and 894 are used to defer the imposition of the sentence and conviction so that upon successful completion of the deferred sentence, the defendant will be eligible to have their conviction set aside and case dismissed at the conclusion their deferred sentence. 
  • Once the conviction is set aside and the case dismissed, the person is legally “unconvicted” so they can file for an expungement immediately
  • A deferred sentence is a term used to define a sentence deferred sentence under 893/894.  A suspended sentence is actually a jail sentence that is suspended so the person doesn’t go to jail and gets probation.

These little distinctions can be used to determine whether you’re eligible for an expungement.

Is An Expungement The Same As A “First Offender’s Pardon”?

No.  Louisiana used to provide first time offenders with a pardon at the completion of their sentence to jail or probationary period.  These are still produced by the Department of Corrections because the law that authorized them is still on the books.

 The legislature intended to do away with “first offender pardons” with the creation of 893/894, but some parts of the old law are still active.

  • People who have a first offender pardon are always eligible for expungements.

What If I Pleaded “No Contest” Or Nolo Contendere?

No contest/nolo contendere is a form of plea that allows the case to close without admitting guilt to the offense.  This is sometimes referred to as an “Alford Plea” (North Carolina v. Alford) or a best interest plea

  • For example, if a person is accused of disturbing the peace, they may plead no contest because they are not guilty of the offense, but simply don’t want to continue to fight it in court for personal reason
  • A person may also plead no contest if they do not feel they committed the offense, but are offered a plea deal (offer) that is too good to refuse. An example of this would be someone who is in custody because they cannot make bond and they are offered a sentence to either probation or credit for time service (CTS), and they choose to plead to get out of jail. Some people do this because they want to be present (ie, not in jail) for major life events, like the birth of a child.

What If I Was Arrested For A Crime, But The Charge Was Dismissed? Is That On My Record, Even Though It Was Dismissed?

As soon as you are booked into jail, your record is reported to the Louisiana State Police’s Bureau of Identification and Information.  At some point thereafter, the information is automatically reported to the FBI National Criminal Information Center (NCIC). This happens automatically for every person who is booked into jail because that how the computers ‘share’ the information.

  • If the person is arrested, but not convicted (dismissal, refusal, not guilty verdict), the arrest record can be expunged.
  • Whenever a person is arrested, the police turn their police report (file) over to the prosecuting authority (District Attorney).  The district attorney screens (reviews) the case to determine whether it is appropriate to file a charge against the suspect.
  • If the DA reviews the file and determines a charge is not appropriate, the DA can ‘refuse’ to accept charges.
    This will result in the charges being dismissed
  • Diversion: If the DA reviews the case and feels there is a strong case, they may submit the person to diversion for the purpose of rehabilitating them  (to prevent repeat offenses) without convicting them.
    Successful completion of diversion usually results in a dismissal and the person is eligible for an expungement
  • If the DA reviews the file and determines a charge is appropriate, the DA can ‘accept’ the charge by filing a bill of information or taking the case to a grand jury to obtain an indictment. When a grand jury does not indict you for a crime, it has the effect of dismissal and you’re eligible for file for an expungement immediately in most cases.
    This usually ends with a refusal and the record can be expunged at this point
  • If the DA accepts charges by bill of information or the grand jury returns an indictment, then a case is filed with court.
    It is always possible that a case can be dismissed AFTER the filing in court for a number of reasons
    • The case falls apart
    • The suspect presents evidence of their innocence
    • The person participates in diversion and their case is dismissed

Why Would I Want An Expungement?

The list goes on forever, but most people file for expungement for:

  • Jobs/employment
  • School
  • Peace of mind
  • Sometimes to receive a public assistance (public housing, loans, grants, etc)
  • Immigration status issues
    I recommend you consult an immigration attorney to determine how an expungement will benefit your immigration case
  • Expungements in Louisiana do not (typically) restore gun rights

Who Can Get An Expungement?

Under the most recent version of the law, most people are eligible for an expungement of their conviction and arrest records.

Can Federal Arrest And Conviction Records Be Expunged?

Not currently.  Crescent City Law ONLY expunges State records.

  • A Louisiana State judge can only order Louisiana State agencies to expunge Louisiana State Records
  • The Feds will always have access to records expunged by State judges

Can All Louisiana Criminal Convictions Be Expunged?

No:

  • Distribution, Manufacture, and sale of drugs
  • Any violence offense listed in La. R.S. 14:2: http://legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78337
  • Most sex offenses (most of them are listed in 14:2)
  • The law is based on when you file the expungement, not when the conviction happened

Are There Any People, State Agencies, Or Boards That Will Still Be Able To See My Record After I Expunge It?

Yes, generally:

State licensing boards for professions/fiduciaries:

  • Any law enforcement agency (when they’re arresting/pulling you over) Mostly for safety reasons
  • Criminal justice agencies
  • Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
  • Louisiana State Board of Nursing
  • Louisiana State Board of Dentistry
  • Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
  • Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners
  • Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
  • Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission
  • Office of Disciplinary Counsel (lawyers)
  • Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions (law students)
  • Any person or entity requesting a record of all criminal arrests and convictions pursuant to La R.S. 15:587.1 which deals with job positions where the employee is in a supervisory or disciplinary role of authority over children.

How Long Do I Have To Wait To Apply For An Expungement If I Was Arrested But Never Prosecuted?

The law provides that you cannot obtain an expungement until the period for which prosecution can be instituted has lapsed

  • This period varies by type of case from 2-6 years, and in some cases life
    *I have never seen this challenged in any expungement I’ve filed

How Long After My Conviction Do I Have To Wait To Ask For An Expungement?

The law provides that you cannot obtain an expungement until the period for which prosecution can be instituted has lapsed

  • Dismissal/refuse/diversion/not guilty: immediately.
    • Also: FREE/no court costs!
  • If you plead under article 893/894: immediately after successful/satisfactory completion of probation, including the payment of fines, fees, and court costs, and any special conditions of probation.
  • If you are convicted of a misdemeanor (not under 894), typically 5 years
    • For misdemeanors only, you can file to have your sentence amended to a 894 plea if you successfully completed probation in order to become eligible for an expungement sooner
  • If you are convicted of a felony (not under 893), typically 10 years. Recent amendments to the law suggest that you may become eligible after 5 years.
    I have not tested this yet and I do not believe that was the intent of the legislature.

Once I Get My Expungement, How Long Will It Take Private Background Check Companies To Delete Or Stop Reporting My Information?

  • Once your expungement is granted AND 3rd parties receive notice of the order granting your expungement, they are prohibited from sharing your expunged record.
  • Generally, I tell people to wait an addition 60 days after the order is granted.  Things take time. If a 3rd party discloses an expunged record, civil action can be filed against them. Although, the likelihood of recovery in this suit is very low.

How Much Does An Expungement Cost?

  • A typical expungement costs $550.00 in court costs
  • A DWI expungement will cost about $650.00 in court costs
  • A separate Background check no older than 60 days must be filed with every expungement.  Each background check costs between $5-$50.00.
    • You might be able to save money by copying your background check for multiple expungements, but the law requires an original background check.
    • When you hire me to file your expungement, I file a separate original background check for each case because I follow the law and $50 is a small price to pay to avoid any trouble or headaches in your case.

If I Apply For A Job After My Record Is Expunged, How Do I Answer Questions About My Record On A Job Application?

  • It depends on how the question is worded.  Consult an attorney who does expungements if you have questions.
  • Louisiana employers cannot ask about criminal records in job applications, but they can ask during an interview. Consult an attorney.

If I get my record expunged, are there situations where I would still have to disclose an expunged criminal record?

  •  Yes. See above question “If I Apply For A Job After My Record Is Expunged, How Do I Answer Questions About My Record On A Job Application?” for more information on who can still see them. Consult an attorney.
  • No. See above.

Will I Get My Filing Fees Back If My Expungement Is Not Granted?

No.  The court costs and filing fees for an expungement are not refundable

*In at least 2 cases I received the court costs and filing fees back.  I suspect the clerk’s office made a mistake.

Will I Get My Attorneys’ Fees Back If My Expungement Is Not Granted?

No.

  • My client agreement provides, “Attorney agrees to use his best efforts in representing Client in this Matter.  However, Client acknowledges that Attorney cannot give and has not given any assurances regarding the outcome of this matter.”
  • No lawyer can guarantee anything. It is unethical for lawyers to guarantee results.

I Have Very Low Income. Can I Have The Court Costs And Processing Fees Waived?

No.

At Crescent City Law, we understand some of our clients have limited funds to pay their attorneys’ fees.  We are always willing to work with you set up a payment plan using a credit card.

Louisiana Law recognizes there are those who cannot afford to pay court costs.  A recent amendment to the law allows people of modest means to apply with the court to have their court costs waived and litigate their case as a “pauper”.  For more information follow this link: Privilege of litigating without prior payment of costs

Do I Have To Hire A Lawyer To Get An Expungement?

No, but you should because I know what I am doing.

I Have Very Low Income. Will The Court Appoint Me A Lawyer To Help Get An Expungement?

No.  An expungement is not part of the ‘prosecution’ of your case so you are not eligible for an lawyer to be appointed to represent you.

It is a choice to get your record expunged, not a obligation to answer the charges and defend yourself

How Long Does The Whole Expungement Process Take?

An average expungement takes between 4-6 months.

Some take longer. Some can be a little less. They are never FAST.

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