How an Attorney Can Assist in Expunging a Criminal Drug Case

If you have been convicted of a drug crime in New Orleans, Orleans Parish or Louisiana, you should consider hiring a criminal attorney with extensive drug crime experience if you want to try to have your drug conviction expunged. Not everyone is eligible, but if you or your attorney determine that you are eligible, it is a great idea to move forward.  The reason a lawyer might be a good idea is because expunging records is a technical and time consuming process. There is paperwork, court fees, appearances, and more procedures that can confuse or intimidate many non-lawyers.

What Is An Expungement and What Happens to My Records?

To understand whether your drug conviction is eligible to be expunged, let’s be clear about what the term “expunge” means. An expungement is the process of legally destroying and eliminating records and information in files, computers and other medians relating to your criminal charge. Although the records and such are being legally destroyed, your drug conviction doesn’t just “disappear.”

What happens to your criminal records if they are ordered to be expunged?

I usually explain expungements to potential clients this way: Imagine a completely black chalk board.  That was you before you were arrested or convicted.  Now, your black board has arrests, pleas of not-guilty, and convictions written on it.  When you have your record expunged it will still look dusty like an black board does after it is erased.  Some employers may be able to see there was once writing on the black board, but they can’t tell what it was, while other employers won’t be able to see anything after your record has been expunged under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 894, La.C.Cr.P. 893, and La. R.S. 44:9. If you are, or were, a juvenile when you committed the crime, and your conviction is to be expunged, it should be destroyed. In the event it is not destroyed, the records are held, but never revealed. Only a court can order to open the records.

  • Juveniles convicted of a criminal drug charge can have their court records such as exhibits, pleadings, minute entries and reports can all be expunged. If you are an adult at the time of the conviction, your drug criminal records may be expunged if you were not found guilty. An expungement may mean to remove the records from the public’s access, but it does not mean that your records are to be destroyed.
  • Adults convicted of criminal drug charges in New Orleans are eligible to have all law enforcement and agency records such as the record of arrest and other information expunged if ordered to. Depending on whether you are convicted for a misdemeanor or a felony, there are specific records that can be ordered expunged.

Am I Eligible for a Drug Conviction Expungement: Juveniles & Adults?

Juveniles

If you or someone you know is a juvenile over 17 years old, you may have your criminal charges expunged if the charges did not result in adjudication. This means your drug charges can be expunged if the judge does not review evidence or argumentation set forth by the litigants.  Additionally, in Louisiana,  juveniles can have their drug charges expunged if they meet the following criteria: if a misdemeanor, two or more years have passed since the convicted person has completed the most recent judgement against him or her; if a felony, adjudication was not murder, manslaughter, a sex crime, kidnapping or armed robbery, five or more years have passed since the convicted person has completed the most recent judgement against him or her, the convicted person has no criminal court felony convictions or misdemeanors involving a weapon, the person has no outstanding indictment or bill of information charging him or her.

Adults

If you or someone you know is an adult convicted of a drug crime in Orleans Parish, the convicted person’s records may be expunged if: the time limitation for initiating prosecution has expired or if prosecution has been instituted and these proceedings have been disposed of by dismissal, sustained of a motion to quash or acquitted. If you have been arrested for a felony drug charge, you may request expungement if the prosecutor declines to prosecute, or the prosecution has been instituted and these proceedings have been disposed of, sustained of a motion to quash or acquitted.

Changes to the Law in Louisiana for Expungements

In June 2014, Gov. Jindal signed a comprehensive new law that created uniformity for expungments through Louisiana.  In response to the new law, Crescent City Law wrote a new blog to provide you with updated information.  For updated information, please visit that blog: New Expungement Laws in Louisiana.

How Do I Get My Drug Crime Records Expunged?

As you can see, there are a number of different laws that protect Louisiana citizens from forever blemishing their records. The laws can be intricate and hiring a criminal lawyer to help you with your drug conviction is a wise choice. You must have a motion for expungement in writing or filing a motion with the court where the violation was prosecuted. Some courts require fees, while others may not. If you have any questions about having your drug crime records expunged in New Orleans, please feel free to Contact Me by phone or e-mail. I am happy to help you and offer free consultation.