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A Second Chance: Record Expungement in Louisiana

An arrest or conviction of a crime can follow you for years. Convictions of certain crimes can limit your ability to obtain a job, sign a lease for an apartment, or apply for various types of licenses. However, if you happen to have a criminal background in Louisiana, all hope is not lost. The process of expungement can get certain convictions removed from your record and open up many opportunities that may not have been available previously.

What is expungement?

Expungement are a way to get a clean slate after an arrest or conviction. It begins with by filing an application with court to Order your records hidden from employers and the general public.  While law enforcement officials and State certain agencies may still be able to view your record, expungement can be extremely beneficial for many individuals. Legally, you can even tell people you have not been convicted of a crime.

Many landlords, employers, educational institutions, or lending companies will not accept applicants who have a criminal record, but once your record is expunged, they will no longer have access to your criminal history.  

Opportunities that once seemed impossible will become a reality. Moreover, individuals in your personal circle such as friends, family members, coworkers or members of your community will not be able to view your criminal past.

What offenses are eligible for expungement? 

In contrast to many states, Louisiana allows many types of cases to be expunged. In Louisiana, all misdemeanors charges can be expunged, except convictions for domestic violence battery, stalking, and aggravated flight from a police officer. You are always eligible for an expungement when the charges against you are dismissed.  If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you are eligible for an expungement if 5 or more years have passed since your sentence was successfully completed.

Felonies are a little different, however, in Louisiana most felonies can still be expunged from your record. Under Louisiana law, the only felonies that cannot be expunged are those for violent offenses, sex offenses, crimes against minors, and drug trafficking. Possession of drugs and possession of drugs with intent to distribute are eligible for expungement.

Violent offenses under Louisiana Revised Statute 14:2 are never eligible for an expungement. Such offenses include, extortion, carjacking, certain robbery and burglary offenses, arson, and purse snatching. This is not an exhaustive list and it is important to consult a qualified attorney to review your case to determine if your record can be expunged.

Other Rules for Expungements

In addition to the offenses discussed above, there are always exceptions to the general rules.   For example, if you were arrested for a felony, but convicted of a misdemeanor, you can have both the felony arrest expunged and the misdemeanor conviction expunged. Also, a defendant in a multi-defendant case can get an offense expunged even if the other people’s records are not expunged.  

Having your record expunged will open many doors to opportunity and wealth by obscuring these records from public view. While Louisiana takes a relatively expansive approach to expungement, there are many legal stipulations under the law. If you were convicted or pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor or felony and seek to have your arrest or conviction expunged from your criminal record, contact a qualified and experienced lawyer to help you navigate the complex process.

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