WHAT IS AN EXPUNGEMENT?
People often talk about getting their records expunged. But what is an expungement and are all crimes eligible to be expunged? If you have questions about expungements keep reading this article. What an expungement is and what crimes qualify for expungement are explained.
An expungement is a civil action which seeks to have a criminal record sealed, making these records unavailable through the State or Federal authorities. Specifically, it is the “Process by which records of a criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository.” See Black’s Law Dictionary
An expungement is not a pardon.
Every state or local jurisdiction may have their own laws governing the scope and procedures concerning expungement. In many places, the records are not removed completely and may be used again in subsequent offenses, sentencing enhancements or other means.
Once you have been arrested a paper trail has begun and regardless of if you are charged or convicted of a crime, you will now have a criminal history. This can have negative consequences on your future regarding your employment opportunities, access to government benefits and parental rights.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO HAVE YOUR RECORD EXPUNGED?
Can I have a Misdemeanor Expunged in Louisiana?
Yes, misdemeanors are eligible for expungement after the prosecution is dismissed, 5 years have passed since you successfully completed your sentence, or the prosecution is set aside under La.C.Cr.Pr. Article 894(b).
ARE THERE ANY MISDEMEANOR CRIMES THAT CAN NOT BE EXPUNGED IN LOUISIANA?
Yes, sex crimes and domestic abuse battery crimes. Click the link for a complete list of violent crimes that can not be expunged. Violent Crimes.
WHAT FELONIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR EXPUNGEMENT UNDER LOUISIANA LAW?
A felony can be expunged after prosecution is dismissed or conviction set aside under L.C.Cr. Procedure Art. 893(E). If you have successfully completed your sentence and 10 years have passed without any other felony charges-pending or convictions-you are eligible for an expungement.
Remember sex crimes, domestic abuse or domestic violence are not eligible for expungement nor crimes against a minor under 17, nor crimes of violence as defined by La.R.S. 14.2(B) nor convictions for distribution or manufacture of any drug or controlled substance. Click the link to see a list of violent crimes as defined by the State of Louisiana and can not be expunged. Violent Crimes.
YOU HAVE RECEIVED A FIRST OFFENDER PARDON, IS THIS AN EXPUNGEMENT?
No, you still need to file an expungement to have your record sealed. A first-time offender pardon does return some rights and prevents your records from being used against you in certain circumstances, but does not shield your record as an expungement will.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO FILE AN EXPUNGEMENT?
You can file for an expungement immediately if you were not charged, successfully granted a motion to quash or were found not guilty. If you were charged but the District Attorney has not instituted prosecution after the passing of the legally allowable time limit to prosecute you may have the right to file for an expungement. Criminal offenses have varying times associated with the amount of time a DA has to charge for a crime. For example, a DA has 10 years to institute a prosecution for sex crimes against a juvenile but only 6 months for misdemeanor crimes.
HOW MUCH DOES AN EXPUNGEMENT COST?
The fees associated with an expungement vary by parish, the following is an example of the most common charges by agency, $250.00 to the Louisiana State Police, $200.00 to the Criminal District Court Clerk, $50.00 to the parish District Attorneys office and $50.00 to the local sheriff. If you hire a private attorney those fees will be separate. Check with 21st Judicial District Court clerks office to get the most current prices: http://www.tangiclerk.org/
Certain individuals may be eligible for an indigent waiver of fees. You will have to check the rules to see if you qualify. Generally, you will have to show your income and meet the following requirements: have no prior felony convictions anywhere in the country, have no pending felonies, the offense for which you were prosecuted ended in an acquittal, motion to quash, or it has been dismissed/refused and the time limit for prosecution has expired. Of course, the crime you are seeking to expunge must be an eligible crime for expungement.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?
It depends on several factors. It should take approximately 60 days for the agencies to respond to the application. Then an additional 60 days for the State Police to mail a Certificate of Compliance. However, note that you are dealing with government agencies and it may take some follow-up calls to keep the process on track.
Click the following link to the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association website to access forms and materials you will need to file. Also, note that all expungements must include a Motion for Expungement with required forms. If you have any questions or need assistance with this form call our office at (225) 686-8006. To find forms you can go to the website of the Louisiana Clerks Of Courts Office here: http://www.laclerksofcourt.org/Expungement%20Forms%20Index.htm
CONTACT SONJA BRADLEY YOUR CRIMINAL LAWYER IN Hammond, Louisiana, Denham Springs Louisiana, Walker Louisiana, Ponchatoula Louisiana, Amite Louisiana, Albany Louisiana, and surrounding areas.
TANGIPAHOA PARISH WEBSITE: https://www.tpso.org/
LIVINGSTON PARISH WEBSITE: http://www.lpso.org/
LOUISIANA STATE POLICE WEBSITE: http://www.lsp.org/
DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE 21ST JDC WEBSITE: http://www.21jdda.org/