In the happy situation where you are found not guilty of a criminal charge in Louisiana, there are still some things you need to take care of and rights you should be aware of.
Recently, we represented a client against the criminal charge of possession with intent to distribute drugs in North Louisiana. After the trial, the judge found my client not guilty on all counts. My client immediately asked what this meant for him. I explained the following: he has the right to completely expunge the charges that were filed against him. It is important to remember that when you were arrested and fingerprinted, whether you go to trial or not or whether the charges are dismissed or not, the arrest will stay on your record.
Making Sure the Arrest is Not on Your Record
If you have a lawyer who wins your case and the judge finds you not guilty, or if the state voluntary agrees to dismiss the case, you have the right to expunge the actual arrest. So in the future, if you are applying for a job, they will never know that you were arrested for the charge. Just because the state does not pursue the matter, you still need to expunge the arrest. If you win the verdict, you have an automatic right of expungement.
Getting a Cash Bond Returned to You
Another right that some people might not realize they have is the ability to recover the cash bond. If you are arrested and post a cash bond — for example, the bond amount is $5,000 and you put up that amount in cash — once you get the dismissal or the not guilty verdict, you have the right for a full return of your money immediately. Some people will forget this or just assume that they are no longer entitled to that money. However, when you post a cash bond, that is you do not use a bail bondsmen, you can legally recover the money.
A good criminal defense lawyer will not only represent you against criminal charges, but will also help you understand your full legal rights if you are found not guilty or have your charges dismissed.