Expungement Lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana
If you were arrested for a charge of any kind, but not convicted, or convicted of a minor charge, you may be able to have your record expunged. Once expunged, your arrest or conviction will be “sealed” and will not be available to the public or visible on criminal background checks. The record will still exist and can be viewed by certain government agencies such as law enforcement, but an expungement can be extremely beneficial to you if a public criminal record would prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, attending school, or applying for a professional license.
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Expunging or Sealing Criminal Records in Louisiana
Information about the expungement process in Louisiana, including what criminal record expungement is, misdemeanors and felonies that can be expunged, eligibility requirements, and the process of sealing a record.
1. What does it mean to “expunge a criminal record”?
This is a court order for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to destroy all public records related to your arrest and conviction.
2. Does record expungement mean that the charge no longer exists?
No – the charge still exists but cannot be viewed on public records. Law enforcement agencies will still have access to your record, but a search of public records will not show your charge.
3. Will the public record of my arrest disappear if charges against me are dropped?
No, your arrest will still exist in your criminal record. You must petition the court to expunge your arrest.
4. When my record is sealed, will I have to admit that I have been arrested or convicted on job, apartment, professional license and college applications?
The goal of an expunged record is to restore you to the position you were in before your arrest and conviction, so practically speaking, you can usually answer “No” to questions about criminal history on applications. However, you will need to admit your arrest and conviction when applying to federal jobs, law enforcement and the military. Professional licensing agencies may also require you to list a sealed criminal record. Louisiana law allows the following agencies to access expunged arrests and convictions: Office of Financial Institutions, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners, the Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission, Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions, the Louisiana Department of Insurance, and the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners.
5. Who can get their record cleared?
• Anyone who is arrested but not convicted of any kind of charge can have the arrest expunged after the charge is dismissed or the time delays have expired
• Anyone who has a misdemeanor or felony charge pled under article 893/894 may apply for expunction
• Anyone who has completed their sentence with no new felony convictions or pending charges during a certain time period. The time period (5 or 10 years) depends on the type of charge.
• The required amount of time has passed since a previous expunction – for example, it must be 15 years since a prior expunction for a felony charge.
6. What misdemeanor convictions are eligible to be expunged in Louisiana?
If it has been at least 5 years since you have fulfilled your sentence and probation, and you have had no felony convictions during those 5 years and there are no pending felony charges, you will be eligible to expunge all misdemeanor charges with the exception of convictions for domestic abuse, stalking and charges related to sex crimes.
7. What convictions are eligible for felony expungement in Louisiana?
Certain felony convictions may be expunged if it has been 10 years since the sentence/probation period ended, and there are no subsequent convictions or pending charges. Convictions for crimes of violence, domestic abuse battery, crimes involving minors and certain drug offences cannot be expunged.
8. My charge is eligible, are there any other expungement requirements I need to know about?
You cannot currently be incarcerated, there can be no pending charges, and all requirements of conviction must be fulfilled including classes, probation, and the payment of fines and restitution. Also, you must not get any additional charges for a certain period of time – for example, you must wait 5 years from the completion of your sentence before you can petition for a misdemeanor expungement.
9. What is the expungement process in Louisiana?
Your Louisiana expungement attorney can help you file a petition in the parish where your arrest and conviction took place. The judge will then review the petition. Once the judge has signed the expungement petition, your expungement lawyer will forward copies of the expungement to the local authorities, and the Louisiana Department of Safety will forward the order to state and federal authorities. The whole process usually takes about 60 – 90 days.
Please note that record expungement does not automatically occur once charges are dropped or you complete your criminal sentence. Unless you petition for an expungement, the arrest will still be on your public record and will appear in background checks.
Louisiana Articles 894 and 893
When entering a first time guilty plea to a misdemeanor or certain felonies in Louisiana, you should have a Louisiana criminal defense lawyer like Thomas V. Alonzo enter your plea under article 894 or 893 of the Louisiana Criminal Code so that you will be eligible for expungement.
Defendants charged with misdemeanors, including the following, may be pled under 894 and be eligible for expungement: Assault, resisting arrest, minor possession, public intoxication, lewd conduct, disturbing the peace, prostitution, simple battery, drug possession, and domestic violence. First time felonies can be expunged, under certain conditions, if the judge allows you to plea under article 893. Typically, violent crimes and sex crimes involving a minor cannot be pled under 893.
Criminal defense lawyer Thomas V. Alonzo can help you plea under articles 894 and 893 if you are eligible to do so. If you are unsure of your eligibility or need help filing your motion to expunge, see our Louisiana Articles 893 and 894 blog post or call Mr. Alonzo at (337) 704-2615 for a free consultation.
How to Expunge a Criminal Record
If you are eligible to have your record cleared, you must first complete your sentence, pay all fines, and finish any required classes or community service. You cannot have any pending charges, and there may be a probationary period before you can start the expungement process. After all requirements are fulfilled, expungement lawyer Thomas V. Alonzo will file a petition with the court where your arrest or conviction occurred. If the judge grants your expungement, the court will notify the FBI, the District Attorney’s office, police department and sheriff offices in your city and parish to destroy all documents and information relating to your arrest.
Call Louisiana expungement lawyer Thomas V. Alonzo at to see if you are eligible to have your record expunged. All initial consultations are free.