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How can you expunge your criminal record in Louisiana?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A criminal conviction can linger on your record for decades. As a result, you might find it difficult to secure the meaningful employment that you want. This can leave you at a financial disadvantage in the long-term. As if that’s not enough, your criminal history can also be used to block you from securing the housing that you want and from even doing things like going on field trips with your children.

Although these consequences of a criminal conviction can be stressful to deal with, you might be able to escape them through expungement of your criminal record. If you succeed in expunging your record, your conviction will be removed from all official sources. However, some law enforcement agencies and courts will still have access to your records.

Although it can be extraordinarily beneficial to you, expungements aren’t automatically granted without you taking some action, which is why you need to educate yourself about the process and figure out how to best approach your case. We hope this post will be insightful in that regard.

Requirements for expungement under Louisiana law

If you want to pursue expungement, you need to know the state’s requirements. To start, only those with certain criminal histories are eligible to seek expungement. This includes those whose charges were dismissed, those who were found not guilty of a charged offense, and those who were convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor or felony. Therefore, those who have been convicted of offenses such as domestic battery, assault, a sex offense, or stalking will be ineligible for expungement.

If you’re eligible, you’ll have to file a petition with the court in order to request expungement of your record. In order to succeed on your petition, you’ll have to prove several things. This includes each of the following:

  • That you have not been convicted of any other criminal offenses
  • That there are no other criminal charges pending against you
  • That there are no outstanding fines or unpaid restitution stemming from your conviction
  • The appropriate waiting period for expungement has passed, which will depend on the type of crime in question

Are there limitations on seeking expungement?

Outside of the requirements mentioned above, there are other restrictions on seeking expungement. Perhaps the most important among them is that you can only expunge one criminal offense every so often. For example, you can only expunge one misdemeanor offense every 15 years, and you can expunge only one DUI conviction every 10 years. Typically, you can expunge only one felony every 15 years, too.

What does the process look like?

If you want to seek expungement, you’re going to have to fill out some court paperwork and gather relevant documentation, such as those records pertaining to your criminal conviction. Subsequently, you’ll need to submit a petition to the court explaining how you qualify for expungement and requesting relief. At the time of filing, you’ll also have to pay a fee. However, depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get that fee waived.

Once your petition is filed, you’ll have to wait about 60 days to see if the prosecution or a victim objects to your expungement. Although it might be stressful to learn that there’s an objection to your petition, it’s helpful to remember that expungement in Louisiana is mandatory as long as you qualify. Therefore, an objection is only going to focus on whether you qualify for expungement rather than their perception of whether you’re deserving of it.

Pursue your expungement with confidence

An expungement can give you back your life. But you have to know how to appropriately approach the matter if you want to maximize your chances of success. That’s why before moving forward with your petition, you should make sure you have a full understanding of the process and how to advocate for the outcome that you want.