Written by attorney Gino Ronald Forte

Expungement of Louisiana criminal records

Expungement Guide for Louisiana

Expungement is the process of removing the record of an arrest and/or conviction from public view. The records are kept under lock and key, and can only be examined at the request of a law enforcement agency. Destruction of the record is actually a different animal, whereby the records are actually destroyed. The terms “expungement" and “destruction" cannot be used interchangeably.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, you may file a formal motion with the Court of the Parish where you were prosecuted or in the Parish where you were arrested, if seeking expungement of your arrest record.

In filing the Motion and Order for Expungement, you must also pay fees for the following:

  1. District Attorney office (typically $50)

  2. Clerk of Court (depends on Parish, but generally $50-$100)

  3. Louisiana State Police, Bureau of Criminal Identification ($250). If the Court does not grant your expungement, this amount will be refunded to you.

  4. Arresting Agency (such as St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Office, $50 charge)

If you were arrested but never prosecuted and not placed into a pretrial “diversion program," then you can seek expungement without the above payments to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, DA or arresting agency.

Misdemeanors involving sexual acts or acts of domestic violence are generally not eligible for expungement.

If you have been arrested for a felony, you may also file a Motion to expunge the arrest record, if the DA did not prosecute the case or you were acquitted. Typically, the DA will sign off on your motion as “unopposed" and no hearing will be required in that situation.

After a hearing before the Court, with the DA and arresting agency present, the Court may order expungement of a record of felony conviction dismissed under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893.

There can be no expungement of the record of arrest or conviction for a sex offense involving a child under the age of 17.

You are generally allowed one expungement within a 5-year period (10 years for a DWI).

Records which have been expunged are generally treated as if they never existed, but the record can be reviewed by the following agencies/boards if you are applying for admittance to these professions:

  1. Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

  2. Louisiana State Board of Nursing

  3. Louisiana State Board of Dentistry

  4. Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists

  5. Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners

  6. Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission

  7. Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board

  8. Office of Disciplinary Counsel

  9. Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions

Altogether, the administrative and filing fees associated with the expungement may be around $400. You should be able to obtain forms from your local Clerk of Court office to complete the expungement. A local attorney can assist you in preparing the necessary Motion and Order on your behalf and appearing for hearing, if needed, for a flat fee or hourly rate.

There are some other intricacies to this law and it will only benefit you to bring your specific situation to a Louisiana attorney. Considering how a criminal record can haunt you personally, professionally and financially, the expungement is a wise investment in your future.

As with all legal services, the selection of a lawyer is a serious and highly personal process. The above is merely an overview and not intended to be legal advice for your situation. You should consult with a licensed Louisiana attorney concerning your specific case.

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