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What types of cases are eligible for expungement in Louisiana?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

One person is answering question about expungement on a questionnaire

Everyone makes mistakes. However, when those mistakes result in a criminal record, they can haunt you for a long time. Louisiana offers a way to clear your name: expungement. This process allows the sealing or destruction of certain criminal records, effectively removing them from public view. 

Not every case qualifies for this process in Louisiana. Learn more about which cases do and what the requirements are.

Misdemeanor convictions

For most misdemeanors, you need to wait two years after you have completed any sentence, probation or parole before applying for expungement. If the misdemeanor involved controlled substances, you may need to wait five years.

Felony convictions

Felonies rank higher in severity than misdemeanors, but you can still expunge certain felonies. You need to wait ten years after you have completed any probation, sentence or parole. During this waiting period, you should avoid any other criminal convictions.

Arrests that did not lead to a conviction

If law enforcement arrested you, but the court dropped the charges, dismissed them or found you not guilty, you typically can apply for expungement right away. This ensures that an arrest without a conviction does not tarnish your reputation.

Juvenile records

Louisiana gives young people the chance to change. If you have a juvenile record, you can apply for expungement once you turn 17. Some exceptions might apply, especially for severe juvenile offenses, but in many cases, you can begin with a clean record as an adult.

Eligibility criteria for expungement

In addition to meeting the eligibility regarding the type of crime committed, you must also meet the following criteria to have your record expunged:

  • Complete your sentence and wait for the appropriate time period
  • Have no current charges pending
  • Pay all fines and court-ordered restitution

Additionally, you cannot have any other convictions on your record.

In Louisiana, you can expunge one misdemeanor or felony every 15 years. If you believe you might qualify, learn about the criteria and take steps to clear your name. A fresh start can lead to new opportunities in the future.