Can a Felony Conviction be Expunged in Louisiana if You Plead Guilty?

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Having a felony on your criminal record can affect your life for years, as it can be hard to find housing or a job when you can’t pass a criminal background check. Fortunately, you can find a way around this consequence by applying for expungement. This allows you to remove your conviction from your record, even if you pled guilty to the crime years ago.

Keep in mind that not everyone can expunge their crimes in Louisiana, as you must meet specific qualifications first. A lawyer can let you know if you’re eligible to apply for expungement of your felony conviction and will help you with the process.

What Is Felony Expungement?

Felony expungement is the process of removing a serious conviction from your criminal record. When you expunge a conviction, it’s erased from view, so it won’t appear on background checks or public records. After expungement, your felony conviction won’t stop you from getting a job or home, and the general public won’t be able to see it if they look up court records.

That being said, felony expungement does not pardon you or entirely eliminate the conviction. Law enforcement can still see it and use it when determining sentencing for subsequent offenses. In addition, some professional licensing entities can see expunged felonies when you apply with them. So, if you apply for a license or job with a state board of nursing, dentistry, social work, or similar professions, they can see your felony conviction.

Are You Eligible to Expunge Your Conviction?

If you want to pursue felony expungement, make sure you meet the requirements. First, you can only expunge one felony conviction every 15 years. Your case also must meet at least one of the following requirements:

• The felony was set aside and the prosecution was formally dismissed.
• You do not have any other felony charges pending, and it’s been over ten years since you deferred adjudication, finished your sentence, or completed probation or parole.

In addition, your felony must not be on the list of crimes that are not eligible for expungement. Felonies that cannot be expunged include:

• Most sex crimes, such as rape, sex trafficking, and sexual battery
• Violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, or aggravated assault
• Distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance
• Crimes against minors

If you have questions about whether you’re eligible for felony expungement, contact a Louisiana criminal defense attorney to find out. You will need their help to continue with this legal process, so initiating an attorney/client relationship as soon as possible is helpful to get your questions answered before you move forward.

How Do You Apply for Expungement?

If you’re eligible for expungement, your lawyer will help gather the necessary paperwork, including your background report and court forms. You can then file a motion for felony expungement and pay the fee associated with this. This will start your 60-day waiting period, during which a judge will investigate your request and determine if it should be approved.

If there are any objections to the motion, you might have to attend a court hearing. For example, if the victim of your crime or the district attorney objects to expungement, you must present your case for why your crime should be expunged.

If your conviction is approved for expungement, a judge will sign your petition within the 60-day waiting period. Your lawyer will then forward copies of the approved petition to the state authorities to get your conviction expunged from your record. You will also get a certificate that will serve as proof that you completed the legal process of having a felony expunged with the court system in Louisiana.

You can find out if you’re eligible for expungement by calling our Louisiana law firm at 318-594-3592 for a free consultation. When you hire Keith T. Whiddon, Attorney at Law, LLC to handle your felony expungement case, you will have an experienced lawyer on your side to provide you with the immediate answers you need throughout the legal process. Contact our law offices today to get started.

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