Following your sentence for a misdemeanor, you may think you are done with the criminal justice system. You’ve paid your fines, served your time, and completed your probation and/or parole without any missteps. You apply for a job with a new company, only to hear back that they don’t hire ex-convicts. You’ve paid your debt to society, but society is still holding your past mistakes against you.
Unfortunately, this story is all-too-common. A criminal record can follow you for life unless you do something about it. Louisiana, thankfully, has a process for expunging certain criminal records. Expungement can give you the clean slate you need to move on with your life and fully reintegrate into society. A knowledgeable lawyer at Whiddon Criminal Defense in Monroe can evaluate your case and determine if you may be eligible for expungement. If so, we’ll petition the court and get you the clear future you deserve.
How Does Expungement Work?
Expungement is a legal process ordered by the court that effectively removes your criminal record from the public eye. Criminal records are public by default, meaning that they can show up on background checks and through database searches available to just about anyone. If you get your records expunged, they will still exist in a limited, non-public database maintained by the Louisiana government, but no regular person (be it a potential employer, a bank, or a concerned neighbor) will be able to see the records. After expungement, you can honestly and legally state on a job application that you have no criminal convictions.
If you’re interested in expungement, ask the experienced misdemeanor expungement lawyer at Whiddon Criminal Defense about the process and how it can help you move on with your life.
Which Misdemeanors Can Be Expunged in Louisiana?
Certain misdemeanor conviction records can be expunged under the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP). According to Article 977, misdemeanor records can be expunged either after the conviction was set aside and dismissed pursuant to Article 894, or if it’s been at least five years since the defendant has served their time and certain other requirements are met.
Art. 894 sets out a procedure for deferred prosecution. Essentially, the court delays the sentence for a number of months, typically with certain conditions such as the completion of counseling or community service. If the defendant avoids committing any crimes during the deferral period and complies with any limitations and requirements set by the court, the court can then set aside any plea or guilty verdict and dismiss the case. The dismissal has the same effect as an acquittal. Once a case has been dismissed under Art. 894, the defendant can file a motion to have the entire record of the case expunged.
The other pathway to misdemeanor expungement has its own special conditions as well. In order to qualify for the five-year Art. 977 expungement, the following must be true:
- It’s been five years since the person completed any sentence, deferred adjudication, probation or parole for the offense, and
- The person must not have been convicted of a felony during those five years, and no felony charges can be pending against the person.
Art. 977 expungement (other than expungement for an Art. 894 conviction) is only available once every five years, or once every ten years for DWI convictions.
Call Today to Find Out if You Can Get Your Louisiana Misdemeanor Arrest or Conviction Expunged from the Public Record
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor offense in northern Louisiana, your record may be eligible for expungement. We’re standing by to review your case and determine whether you are eligible. If your records can be expunged, we’ll get you through the process so that you can truly move on with your life. The Louisiana misdemeanor defense and expungement legal team at the Monroe offices of Whiddon Criminal Defense is ready to help you fight for your rights, your freedom, and your future. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.