Mr. Eastman serves as the firm’s managing partner, and is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Texas.
Sam has helped thousands of clients expunge, seal, and set-aside records across the country, and has a passion for criminal justice reform. Previously, Mr. Eastman represented a number of corporate clients, focusing on tax law, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate transactions.
Mr. Eastman earned his JD and LLM from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
EXPUNGING LOUISIANA ARREST RECORDS
If You’ve Been Arrested, You Have a Record
If you have a criminal record in Louisiana, I’m sure you understand how frustrating it can be. Whether you’re charged, convicted, or only arrested for a crime in Louisiana, a criminal record is created and then maintained by the Louisiana State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information. Louisiana allows almost complete public access to criminal court records. Any person with an internet connection can potentially see your record, and subsequently discriminate you because of it.
Article 976 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure (CCRP) outlines the requirements that must be fulfilled in order to expunge an arrest record, which are discussed below. Furthermore, the CCRP defines “records” to include anything from incident reports to fingerprints to photographs.
If your expungement order is granted, according to Article 979 of the CCRP, the court clerk will send a notice to the district attorney of the parish where the petitioner was convicted, the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information, and the arresting law enforcement agency. Those notified will be required to remove any records related to the arrest, but it does not mean the “destruction” of the record.
This Information is for You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Do You Qualify to Expunge Your Arrest Record?
Louisiana law allows for the expungement of an arrest record for any felony or misdemeanor offense that did not result in a conviction, but it must be due to one of the following situations:
- There was no prosecution after the arrest, and the statute of limitations has passed
- The district attorney declined to prosecute the offense,
- Prosecution either resulted in dismissal, acquittal, or overturn on appeal
- The defendant was judicially determined to be factually innocent and entitled to a wrongful conviction claim
However, the same statute clarifies that certain arrest records, despite a result other than conviction, are only eligible to be expunged after five years from the date of the arrest. Those include:
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (R.S. 14:98)
- A violation of any parish or municipal ordinance that prohibits operating a vehicle while intoxicated, impaired, or while under the influence, and placed into a pretrial diversion program
Statute of Limitations
A “Statute of Limitations” is the time allowed to file charges. The statute of limitations for some cases is as short as one year, while some serious criminal offenses have no limit and can be filed at any time, even decades after the crime occurred (ex: murder). In Louisiana, most criminal offenses have statutes of limitation ranging from 6 months to 6 years.
These time periods can vary quite a bit, so you often need to do a little research to find the right statute of limitation for your criminal offense. However, here are some general time periods that should be helpful in answering this question:
- Misdemeanors punishable by a fine: 6 months
- Misdemeanors punishable by a fine or imprisonment: 2 years
- Felonies not necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor: 4 years
- Felonies necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor: 6 years
- Certain sex offenses against children: 10 years (computed from the date of the victim’s 17th birthday)
- Crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment: no time limit (not eligible)
Legal Effects of Expunging Your Arrest Record in Louisiana
How will expunging my arrest record help me get a job?
Expunging your arrest record in Louisiana is currently one of the best ways to improve your chances at obtaining employment. Arrests are typically not as much of a barrier to employment as a conviction, but it’s preferable when prior arrests do not appear during a background check, particularly if the offense is severe. With an expungement, most employers will not be able to see any records related to the expunged arrest.
Under Article 973 of the Louisiana CCRP, anyone with an expunged record is not required to disclose the contents of the expunged record, or even that they have expunged a record. The records are not destroyed – and may be available to law enforcement, prosecutors, and certain licensing boards – but the records are not available to the general public.
The records may be used by the courts and prosecutors in any subsequent cases for the petitioner. Nevertheless, the benefits of expunging an arrest record far outweigh the potential uses of the records later. Expungement provides peace of mind for past offenders as well as for those who were never convicted.
Will expunging my arrest records restore my Second Amendment right to own and possess a firearm?
No, expunging arrest records in Louisiana should have no effect on restoring your Second Amendment rights, as being arrested without conviction should not restrict them in the first place.
Not everybody with a Louisiana record can restore their constitutional right to own or possess firearms, as Louisiana’s laws make it extremely difficult to restore firearm rights, and they only do so in very limited circumstances. It should be noted that you can almost never restore firearm rights based on federal convictions.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your arrest record in Louisiana include:
- Being able to legally state that you have not been arrested of a criminal offense to employers and landlords
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
- Eliminating the concern and potential embarrassment of failing a background check by removing public access to sensitive personal information.
Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate Louisiana criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Louisiana criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Louisiana state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!