How Long Does an Expungement Take?

Just a single arrest, no matter how trivial you think it is may leave a mark on your record. It could mean arrest showing up in a future employee background check, or when you apply for military service, or sometimes when you want to rent an apartment. In the following video, attorney Danny Russell discusses the expungement process in Louisiana.

A properly expunged record means that certain private entities who contact the courthouse where the record may not have access to your criminal conviction. However, other organizations can still access those records and they include:

  • A law enforcement agency
  • Criminal justice agency
  • The office of financial institutions
  • The Louisiana state board of medical examiners
  • The Louisiana State board of Nursing

These are only a few of the organizations that can access that information.  An attorney familiar with the law and the changes can guide you through the expungement process.

Getting an Expungement in Louisiana

You have to file a motion for expungement to get an expungement, it doesn’t happen automatically.  Your lawyer will help you file the motion properly to prevent it from not going through. Generally, the filing fee is $350-$450 and on top of that there is a lawyer’s fee.  In Baton Rouge city court, the filing fees can range from $100-$350. You are only eligible for an expungement if:

  • Your case resulted in dismissal
  • You sustained a motion to quash
  • The prosecution refused to prosecute
  • 5 years have passed since your sentence ended  for certain misdemeanor convictions
  • 10 years have passed  since your sentence ended for certain felony convictions
  • Time limitations  running out
  • Defendant pleads guilty and received a deferred sentence under article 894 or 893 and successfully completed probation.

Note that misdemeanors may be expunged after 5 years have passed only if you have no felony convictions and no pending felony charges in the intervening years. Adults cannot expunge a record if it involves domestic violence, sex offenses, arrest for first and second DUI or when they have done time with the Department of Corrections.

What Happens to Juveniles?

Young people over the age of 17 can obtain an expungement under Article 918 of the Children’s Code. This only happens if a charge was adjudicated as a misdemeanor or no charge resulted in adjudication.  The exceptions are that there should have been no firearms involved and two years should have passed since the most recent judgment. For a juvenile felony you are not eligible for expungement if you offense was homicide, a sex crime, kidnapping or manslaughter.

Charges that can be Expunged

The misdemeanor and felony charges that can be expunged include theft, DWI, assault, DUI, possession of marijuana and more.

You should file a motion for expungement as soon as you can.  Once you criminal record has been expunged you can put your past behind you and you never have to disclose the arrest to future potential employers.  It will also insulate you family from social stigma associated with having a criminal record that is publicly available.