Lake Charles Expungement Attorneys

Comprehensive Guide to Louisiana Expungement Law

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It is extremely important, especially with felonies, that you obtain qualified legal advice as soon as possible after your arrest. The sooner we get involved, the greater your chance is for a more favorable outcome.

We know the stress and anxiety that come with any criminal prosecution and will provide you with a high level of personal attention, serving you with a dedication to the highest standards of practice within the legal profession. Sudduth and Associates are committed to communication and encourage you to bring all your questions and concerns to us. We will keep you fully informed of all developments in your case, as well as your options and your likelihood of success.

One of the most common questions I get asked is in reference to expungements. In this hyper competitive and global economy an employer can know everything they want to know about you by looking at three things: your credit score, standardized test scores, and your criminal record. It's a somewhat concerning truth that we as human beings and all of our fascinating intricacies and personalities can be boiled down so simply but it is a harsh truth that must be faced.

Your criminal record can haunt you for a much longer time than you may realize. Whether it was a mistake we made when we were young or a recent temporary lapse in judgment, the anchors we drop in the criminal justice system can have very long ropes. Those ropes can hold us back from promising careers, educational opportunities, and rewarding lives. So what can you do to untie yourself from that anchor? In Louisiana, you may have the option to get your conviction expunged. First, it is important to note what an expungement is and what it does.

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An expungement is a judicial order that hides or erases a criminal conviction/charge/or arrest in very specific circumstances. What makes an expungement so difficult is the many agencies that have to be coordinated in order to achieve the goal. As an example, lets say that someone is arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime. That person will have several numbers in the criminal justice system that they will be trying to get erased, and they are:

  • AAID – the arresting agency will have an arrest ID number
  • Book In Number – the local parish sheriff will have a book in a number
  • DA Number – assuming charges are accepted the DA will have an internal number assigned to your case
  • Docket Number – the clerk of court will assign a docket number to your case
  • Louisiana State Police – compiles all arrests made in the state for reporting to the FBI
  • FBI – will input your arrest and conviction into a national database known as “NCIC”

So what is eligible for expungement?

First, if you are merely arrested for a crime and not charged you can have the arrest expunged. Second, if you are arrested and charged but those charges are later dismissed you can have the arrest and charging documents expunged. Third, lets say that you are arrested, charged, and finally convicted. In regards to a conviction, you can get these expunged in a specific set of circumstances and for the purposes of Part 1, I will focus solely on misdemeanor convictions.

First, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor but that conviction was deferred under La Code of Crim. Pro. Art. 894, then you are eligible for an expungement just as soon as you successfully complete your probation. What if your sentence was not deferred under Article 894? Your attorney can motion the Court to re-sentence you under Article 894 so as to make you eligible for an expungement as soon as you complete your probation. (See Article 881.1(a)(2)).

How do I know if I am eligible for an 894?

A quick way to know is that you can only have one 894 every 5 years. So if you have used one in the past 5 years, this new charge will not be able to be deferred under Article 894.

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