Every criminal charge brings with it inherent legal consequences. Yet what you may not anticipate when dealing with a criminal matter are the collateral consequences (many of which may remain in place long after dealing with the legal ones). These can include a restriction of certain rights (if convicted) as well as a social stigma that may hang over you.
It is for this very reason why an expunction is an option you may want to consider. It can help relieve some of the burden you bear after having gone through the criminal justice system.
Qualifying for an expungement
Yet before you go seeking to have your record expunged, you should first know if you are eligible. Article 978 of Louisiana’s Code of Criminal Procedure states that you must meet one of the following qualification criteria:
- The court set aside your conviction and the prosecution chose not to pursue further action
- More than 10 years have passed since the completion of your sentence or probationary period for a felony conviction, and you have not had any other criminal charges filed against you
- You qualify for a first offender pardon under state law
Would does an expunction do?
Exactly what happens when you have your record expunged? Basically any public record of its existence becomes sealed (meaning that prospective private employers would not see it on a routine background check). It does not, however, destroy the record of the offense (indeed, public agencies can still see the record of it). It also does not restore your right to own a firearm or your driving privileges (if your conviction resulted in a revocation of your drivers’ license). It also does not remove the requirement that you register as a sex offender (again, if and when the law requires such action).