Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Louisiana

In Louisiana, your criminal record may be expunged, meaning erased or sealed. If your case qualifies, your criminal record will be hidden from public view.

By , Master of Science in Library and Information Science, Long Island University
Updated May 26, 2023

In Louisiana, you might be able to get your criminal record expunged so that no one (with some exceptions will know about your arrest or conviction.) your criminal record may be expunged—that is,

What Is Expungement?

In general, an expunged criminal record is essentially erased or sealed. When this happens, the record will be hidden from public view and available only to law enforcement agencies and certain professional licensing boards. In most cases, you won't have to disclose that you were arrested or convicted of a crime.

(La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 973 (2023).)

Eligibility for Expungement in Louisiana

Expungement is available in certain cases when the person wasn't convicted of a crime, as well as in some circumstances when they were convicted.

Expungement in Louisiana if You Were Not Convicted of a Crime

If you were arrested for—but not convicted of—a misdemeanor or a felony, you may be able to expunge the related record. You can petition for expungement if:

  • the district attorney declined to prosecute
  • the statute of limitations for bringing charges has expired and no proceedings were initiated
  • the charges against you were dismissed
  • the court granted a motion to quash the charges against you, or
  • you were acquitted of the charges.

In addition, if you were convicted of a crime and a court later determines that you were factually innocent and entitled to compensation for a wrongful conviction, you can petition to have the arrest and conviction records expunged.

In many cases, you must wait five years from the date of your arrest before petitioning to have a DUI arrest expunged. If you were arrested for any other offense, there is no waiting period.

(La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 976 (2018).)

Expungement in Louisiana if You Were Convicted of a Crime

After a certain amount of time has passed, someone conviction of a crime might be eligible for expungement in Louisiana.

Misdemeanor offenses. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you might be able to expunge the related record. You can petition for expungement if it's been at least five years since the end of your sentence, deferred adjudication, probation, or parole. In addition, you must have had no felony convictions during the five-year waiting period and have no felony charges pending against you.

You can expunge only one misdemeanor offense during any five-year period. For DUI convictions, you can expunge only once every ten years.

Convictions involving sexual acts, domestic violence, or stalking cannot be expunged.

(La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 977 (2018).)

Felony offenses. If you were convicted of a felony, your record might be eligible for expungement if:

  • the conviction was set aside and the case was dismissed, or
  • more than ten years have passed since you completed all terms of your sentence and you have not been convicted of any other crime during that ten-year period.

You may expunge only one felony conviction during any 15-year period. But if you're seeking to expunge a record for a conviction that was set aside and the case dismissed, the 15-year waiting period doesn't apply.

Some felony convictions—including those for violent crimes, sex offenses, domestic abuse battery, and certain drug offenses—don't qualify for expungement. See La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 978 for the full list of ineligible crimes.

How to File for Expungement in LA

Generally, seeking an expungement in Louisiana involves filling out the necessary forms and filing them, and paying the filing fee. Someone who can't afford the fee can apply to have the fee waived. If the DA or law enforcement objects to the expungement, the person might have to go to court to fight for it.

The expungement process can differ depending on which parish the case is in. There's a very helpful nonprofit organization called the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana (JAC) that has online guides to expungement procedures in various parishes. They also have all of the forms needed for seeking expungement.

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up a criminal record can be complicated, and the law can change at any time. To learn more about expunging criminal records in Louisiana—and to discuss your personal circumstances—consider contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney.

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