In Louisiana, your criminal record may be expunged—that is, erased or sealed—under the circumstances described below. If your record qualifies, it will be hidden from public view and available only to law enforcement agencies and certain professional licensing boards. In most cases, you will not have to disclose that you were arrested or convicted of a crime. (La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 973 (2018).)
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).)
Misdemeanor offenses. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you may be able to expunge the related record. You can petition for expungement if it has 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 may 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:
You may expunge only one felony conviction during any 15-year period. However, if you are seeking to expunge a record for a conviction that was set aside and the prosecution dismissed, the 15-year waiting period does not apply.
Some felony convictions—including those for violent crimes, sex offenses, domestic abuse battery, and certain drug offenses—do not quality for expungement. See La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 978 for the full list of ineligible crimes.
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—you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney.