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How much will an expungement cost?

Depending on the nature of the charge, the jurisdiction where the expungement will be filed, and whether or not the offense was a DWI, an expungement will cost approximately $600 in filing fees and expenses.*

In general, the filing fees for an expungement are broken down as follows:

  • $200.00 money order payable to Clerk of Court

  • $250.00 money order payable to Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification/Information

  • $ 50.00 money order payable to Caddo Parish Sheriff

  • $ 50.00 money order payable to Caddo Parish District Attorney

Some parishes will charge slightly less or more to the Clerk of Court and in some circumstances, a DWI arrest will cost an additional $50 because certain records have to be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles, along with the documentation of the expungement.

In addition to these costs, a background check must be filed with the expungement, which costs $26 from Louisiana State Police. In order to obtain the background check, you must send a fingerprint card to the LSP and the cost will vary by police department. If you are eligible for expungement because of sentencing pursuant to Article 893 or 894, there may be costs associated with filing the motion to set aside.

*Attorney Fees are charged separately from expenses and will vary by attorney. If you would like to set up a consult to discuss an expungement, please call our office at (318) 459-9111 or click the “contact us” link on our website!

I need a state license, will an expungement help me?

We get asked all the time about the benefits of an expungement when applying for a job. For your average job that is simply going to require a background check and doesn’t have additional licensing requirements, often an expungement will help you.

In the event your job requires more than a simple background check, or has specific licensing requirements, you may be required to disclose an arrest even if you have had your record expunged.

Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 973 establishes the effects of an expungement:

A. An expunged record of arrest or conviction shall be confidential and no longer considered to be a public record and shall not be made available to any person or other entity except for the following:

(1) To a member of a law enforcement or criminal justice agency or prosecutor who shall request that information in writing, certifying that the request is for the purpose of investigating, prosecuting, or enforcing criminal law, for the purpose of any other statutorily defined law enforcement or administrative duties, or for the purposes of the requirements of sex offender registration and notification pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 15:540 et seq.

(2) On order of a court of competent jurisdiction and after a contradictory hearing for good cause shown.

(3) To the person whose record has been expunged or his counsel.

(4) To a member of a law enforcement or criminal justice agency, prosecutor, or judge, who requests that information in writing, certifying that the request is for the purpose of defending a law enforcement, criminal justice agency, or prosecutor in a civil suit for damages resulting from wrongful arrest or other civil litigation and the expunged record is necessary to provide a proper defense.

B. Upon written request therefor and on a confidential basis, the information contained in an expunged record may be released to the following entities that shall maintain the confidentiality of such record: the Office of Financial Institutions, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners, the Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission, Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions, the Louisiana Department of Insurance, the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, the Louisiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, or any person or entity requesting a record of all criminal arrests and convictions pursuant to R.S. 15:587.1, or as otherwise provided by law.

C. Except as to those persons and other entities set forth in Paragraph A of this Article, no person whose record of arrest or conviction has been expunged shall be required to disclose to any person that he was arrested or convicted of the subject offense, or that the record of the arrest or conviction has been expunged.

Subsection (B) establishes the organizations who are exempt from the expungement order:

  • Office of Financial Institutions;

  • Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners;

  • Louisiana State Board of Nursing;

  • Louisiana State Board of Dentistry;

  • Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists;

  • The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy;

  • The Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners;

  • Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission;

  • Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions;

  • Louisiana Department of Insurance;

  • Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners;

  • Louisiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners;

  • or any person or entity requesting a record of all criminal arrests and convictions pursuant to R.S. 15:587.1, or as otherwise provided by law.

Despite the fact that your un-expunged record will still be visible if you are applying to one of the above state agencies for a license to work in Louisiana, it is often a good idea to obtain the expungement anyway. The fact that your record has been expunged will also be known to the above agencies and it will show that you are either a first-time offender who was sentenced pursuant to Articles 893 or 894 or that you have served a 5 or 10 year cleansing period with no subsequent arrests so as to be eligible for the expungement.

If you or someone you know is having difficulty obtaining employment as a result of a criminal arrest and would like to know if you are eligible for expungement, please contact our office at (318) 459-9111 for a consultation.

How long will an expungement take?

Anywhere from 6 - 9 months from beginning to end.

The first step will depend on the grounds under which you are eligible for an expungement. If you are able to expunge your arrest because you were sentenced under Article 893 or 894, you will first need to file and have granted a motion to set aside your conviction. Once that is completed, you can move on to the first step for everyone else:

(1) Obtain a background check from the Louisiana State Police. This usually takes anywhere from 30-60 days to obtain once you have sent the fees and fingerprints off to the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information.

(2) Obtain all minutes and fill out your forms and then file for the expungement.

(3) Wait. The State has 60 days to file an objection to the Motion for Expungement.

(4) Depending on what jurisdiction the expungement is filed in, the procedure at this point will differ slightly. Some parishes will grant the expungement automatically if no objection is filed; some will require a hearing even if no objection is filed. A hearing will be required if the state objects.

(5) Note that your rap sheet may still show the arrest until you have received certification letters from the arresting agency and Louisiana State Police confirming that their records have been removed from public view.

Because so much of the process is dependent on the actions of third parties (LSP, the State of Louisiana, the court), I always recommend clients begin the expungement process as early as possible in the event they will need their record cleared for a specific purpose.

If you have a conviction you’d like to know if you can remove from your record, give us a call at (318) 459-9111.

New Year, New You!

We’ve all been inundated with the advertising slogan: “New Year: New You!” But in our case, we’d actually like to help give you a blank slate. The new year is a great time to think about clearing up a criminal record.

In Louisiana, people convicted of most misdemeanors and certain felonies can be eligible to have their convictions removed from their public record under certain circumstances:

(1) If that person was originally sentenced pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893 or 894 and has successfully completed their probation; or

(2) after remaining arrest-free for 5 or 10 years (depending on the seriousness of the offense).

If the person meets one of these requirements and an expungement is not excluded for some other reason (i.e.: the person has already received an expungement for another charge within the last 5 or 10 years, the offense is a violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, certain sex offenses, or certain crimes of violence), then that person may be eligible to have the arrest expunged.

An expungement in Louisiana does not “make it like it never happened,” but for many purposes, it will allow the person to say when asked that they have not been arrested or convicted for the offense which has been expunged.

Expungements are great tools for first-offenders or those who have an old criminal record that may be causing them difficulties when job-hunting or apartment-hunting.

If you or someone you know is interested in cleaning up a criminal record this new year, give us a call at (318) 459-9111! And happy new year from us at Gilmer & Giglio!

What is an 893 or 894 and why do I want one?

Articles 893 and 894 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure in their broadest sense allow for the suspension and deferral of a sentence (and probation) in a criminal case. More specifically, under certain circumstances, they allow a conviction to be set aside after the defendant serves a period of probation satisfactorily. This opens up the charge for expungement.

Article 893:

Article 893 applies to felony convictions and allows for a conviction to be “set aside and dismissed” after a term of probation if the sentencing court defers the imposition of a sentence “after a conviction for a first offense noncapital felony.” At the conclusion of the probationary period, if the defendant has completed his probation satisfactorily, he will be able to have his conviction set aside and the prosecution dismissed.

A defendant may only receive the benefits of Article 893 once and there are several exceptions to eligibility for deferral including certain violations of the Controlled Dangerous Substances Laws, sex offenses, and violent crimes.

Article 894:

Article 894 applies to misdemeanor convictions and allows for a conviction to be “set aside and dismissed” after a term of probation if the sentencing court defers the imposition of the sentence. At the conclusion of the probationary period, if the defendant has completed his probation satisfactorily, he will be able to have his conviction set aside and the prosecution dismissed.

A defendant may only receive the benefits of Article 894 once during a 5-year period (or a 10-year period for Driving While Intoxicated convictions). 

Okay, so why do I want one?

The dismissal and set aside of the conviction under either Article 893 or 894 allows the defendant to seek an expungement of the arrest record immediately and will also allow him to say that he has never had a criminal conviction (assuming an otherwise clean record) for most purposes.

If he goes through with expungement, he will be able to say he has never been arrested (assuming an otherwise clean record, and with some exceptions).

The benefit of an Article 893 or 894 allows an individual to maintain, for most purposes, a clean record once she has served her term of probation and to minimize the impact of a sole criminal offense on her life.

If you have been arrested, and are unsure whether you will be eligible for an 893 or 894, call us at (318) 459-9111 to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Expungements in Louisiana

1. How often can I get an expungement?

Early and often - if you were not convicted of any offense resulting from the arrest, you can expunge these arrests any time and as many of them as you want. If you were arrested for a felony but convicted of a misdemeanor, you can apply for an interim expungement of the felony arrest anytime, but cannot remove the record of the misdemeanor conviction until the delays discussed below have passed.

5 Years - for most misdemeanors after the date you were last serving any portion of your sentence (including probation).

10 years - for most felonies after the date you were last serving any portion of your sentence (including probation or parole).

You can only expunge one misdemeanor conviction (barring special sentencing provisions) every 5 years and one felony conviction (barring special sentencing provisions) every 15 years. Misdemeanor DWIs can only be expunged once every 10 years.

2. Are there any charges I can’t expunge?

Yes. Sex offenses as defined in La. R.S. 15:541, domestic abuse battery and stalking convictions cannot be expunged. Under certain circumstances, crimes of violence as defined in La. R.S. 14:2(B) and violations of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances laws (Title 40) cannot be expunged.

3. How long will this process take?

Approximately 6 - 9 months.

The first step is to apply for a background check from Louisiana State Police. Once that is received, the Petition for Expungement must be filed within 30 days. There is a 60-day waiting period during which the State may file an objection to the Petition. Once the 60-day waiting period has passed, the Court will set the matter for a court appearance and either grant or deny the Petition. If it is granted, the Court will sign the order and the expungement will be granted.

There is often a delay between the signing of the order and the removal of the record because the Clerk of Court must send a copy of the order to each police agency involved in the case. Once each agency has removed the record from public access, they will send a certification letter stating so to the Clerk of Court. This entire process from background check request to receipt of final certification letter takes approximately 6 months.

4. Once I have gotten an expungement, can I tell people I’ve never been arrested?

Under most circumstances and with regard to the specific charge you have gotten expunged, yes. (If you have multiple arrests and are not able to expunge them all, you may still have to disclose those arrests depending on the wording of the question.)

5. Does an expungement make it like my charge “never happened?”

Short Answer: No.

Longer Answer: Expungements are different in every state. In Louisiana, an expungement removes the record from “public access” but does not result in the record’s destruction. In effect, this means that most background checks will not reveal the existence of the arrest; however, there are many exceptions to this rule. This also means that the arrest can be seen by law enforcement and the courts and can be used against you in subsequent prosecutions.

If you have a specific question about whether an expungement is a good idea for your circumstances, call us at (318) 459-9111 to set up a consult.

Happy National Clean Up Day - September 16th!