In the internet age, it’s harder than ever to clear your criminal record. A quick Google search for criminal background checks will produce a plethora of private companies and websites offering the service. People pay these services a lot of money to get reports ran on people. It’s a bigtime business with little overhead. It’s no wonder there are so many background checkers out there, and new ones popping up all the time. It would be a nearly impossible task, unfortunately, to clear a person’s records from all these databases completely. However, there is a big distinction to be made between these databases and actual official records kept by the state. In the case of the latter, there is a process to get your official criminal record cleared, known in Louisiana as expungement. Though not every criminal offense can be expunged, many can, and clearing your official record in Louisiana can help you get a job, vote, and travel out of the country, among other things.
How Do Expungements Work?
The expungement process can be a complex and arduous one. There’s lots of paperwork to fill out, and often a substantial amount of waiting around to do. Though one can clear their criminal record on their own, any small mistake or misstep on any form can greatly delay the process. Most people look to a criminal defense lawyer to handle their expungement. At Bloom Legal, we have been getting criminal records cleared in Louisiana for our clients for years. We will handle the entirety of the expungement process for you. We understand that criminal charges and proceedings can take a toll on your life and time. Criminal charges can affect everything from your ability to get a job, to your right to vote, parental rights, eligibility for government benefits, and more. We believe that putting the past behind you, and getting a second chance at a clean slate, should be a privilege afforded to everyone.
How Long Does an Expungement Take?
Usually the expungement process takes about 4-6 months. Once the proper paperwork is prepared and filed, there is almost always some sitting around and waiting to hear back on the status of the expungement. This waiting period greatly increases the amount of time necessary to get an expungement completed, and it is unfortunately part of the process. We get calls all the time from people looking to get their public record cleared ahead of a job interview or school application. Unfortunately, due to the longevity of the expungement process, this is usually not possible. For this reason, we always advise our clients to pursue an expungement soon after legal proceedings finish—if their charges are expungeable.
What Charges Are Not Expungable In Louisiana?
Many charges, both misdemeanors and felonies, are eligible for expungement in Louisiana. However, not every charge is expungable in Louisiana. The state identifies some charges as too problematic to be expunged from the public record. Charges like:
Domestic abuse or violence
Distribution or manufacture of controlled drugs or dangerous substances
Crimes involved a minor under the age of 17
Is an Expungement a Complete Erasure?
The expungement process clears your charges from the public record. However, it is not a complete and total erasure. If you are arrested again or charged with further crimes, law enforcement and prosecutors may hand down more severe penalties based on your criminal history, even if those older charges have been expunged. An expungement will also not restore your rights to own a firearm or unsuspend a license. And, finally, even if you have your charges expunged from the public record, they still may be listed out in cyberspace somewhere. It’s just the nature of our modern era, where information is dispersed at an unprecedented rate. That said, if you locate your charges on one of these background check websites, you can often contact the site and ask them to take it down. Especially if your charges have been expunged from the criminal record, you can claim that the information they have is inaccurate and outdated and argue it should be taken down. We have seen some clients have success with this method, however it is a tedious process to say the least.
Are You Looking to Clear Your Criminal Record In Louisiana?
Bloom Legal can help! We have been helping people get a second chance at a clean slate for nearly 15 years in the greater New Orleans area. Even if we did not handle your case or legal proceedings, we can help expunge past offenses and charges. Call us today for a free consultation and let us get started working for you!