Living with a Louisiana Criminal Record? Consider your Options!

If you’re living with a Louisiana criminal record, you already know of the various drawbacks that come with it as a result. Fortunately, Louisiana has recognized the importance of fully reintegrating those with a criminal record into society. Various laws have been passed to ensure such individuals have the same opportunities as everyone else to succeed and make a living.

If you have an arrest record or dismissed case in Louisiana, you may petition to have the record expunged. Furthermore, misdemeanor and felony convictions can qualify for expungement, so long as the waiting periods have elapsed. Finally, the expungement of some lower-level felony drug offenses is available in Louisiana as well, but a petition may only be filed once every fifteen (15) years. These different types of Louisiana expungements are subject to certain limitations and exceptions that must be overcome in order to be eligible. However, an expungement is extremely beneficial for the recipient because it is a court order which removes criminal records from public view.

Another form of relief for those with a Louisiana criminal record comes in the form of a “first offender pardon.”  A first offender is a person “convicted within this state of a felony but never previously convicted of a felony” under Louisiana law or any other jurisdiction. These individuals “shall be pardoned automatically upon completion of his or her sentence without a recommendation of the Board of pardons and without action by the governor.” The entitlement of a first offender pardon for those who are eligible is guaranteed by the state constitution and may not be infringed by statute. The Division of Probation and Parole of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections has the responsibility for the issuance of this type of first offender pardon certificate. The certificate proclaims that the offender has been restored all basic rights of citizenship, which includes the right to vote, but does not specifically restore the right to own, receive, ship and transfer firearms.

There are various requirements depending on the crime committed and the year in which you were sentenced to obtain a first offender pardon. More information on this type of reprieve can be found here. Whatever your situation may be, know that there are options available for those seeking to move past a Louisiana criminal record. For assistance with expungements in Louisiana, it is best to consult a law firm equipped with experienced attorneys.

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