New Orleans Expungement Lawyer
A criminal record can follow you long after your court case ends or you complete your sentence. Many landlords and employers will not do business with someone who has just an arrest for certain crimes on their record. And even many basic civil rights can be affected by a prior conviction or criminal charge.
In many cases, however, it is possible to remove a record of an arrest–and even a conviction–from your public record. This is known as expungement. This process has a number of steps that need to be carefully followed. A qualified New Orleans expungement lawyer can assist you through this process. Robert S. Toale is a Louisiana criminal defense attorney with 30 years experience in representing people who are looking to clear their names and records. His team can help you if you are thinking about pursuing a federal or state expungement.
What Will Expungement Do?
Louisiana defines expungement as the removal of a record of arrest or conviction from public access. So to be clear, an expungement will not erase your criminal record. Rather, it means that members of the public cannot access that information–and you are not required to disclose any information pertaining to the expunged records.
Here is what this means in practical terms. Say you are interviewing for a job. The employer asks if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. If the record of a prior arrest or conviction has been expunged, you may legally answer “no.” You do not even have to say there was an expungement. And if an employer does conduct a background check, no record of the expunged case will appear. (There are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you apply for a job with law enforcement.)
Many common criminal offenses can be expunged, including assault, simple battery, theft, shoplifting, and drug possession. More serious felonies such as murder and rape cannot be expunged. It is also generally not possible to expunge federal arrest and conviction records. Unlike Louisiana, there is no general federal statute governing expungements, although it is possible to expunge a first-time federal drug conviction if you were under 21 at the time.
Contact the Law Office of Robert S. Toale Today
The laws governing expungement can get quite complicated. For example, there are different “waiting periods” that apply to requesting an expungement depending on the nature and disposition of your criminal case. If you have been previously convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you need to wait at least 5 years from the completion of your sentence or probation. But if your case was formally dismissed without a conviction, you can generally apply for an expungement right away.
Even with these procedural barriers, expungement is still often a worthwhile pursuit for someone looking to rebuild their life and restore their name after an encounter with the criminal justice system. So if you need to speak with a New Orleans expungement lawyer who can assist you with your case, contact the Law Office of Robert S. Toale today.