Many people in Louisiana, as well as throughout the nation, have experienced various challenges regarding seeking gainful employment, renting homes and other basic life changes after having been charged with a crime but not convicted, or after a conviction and serving time in prison. Employers often check your criminal background when you apply for positions in their companies.
If you have multiple arrests and/or convictions on your record, it may lessen your chances of being hired. Because legislators were aware of these problems, they created laws of expungement. Such laws vary by state, with some allowing you to apply after an arrest without conviction, while others reserve eligibility to those who have completed sentences after convictions.
What exactly is expungement and what are the benefits?
Generally speaking, an expungement means that the general public is being denied access to a person's criminal records. It is actually more of a concealment than a removal of content from your record. The following are some of the basic facts regarding the use of expungement:
- Expungement helps anyone whose criminal record may pose an impediment to his or her reintegration into society after an arrest or conviction (depending on state laws.)
- If you were to apply for entrance to a particular school, for instance, an expungement would allow you to answer "no" to any questions regarding whether you've ever faced charges for a crime.
- Nowadays, the average person can conduct an online search into someone's criminal background. If your record has received an expungement, the information they are able to view will be very limited.
It can be a great relief to know that the general population can not access a part of your life you'd likely rather forget. Some people, such as police officers and/or some prosecutors may still be able to access your criminal file after an expungement under certain circumstances.
How does it all work?
Although expungement eligibility and regulations vary by state, the first part of the process typically involves the person seeking the concealment. The basic process is as follows:
- The person seeking expungement files a petition in court.
- A statement of reason is included in the petition, meaning why you (or whoever is making the request) believe the court should approve the request.
- The court reviews the application.
- The court grants or denies the request.
One of the main advantages of expungement is that an arrest or conviction can not resurface in your life as an obstacle to success when you're applying for a job, trying to rent an apartment or wanting to further your education. As with many other aspects of the criminal justice system, chances of accomplishing your goals may greatly increase if you act alongside experienced representation in court.
A Louisiana attorney can clarify expungement laws in this state and can also review your application before you submit it to help you craft a petition that has the highest probability of being approved.