New Louisiana Law Allows Most People to Expunge Their Records Immediately After Completing Their Sentences or Probation. Big News!

January 24, 2020 | Category: News

A change to the Louisiana Expungement Law that went quietly into effect on August 1, 2019, greatly expands the availability of expungements for people with felony convictions, and it even slightly reduces the overall court costs for many applicants.

Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 978 was amended to make anyone who is entitled to a “first offender’s pardon” immediately eligible for an expungement upon completing his or her sentence (or probation), as long as the offense they are attempting to expunge is not a crime of violence or a sex offense.

In effect, this new rule does away with the usual 10-year waiting period for most felony expungements.

The so-called first offender pardon is found in Article IV, Section 5(E)(1) of the Louisiana Constitution and automatically pardons people convicted for a first time non-violent felony or convicted of aggravated battery, second degree battery, aggravated assault, mingling harmful substances, aggravated criminal damage to property, purse snatching, extortion, or illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, once they have completed their sentence.

As a result of these laws, someone convicted only once of a non-violent felony offence and who did not get the benefit of sentencing under the “set aside” provisions of Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893, still may expunge a conviction immediately upon completion of sentence and without the 10-year waiting period previously required. And now that there is no need for the Article 893 set-aside to waive the 10-year delay, even those who were given the benefit of that provision no longer need to incur the additional costs of filing the 893 paperwork.

So the bottom line is that all first non-violent offenders now may immediately apply for expungement, regardless of the technical manner in which they were sentenced. No 10-year waiting. No need for an Article 893 set-aside. Immediate eligibility upon completion of sentence.