Louisiana’s expungement provisions apply to many nonviolent offenses, and allows for multiple expungements. The waiting period is ten years after the completion of all conditions of the sentence, including parole or probation, which means that most individuals are only eligible after spending over a decade in the community. Expungements must be approved by judges, and state agencies have the opportunity to object to the expungement. The law could be improved by increasing the number of offenses eligible for expungement, decreasing the waiting period, decreasing costs, and allowing at least some expungements to be granted automatically if the individual has committed no further criminal offenses.
Broad expungement provisions
Louisiana’s expungement laws apply to most nonviolent convictions, but exclude a number of drug offenses, including sale of a controlled substance. The law allows for multiple expungements as long as the conditions for expungement are met. Provisions passed in 2020 (Acts 70, 71, and 78) reduced some barriers to expungement by reducing documentation requirements, eliminating lifetime caps, and extending eligibility to individuals who received alternatives to incarceration.
An offense is only eligible for expungement ten years after the completion of the sentence, including parole or probation sentences and the payment of all fines and fees. The state adopted a streamlined process for expungement for victims of human trafficking in 2022, requiring a report to the legislature on its effectiveness. This process could be monitored and expanded to include needy individuals seeking expungement.
Expungements must be approved by a judge and state agencies have the opportunity to object. While Act 1 from 2019 reduced some fees associated with expungement, costs can still be a challenge for those with limited financial resources. Louisiana’s expungement costs are some of the highest in the country, ranging from $ 350 to $550 plus legal fees.
CCRP 978, 980, 983