Questions about Criminal Records

Posted on: August 9, 2021
The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Sealing or expunging criminal records– automatic in some states, but not Louisiana.

Almost 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have some kind of criminal record.

Because the record can affect your ability to get a job, most states allow it to be sealed after a period of time. This removes it from public records, though police and certain government searches can still find it. In Louisiana this is called “expungement.”

About a dozen states so far have laws that automatically seal completed records.  Not Louisiana.

In Louisiana many records cannot be expunged. Expunging usually costs $550 or more. It can be complicated and can take many months.

There is a Louisiana law that courts should not charge the costs for this or should not charge them in advance. La. C.Cr.P. Art. 983. But not many attorneys have been using it and the courts may not know about it.

If you live in Jefferson Parish and have a Jefferson Parish record needing expungement, SLLS may be able to help with the court costs if it has grant funds available and you are eligible for our free legal services; call (504) 529-1000, ext. 287 to find out.

If you can pay the court costs yourself, the Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, at, may be able to help you fill out the court’s expungement forms, and explain the court process to you.  JACLA has free clinics where you can get help to go through the process on your own.

If you think you need legal representation in court, you are welcome to apply for our free legal services at, to see if you are eligible.

For more information about what other states have done for Americans with criminal records, to help them get jobs and ease the process, see

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