Sheppard Law Expungements

Let’s face it. We all have things in our past that we may not be proud of or regret. For Amber, it’s not finding Tubbs sooner. For Tubbs, it’s not howling loud enough for another slice of bacon. In all seriousness, for some South Louisianans those past decisions or wrong place/wrong time situations means we have a perpetual blemish on our record. Amber is not able to time travel to stop your past self from making a certain decision or being in a certain place, but she can help your future by working to expunge your criminal record or public record background checks.

What Is Affected By My Public Record

· Employment opportunities

· Gun rights

· The right to vote

· Security clearances

· Parental rights

· Student loans

· College or graduate admissions

· Volunteer opportunities

· Housing

· Credit score

· Business contracts and mergers

· Ability to receive government benefits

Without an expungement, third party reporting organizations can view any convictions, pleas, and even arrests in your past. Doesn’t matter if you were guilty, not guilty, or not prosecuted. Everything still shows up.

It’s all part of public record so while you are at home waiting for that job offer, the recruiter or human resources officer is telling your potential employer about what they found. Who else uses third party reporting (aka background checks)? Housing communities, private organizations, state or federal professional organizations, and more.

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Expungements Defined

To remove something from your record in Louisiana*. This means you apply to the court where the conviction, plea, or arrest happened and ask that your arrest history and convictions be removed from public view. It is NOT removed from the law enforcement or court records.

Don’t let that last sentence stop you from applying for an expungement---the court and law enforcement will always see your record but third party organizations won’t be able to. Those blemishes on your public record can have detrimental effects on your credit, employment, and custody issues throughout the nation.

What Can Be Expunged From My Slidell, Louisiana Record

· Arrests: Even if you weren’t convicted of anything, that arrest is still part of your public record.

· Tickets and Citations

· Photographs, fingerprints

· Dispositions

· Convictions: possession of a controlled dangerous substance, select felonies, misdemeanors, DUI, DWI, juvenile criminal history.

· What CANNOT be expunged: violent offenses, sex offenses, crimes against minors, and drug trafficking offenses.

Note that just because your arrest or conviction is mentioned here it does not automatically mean you can get an expungement. There are other factors a Court considers (time frame from the arrest or completion of the sentence) and it is always up to the judge to decide if an expungement will be granted. That’s why it’s best to meet with or set up a consultation with Amber so she can talk through all the issues associated with your expungement.

How Much Does An Expungement Application Cost

The application you file with the Court, i.e. what you pay to the Clerk of Court, depends on what you are trying to expunge from your record in Louisiana. Most expungement application fees (the filing) are $550 just to the court but one involving a DUI is $650. These fees are mandated and regulated by the state.The fees and costs you would pay to Sheppard Law depends on what you would like her to do for you. Our rate is dependent on the type of expungement you are seeking.This is why we offer a consultation– so we can hear your case and determine what is the most affordable and cost-effective route for you and your family.

You may wish to file the petition (“application”), serve notice on the required parties on your own, and represent yourself (pro se) at any court hearing. Amber can discuss with you a fee for this limited scope representation for a reduced flat fee.**

You may wish for Amber to handle the entire process which includes the drafting of the Petition (“application”), gathering of all public record documents, filing preparation, filing with the Clerk of Court, service documents, attend hearings if necessary, follow up with agencies to ensure the record is expunged if granted. In short: in order for Amber to handle all the stress and headaches for you, we must charge you for our services.

If no hearing is needed then Sheppard Law offers reduced rates.

Preparation of a state-issued fee waiver***. If eligible then this means you would not have to pay the $550-$650 filing fee for your expungement (but if you hireuld still have to pay our experienced attorneys for their services in drafting your expungement and navigating the legal system on your behalf). In order to be eligible for a fee waiver you can’t have any prior or pending felonies and the offense you were prosecuted with ended in an acquittal, motion to quash, or has been dismissed/refused and the time limit for prosecution has expired. We highly recommend meeting with our Amber to determine if your case ended in any of those manners. In order to be eligible for a fee waiver you can’t have any prior or pending felonies and the offense.
Attorneys’ fees (not including the Clerk fees or expenses) generally range between $1250 and $3500 depending your case, the number of charges, whether hearings are required, whether agencies object to the expungement, and the accuracy of information you provide about your arrests and convictions. Sheppard Law bills by the hour to work on your case. If you file an expungement paperwork wrong on your end or hire an inexperienced attorney to file it and it gets rejected, then you have to pay the $500-$600 filing fee to the state…again after your failed application gets rejected. So while it may seem like you can “go it on your own” and file the applications personally, more often than not it’s better to hire a professional.

Who Can Still See My Record After Its Been Expunged

· Some law enforcement agencies or prosecutors, but only if they shall request that information in writing, certifying that it is for investigating, prosecuting, or enforcing criminal law, or for other statutorily defined law enforcement or administrative duties (such as weapons checks or “concealed carry” permits), or for the requirements of sex offender registration and notification;

· Those with a court order, but only after a contradictory hearing and for good cause shown;

· Confidentially, certain licensing boards but only under limited circumstances. Examples: the Office of Financial Institutions, Louisiana State Boards of: Medical Examiners, Nursing, Dentistry, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, Board of Psychologists, Board of Pharmacy, Department of Insurance, Social Work Examiners, Medical Services Certification Commission, Attorney Disciplinary Board, Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions

· Organizations that requesting a record pursuant to LSA-R.S. 15:587.1, if you have applied for a position requiring care and supervision of children.
Any person or entity above who fails to maintain the confidentiality of your records is subject to contempt of court sanctions.

Call Sheppard Law today and talk with Amber about your past to see if an expungement is right for you and your family.

*Amber mainly has experience with Louisiana expungements. Should you have an expungement in Mississippi she can assist you but bear in mind she may consult with another attorney or, in the interest of your cost and convenience, refer you elsewhere.

**Amber will write the Petition as your attorney, signing her name, but noting she has limited scope in representing you on the Petition itself. What occurs after the drafting of the Petition, and whether or not you file it as the client, is the client’s responsibility.

***Granting of a fee waiver or expungement is up to the Court’s discretion. Sheppard Law does not and cannot make any guarantees that once a waiver or expungement application is filed, that it will be granted by the Court.
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