Can a DUI / DWI be expunged in Louisiana?

Can a DUI / DWI be expunged in Louisiana?

Were you or a loved one arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Shreveport-Bossier? If so, you may be wondering whether or not the offense could be expunged from your driving record. Attorney Ebonee Norris has a notable track record of advocating for the rights of those who have been accused of crimes, and she is prepared to fight for residents and visitors alike. She has extensive experience helping those accused of DUI or DWI fight the charges they face, as well as helping individuals clear their criminal record.

The consequences of an arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) violation of Louisiana Revised Statute § 14:98, commonly referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), can lead to long-term consequences, beyond the immediate sentence imposed. Even after a person has served a term of imprisonment and paid all related fines, a criminal record can create many barriers to employment, housing, or professional licensing.

When a person has a crime expunged from their criminal record, the record of arrest or conviction, including photographs, fingerprints, court records, or any other information, are removed from public access.. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and other authorized agencies. can maintain a confidential, nonpublic record of the arrest and disposition that may be released to certain listed entities.

If you were convicted of OWI, DWI, or DUI in Louisiana, you should explore your rights as they relate to your criminal record. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you take the necessary steps to expunge your drunk or drugged driving arrest from your record.

The Norris Law Group can handle all of the necessary paperwork and court filings on your behalf, and provide legal representation for any hearings. Call (318) 771-7000, or contact us online, to receive a confidential consultation.

What are the laws regarding expungement in Louisiana?

Article 977 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure states that a person can file a motion to expunge their record of arrest and conviction of a misdemeanor offense when the conviction was set aside and the prosecution was dismissed, or more than five years have passed since the person completed any sentence, deferred adjudication, or period of probation or parole. In the latter scenario, the person also must not have been convicted of any felony during the five years and have no felony charge pending against them.

Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure § 977.D.(2) provides that expungement of a misdemeanor OWI, DUI, or DWI offense can occur only once during a ten-year period. Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 972, et seq. establishes that expungement "means removal of a record from public access but does not mean destruction of the record," and an expunged record is confidential but remains available for use by:

  • Law enforcement or criminal justice agencies
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions
  • Office of Disciplinary Counsel
  • Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
  • Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
  • Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners
  • Louisiana State Board of Nursing
  • Louisiana State Board of Dentistry
  • Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
  • Emergency Medical Services Certification Commission

The expunged record is also available to any person or entity requesting a criminal record of all criminal arrests and convictions pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute § 15:587.1.

Two other articles of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure that could factor into expungement concerns in OWI, DUI, or DWI cases are Article 893 and Article 894.

  • Article 893 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure allows for the suspension and deferral of sentence and probation in felony cases
  • Article 894 provides for the suspension and deferral of sentence and probation in misdemeanor cases.

When a person accepts an 893 or 894 plea, they agree to enter a plea of guilty in exchange for a sentence of probation, after which successful completion results in the dismissal of prosecution and allows for a person to petition for expungement.

What is the expungement process?

Filing for expungement in Louisiana will require a person to complete several forms. Depending on the record petitioned for expungement, an application may be required to obtain a certification of fee waiver attesting that the Office of the District Attorney has reviewed and verified that the applicant has no felony convictions, has no pending felony charges, and was acquitted, was not prosecuted, the case was dismissed, the district attorney declined to prosecute, or the applicant was found innocent.

An applicant is also required to complete a motion for expungement that includes essential information about a defendant, arrest information, information for arrests that did not result in a conviction, misdemeanor convictions, and felony convictions.

In cases involving an offense of OWI, DUI, or DWI, an applicant will need to attach proof from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles, that it has received a certified copy of the record of the plea, fingerprints of the defendant, and proof of the requirements set forth in Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure § 556.

Applicants are also required to submit a criminal background check form dated within the past 60 days, any bills of information, court minutes, certification letters from the district attorney (if applicable), and/or documentation proving you have been employed for the past 10 years (if applicable).

An affidavit of response from the district attorney may also be required to specify whether the agency consents to the waiver of a contradictory hearing or requests a contradictory hearing. An order of expungement of arrest/conviction record is also required.

Individual cases may also require the filing of supplemental sheets listing either arrests that did not result in convictions or other misdemeanor convictions.

Expunging an offense from your record

Expungement is not automatic, and it can be a perilous journey for a person to attempt to try to expunge their criminal record on their own. You will certainly benefit from having skilled legal guidance along the way.

You will likely want to preserve your ability to expunge your record as soon as you are charged with a drunk or drugged driving crime in Louisiana. An experienced attorney may also be able to assist you in obtaining a sentence in accordance with Article 893 or 894,that could allow you to petition for expungement of your record.

Expungements are often denied for reasons that could have been avoided with proper preparation. For example, failure to attach sufficient documentation from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles may result in an automatic denial in OWI, DUI, or DWI cases.

Were you convicted of OWI, DWI, or DUI in Louisiana? Do not let one arrest create a lifetime of problems. The Norris Law Group represents clients all over the greater Shreveport and Bossier areas. Call (318) 771-7000, or contact us online, to schedule a consultation.