ASCENSION PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) – The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office held a free Tuesday morning employment and expungement event in Donaldsonville.

Such events are typically well-attended. But some people who hear about them may wonder what expungement is and who it can help.

According to the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney, expungement is a process that can help people who have a criminal charge that was either dismissed or wasn’t pursued with criminal proceedings. These people can have any public records of their arrest removed or expunged.

This means the general public can no longer access the arrest information. So, potential employers and landlords won’t be able to see the record.

“The expungement process in Louisiana is different than in other states,” said Hallye Braud, an attorney with Dewey & Braud Law, LLC. “In some states, it’s a complete destruction of the record. But in Louisiana, it’s not quite so. It’s a sealing of the record or a hiding of the record.”

Braud added, “Some professional organizations will still be able to see the record, such as doctors or pharmacists.”

The district attorney says law enforcement agencies will also be able to view the expunged record.

Who can expungement help?

Braud said, “If you have a record, getting it expunged can be incredibly helpful for getting a job or finding a place to live.”

The district attorney’s website said, “Some convictions can also be expunged: many misdemeanors can be expunged after five years without a new arrest and some felonies after 10 years without a new arrest. Misdemeanor DWI’s require a 10-year arrest free waiting period for expungement.”

But certain arrest records cannot be expunged. These include violent crimes, sex crimes, and drug distribution.

What’s the first step in the expungement process?

If someone is interested in having their record expunged, they need to obtain the court minutes and rap sheet linked to their case.

Braud said, “The first step is usually going to the Clerk of Court and getting the record for your case. Those documents, coupled with your rap sheet from Louisiana State Police will help you find out if you are eligible for an expungement. An attorney or a clinic can help you determine if you’re eligibility.”

Anyone interested in learning more about their eligibility can contact Dewey & Braud Law, LLC at (225) 414-5954 or visit the next local free expungement event. In either case, it would be helpful if they brought an ID, their court minutes, and their rap sheet to the appointment.

Visit the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana’s website to find a list of upcoming expungement events in the state.