7 Next Steps Once an Expungement is Filed

Once an expungement is filed, it is important that practitioners or pro se applicants keep track of the case to ensure that it is timely handled by the court. While expungements do not require a contradictory hearing and may be signed off docket if no agency opposes the expungement, keeping track of the dates will ensure it is timely granted and that you or your client receives notice of the expungement.

Under La. C.Cr.P. art. 980(B)–(C), a court can only accept an opposition to a Motion for Expungement within 60 days of the date of service, but may grant a 30-day extension. This means that if the court does not affirmatively grant an extension, you or your client can expect that an expungement should be granted approximately 60 days from service. Because expungements are closed matters to the court, they may not appear as a regularly scheduled or open matter for the court to address. In practice, it may be helpful to ask the division minute clerk to set the matter on the docket 60 days (or as close as possible) from service to ensure that the matter is not left unresolved.

If an agency opposes the expungement on legal grounds, a contradictory hearing must be set. The court will consider the reasons for the opposition to determine if the individual is legally eligible for their expungement. If eligible, the order will be signed at the hearing, but if the court finds the person is ineligible, the expungement may be denied, and the person forfeits all filing fees they may have paid. This is why the initial screening and a complete picture of a person’s record are critical for determining eligibility and providing accurate information and advice on which expungements should or should not be filed. A denial of an expungement could also trigger a court debt for individuals who filed IFP, as judgment will have been rendered against them.

Regardless of when/how the expungement is granted, you will want to be sure that you receive a certified copy of the expungement order for your files and for your client to keep in a waterproof, fireproof, safe place as most courts will never provide future copies. You should also expect a letter from LSP approximately 2 months after the order is granted with a form called a “Certificate of Compliance,” which affirms that LSP has expunged the record from public view and informed the FBI of the expungement. This should also be kept in a waterproof, fireproof, safe place, but can be reissued for a cost if lost. Because there is a possibility that agencies may fail to remove expunged arrests or convictions, keeping these records will enable you or your client to have the expunged matters removed.

Disclaimer: The articles in the Gillis Long Desk Manual do not contain any legal advice.