Legally speaking, an arrest is not the same as a conviction. The charges may be dropped and an arrested person released from custody for various reasons, including, but not limited to, the fact that someone else has been charged with committing the crime. An arrest is generally not considered proof that the arrested person engaged in the criminal conduct they were charged with. A conviction, on the other hand, is a different matter-it is often more than likely that the person engaged in the conduct they were charged with.
Many people believe that once they have been released from custody and charges have been dropped, their arrest will go away, but this is unfortunately not the case. In most situations, an arrest remains on one’s record, and even though businesses across the country, including those in Louisiana, are supposed to disregard an arrest for the purpose of hiring someone, they often hesitate to do so.
So, what is one supposed to do? Get their record expunged. The court-ordered process is one through which the defendant’s record is sealed or erased in the eyes of the law. This means it will not appear on background checks, unless conducted by government agencies or law enforcement agencies. Not everyone can apply for an expungement, however- the jurisdiction of the arrest, the amount of time since the arrest, the nature of the crime and the charges and criminal history all play a role in determining eligibility.
It may be in one’s best interest to get their record expunged, as it affects employment, education and even relationship opportunities. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to guide Louisiana residents through the process to ensure they can move on with their lives and take advantage of new opportunities.