There are four ways to remove a felony from your record – each with its own procedure.

The first, and simplest way, to remove a felony from your record occurs in cases that do not result in a conviction.  These are the easiest cases to expunge since the costs associated with processing the expungement are waived.

There a three ways to become eligible for this fee-waiver type of expungement: first, the State decides not to file charges; second, the State dismisses charges; and third, the defendant successfully completes a pre-trial diversion program.

The second way to expunge a felony from your record is what’s called an “893” plea.  The number “893” refers to the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article authorizing this type of expungement.  In this type of case, the sentencing judge delays the imposition of sentence and places the defendant on probation.  Upon successfully completing probation, the conviction is set aside, allowing the case to be expunged from your record.  Only non-violent and most drug possession offenses are eligible.  This expungement does not destroy evidence of your case, rather it shields it from public view. But there are exceptions, most notably the medical profession and other industries may still require disclosure.

An 893 expungement still counts as a felony conviction for future law enforcement purposes.

The third way to remove a felony from your record would be to apply for a 10-year felony expungement.  This is a newer provision that allows for non-violent felonies to be expunged 10 years after sentencing, provided there were no new convictions. Like the 893 expungement, this provision is a “shielding” provision and does not authorize the destruction of records pertaining to your case.

The fourth way to remove a felony conviction from your record is to apply for a pardon from the state’s governor.  Louisiana has a pardon board created to review claims and make recommendations to the governor.  A favorable vote from the board is required but does not guarantee a pardon. The governor’s signature is necessary.

André Bélanger, a graduate of Loyola University, is a highly-respected criminal defense attorney serving the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and surrounding areas of Ascension Parish and New Orleans, for one of Baton Rouge’s top-25 law firms. In his 15 years of practicing law, Mr. Bélanger has handled thousands of criminal cases at both the pre-trial and trial stage, including approximately 200 trials. This trial experience includes homicide defense and prosecution, large drug conspiracies and fraud cases making Bélanger one of the few attorneys capable of handling even the largest, most complex federal cases. Having spent years devoted to developing a top-tier regional law practice for federal court and state court litigation, Mr. Bélanger is admitted to practicing law in all federal courts in both Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, the United States Supreme Court and the U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.