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Criminal Charges/Sex Crimes/Trafficking


Criminal Charges


A crime is an act done in violation of the Louisiana Criminal Code, acts of the Louisiana Legislature, or the constitution of Louisiana.
If arrested, you can expect to be searched for weapons by the police and taken to a police station. You will be advised of your rights under the U.S. Constitution, through what is commonly called a “Miranda warning.” As soon as you request an attorney, the police are supposed to stop questioning you. It is your right to remain silent and not answer questions, and you also have the right to a phone call. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you. You may be held at a detention facility until you make your first appearance at a hearing before a judge. You are given a hearing within 72-hours at which the judge will set your bail amount and appoint an attorney to you, if needed.
You can be charged as an adult as early as the age of 15, depending on the crime.
If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you at your initial hearing.
Expungement is a court order to remove an arrest or conviction record from public access, but it does not mean destruction of the record. When a record is expunged, the public (including employers) should not be able to find out about prior arrests and convictions. But law enforcement officials and agencies, criminal justice agencies, and other state agencies as stated under Louisiana Law may still be able to find out about your record. A criminal record may keep you from getting schooling, housing, a job, a license, or a permit you need for a job, so getting an expungement, if possible, can help you support yourself and your family.
  • In Louisiana, adult arrest and conviction records for an arrest that resulted in conviction usually cannot be expunged. A conviction exists if you pled guilty or no contest or were found guilty after a trial. But there are a few exceptions.
  • Juvenile records may be expunged as well, but the rules are different from those for crimes committed as an adult. If you want to learn more about expunging juvenile records you can contact the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights at http://www.laccr.org/.  
  • To have juvenile criminal records expunged you must meet these qualifications:
    • You must be 17 years or older to apply for expungement of a juvenile record.
    • Juvenile arrests may be expunged if they did not result in adjudication (i.e., conviction by guilty or no contest plea or trial).
    • Misdemeanor adjudication records (conviction by guilty or no contest plea or trial) may be expunged if it has been more than 2 years since you satisfied the most recent judgment against you.
    • Adjudication for certain felonies (those other than murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, armed robbery, and sex crimes) might be expungeable if more than 5 years have passed since satisfaction of your last judgment.
  • Applications may be filed immediately following an acquittal or successful motion to quash.
    • If the time limit for prosecution has run out and the District Attorney dismissed or refused prosecution, then an application for expungement may be possible. Generally, the DA has a specific amount of time after the date of the offense within which charges must instituted. As of July 2016:
      • No limit: Crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment
      • 10 years: Sex crimes against juveniles
      • 6 years: Felonies punishable by imprisonment and hard labor
      • 4 years: Felonies not necessarily punishable by imprisonment or hard labor
      • 2 years: Misdemeanors punishable by fine or imprisonment
      • 6 months: Misdemeanors punishable by fine
An expungement requires a court's approval. There are uniform forms in Louisiana that all courts will accept assuming it is the proper venue, the form is filled out correctly, and the person who files the motion is eligible for expungement. As of July, 2016, fill out the required forms and submit them to the Court with a background check that was acquired within thirty (30) days of the filing date. For example, if you are filing your expungement on January 30, 2015, then your background check must not be issued before January 1, 2015 and must be issued on or after January 1, 2015.
As of July 2016, the cost of expungement is $550. The amount must be paid in full at the time of filing because several agencies will receive a portion of this cost. They are as follows: $250 goes to the Louisiana State Police, $200 goes to the Criminal District Court Clerk, $50 goes to the parish District Attorney, and $50 goes to the parish sheriff.


Sex Crimes


Carnal knowledge of a juvenile occurs when a person who is 17 or older has sexual intercourse with a person who is more than two years younger than them, but older than 13, regardless of whether the underage person gave consent. The lack of knowledge of the juvenile’s age is not a defense.
The penalties vary depending on the age difference between the offender and the juvenile. A person who commits this crime may be fined up to $5000, or imprisoned (with or without hard labor) for up to 10 years and may be required to register as a sex offender.
“Sexting” is the act of sending sexually charged material, for example nude photos, via cell phone text messages.
You may be charged for child pornography if you send nude photographs or videos of a person under 17-years-old. You may be charged for solicitation of minor’s photography if you are 17-years-old or older and begin sexting with a person who is more than two years younger, but older than 13. The penalties vary depending on the nature and severity of the crime and may require the offender to register as a sex offender.
Rape is the act of anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse with a person without their consent. This includes “date rape,” in which the victim knows the rapist. A person can also be charged with rape if they have intercourse with a person whose judgment is impaired due to drugs or alcohol, or the person has a physical or mental infirmity. A person can be charged with rape whenever the victim is under the age of 13, and not knowing that the person is under age is not a defense to rape. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is enough to be considered rape.
The penalties for rape vary depending on the facts of each case, but the offender will be required to register as a sex offender and can be sentenced to prison.



Trafficking

Human trafficking occurs when a person knowingly does one of the following things: recruit, harbor, transport, provide, solicit, receive, isolate, entice obtain or maintain the use of another person through fraud, force, or coercion to provide services or labor.
  • If someone is a victim of trafficking, this can be a defense to charges of prostitution, prostitution by massage, sexual conduct prohibited, crime against nature, or crime against nature by solicitation. This defense is available when the crimes listed were committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
Sex trafficking refers to the use of force to recruit a person to provide sexual services. Human trafficking includes sex trafficking and trafficking for other types of services or labor. Such as trafficking to have persons work as day laborers (persons who are employed one day at a time).


Louisiana State Bar Association
601 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 421-LSBA(5722) / (504) 566-1600