It is more challenging to get criminal and court records in the State of Louisiana than in other states, largely because online information about how to get those records isn’t high on search engines as in other states. Also, the state is a closed information state, which means the public can’t readily access information as in other states.
There are only a few agencies allowed access to criminal information in Louisiana. Internet access is limited to specific agencies and the Louisiana State Patrol is limited on how and to whom it will release information.
Additionally, there are several forms and procedures that must be followed in order to get criminal records information from the state.
Criminal history is kept by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information in the Louisiana Computerized Criminal History system. It includes information on arrests, disposition of the case, and incarceration for the state.
There are two places to get these types of records in Louisiana. One is with the Louisiana State Police. The other is with the courts. There are several forms to fill out to obtain various criminal and court records. While those forms are available online at the LSP website, someone wishing to search those records will still need to fill out the right form.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of Louisiana, criminal records are available through the Louisiana State Police and courthouses.
What is included in a Louisiana criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a Louisiana criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, a Louisiana criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Traffic records
- Past and outstanding arrest warrants
- Prior arrests
- Pending and dismissed charges
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are several reasons for looking up a criminal record.
- Someone may want to see their own record to make sure some past issues are reported correctly or to challenge a false report.
- People may need it to get a security clearance, or to get a license that requires it. Some licensing trade groups, from contractors to caretakers, require a background check to gain a license. Teachers and those working in preschools are required to have background checks.
- In some incidences, lawyers or other courts do background checks for investigations and evidence in other later cases. A background check can also be used as an alibi.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
When you access a criminal record, the person listed on the record may have an offense listed. Criminal offenses are usually broken into three categories: Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
An infraction is a minor violation, a misdemeanor is more serious, and a felony is the most serious type of crime.
To better understand the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each offense and its severity:
- Infraction: A small traffic violation or littering are considered infractions. An infraction is a minor violation of the law. Usually, punishments are a warning or a fine. Typically, no jail time is associated with an infraction.
- Misdemeanor: If someone were to get a DUI or a drug violation, it’s considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less severe than a felony. Jail time of less than a year or probation are usually associated with these types of crimes. Likely, the offender will do time in a local or county jail.
- Felony: Murder, rape, and arson are considered felony charges. A felony is the most serious type of crime. Offenders are typically sentenced to jail for more than a year and are likely held in a state or federal facility.
What is the difference between a Louisiana arrest record and a Louisiana criminal record?
An arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest. A criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
Both types of documents are usually public records in the United States, although information about specific arrests may be sealed and rendered inaccessible to the public for a variety of reasons.
Whether an arrest record or a criminal record is accessed, the information listed is for state crimes only. If a person is involved in a federal crime, this information is not listed on a state record.
How do I search for a Louisiana criminal record?
The first place to start when searching for a criminal record in Louisiana is at the Louisiana State Police website. This is where someone searching will fill out the appropriate form to get a criminal record from the state.
There is a way to do an internet background check, but users will need to register with the site to use it. However, only authorized agencies can use the internet site. This includes non-licensed health care providers, the Board of River Port Pilots, daycares who care for less than six children, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Office of Vital Statistics, the Public Housing Commission, the Senate and Governmental Affairs, and others working with children.
The internet search is only a name-based search and can’t be used for agencies requiring fingerprints.
Getting criminal records in Louisiana can be difficult because it is a closed record state. That means it only allows background requests for agencies authorized to receive that information. Louisiana State Police isn’t authorized to perform requests for litigations, immigration, housing, work visas, or personal use.
Employers outside the State of Louisiana may request background checks on current employees but will receive only conviction information. Adoption agencies outside the state may also make requests and will receive arrest and conviction information.
Those seeking criminal records can also request information from the LSP by mail. It appears from information on the LSP website that those seeking their own records or for licensing purposes can obtain records that way.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a Louisiana criminal record?
Those requesting will need to fill out an authorization form along with the appropriate form for the type of request made. For instance, there is a general disclosure form for employment, a RAP disclosure form for boards and licensing mandates, and a right to review form for an individual to check their own record. There is also a form for attorneys to use.
Forms are turned into the LSP and then the request for criminal records can be processed. A state background check is $26. It can be paid online using a major debit or credit card. Information on those without a record can receive a notification within 24 hours. Those with a record and fingerprints may take 15 to 21 days.
How do I search for Louisiana criminal case court records?
There are no online court records available in Louisiana. Those seeking court records will need to make their requests in person, over the phone, or by mail to the local court handling the case. There is a fee, but it can vary depending on the number of records requested.
Those seeking court records should reach out to the local county court clerk to find out what forms are required to obtain records in a court case.
Does Louisiana allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
Yes. the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information processed court-ordered expungements. This is a complicated process that requires seeking a court order. The expunged criminal record technically remains on record but is removed from public access once the court order is issued.
How can I have false information on a Louisiana criminal record corrected?
There is nothing specifically stated about how to have false criminal information removed in Louisiana, but general law in every state allows people to challenge falsehoods in their records. Challenges are heard in court and the agency must fix the error with a court order. The first place to start is to find out what is on a criminal record. Those challenging will also need documentation relating to the incident to prove their case.
How long are Louisiana criminal records kept on file?
Criminal records, which in Louisiana include driving drunk, hit and run, negligent injury, and loud music, are kept indefinitely. Other minor traffic offenses are kept on file for three years.