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What Is A Criminal Record In Louisiana?

Louisiana criminal records contain an official summary of a subject’s alleged and convicted criminal activities in Louisiana. Also known as a rap sheet, Louisiana criminal records show a chronological history of a person’s previous and active criminal convictions recorded in parishes or state jurisdictions.

Generally, the information contained in a criminal record is assembled from city courts and district courts as well as correctional facilities within the state. While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies across parishes, a large percentage of Louisiana criminal records are organized in online record databases that are available to the public in the form of a criminal background report.

What Is In A Louisiana Criminal Record?

Most criminal records provide details of the subject as well as specific information related to the criminal charge. Some of these include:

  • The Subject’s full name and any known aliases
  • Date of birth
  • Physical descriptions (race, sex, tattoos, etc.)
  • Details of any past arrests
  • Pending charges
  • Past or current warrants
  • Photograph
  • Conviction status
  • Post-conviction status

A criminal record is usually comprehensive enough to provide the necessary information on a person’s conviction history. Nevertheless, other police records supplement the information obtained in rap sheets. These include arrest records, arrest warrants, incident reports, and police logs. These police records are subject to varying levels of public availability.

Are Louisiana Criminal Records Public?

The state’s Public Records Law only permits the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information to give copies of Louisiana criminal records to authorized entities. These entities include individuals named on the criminal record, certain public agencies, and in-state employers (RS 15:587). Due to the restrictions to getting criminal records and other police records, interested public requesters have increasingly used independent aggregate websites to obtain Louisiana criminal records.

Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:

  • The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
  • The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.

Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.

How To Obtain Criminal Records In Louisiana

There are three ways to obtain an official Louisiana criminal record from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification. First, authorized entities may conduct an internet background check for criminal records in Louisiana. Each name-based criminal record search costs $26.00. However, note that this online service requires account registration. Furthermore, new users must get prior authorization from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety.

Meanwhile, in-state employers and agencies that wish to access criminal records in Louisiana must use the authorization form to request criminal records. Requesters must also attach a disclosure form and payment for the request.

Enclose the criminal record application packet in a self-addressed envelope and mail it to:

Louisiana State Police
Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information
P.O. Box 66614 (Mail Slip A-6)
Baton Rouge, LA 70896

Likewise, individuals who wish to obtain or review criminal records on themselves may visit the Bureau in person at:

7919 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA. 

The same requirements apply. Generally, the requester must prepare payment in the form of a money order, cashier’s check, or business check. The Bureau of Criminal Identification charges $26.00 for processing and $10 for fingerprinting. Furthermore, self-requesters must present a valid state-issued photo ID or driver’s license to process the request.

Self-requesters who cannot visit in person must prepare a set of fingerprints, an authorization form, and a rap disclosure form. These self-requesters must also prepare payment in the form of a money order, cashier’s check, or business check. Then, the requester must enclose the application packet in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail it to: 

Bureau of Criminal Identification
P.O. Box 66614 Mail Slip A-6
Baton Rouge, LA 70896

Generally, mail-in requests take 15 to 21 days to process. Furthermore, all three request methods require the requester to pay a small fee to obtain the criminal record of interest.  Still, a requester can get free criminal records if the record custodian grants a fee waiver. Alternatively, the requester may turn to third-party databases for free public criminal record checks. However, the downside with this alternative is that the accuracy of these free criminal records is not guaranteed.  

What Is An Arrest Record?

An arrest record in Louisiana provides summarized information about individuals who have been taken into custody or placed in detention by city, parish, or state law enforcement officers. Some of the information contained in an arrest record includes:

  • Name of the person held for investigation
  • Photograph(s)
  • Fingerprints
  • Details of the charge

Louisiana is a closed record state, and police records are not usually open to the public.While arrest records are included in police records, police records are not included in arrest records.

Are Arrest Records Public In Louisiana?

It depends. Public requesters may obtain arrest records from the arresting agency if the arrest information does not compromise any active investigation. Otherwise, the arresting agency shall not release the arrest record. Note that the city, parish, or state law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest is the custodian of arrest records in Louisiana.

Note that interested requesters who submit a request to obtain arrest records must pay a fee that covers the cost of reproducing the record. Requesters who request a fee waiver may obtain free arrest records from the arresting agency. Otherwise, a requester may check free databases that post public arrest records online. However, remember that records from such free databases are often erroneous or display partial information at best.

What Is An Arrest Warrant?

A Louisiana arrest warrant is an official document that gives a police officer the authority to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warrant. Warrants are signed by a judge or magistrate. To obtain a warrant, police officers will need to make a valid persuasive argument backed by objective evidence justifying the need for a warrant (show probable cause). Publicly available arrest warrants are available on the arresting agency’s website. Interested persons need only provide the subject’s name to perform an active warrant search on these websites.

In the state of Louisiana, warrantless arrests can be made in specific instances, such as when a police officer witnesses a crime or if a police officer has credible reason to believe an individual committed a crime.

What Are Jail And Inmate Records?

Jail and inmate records are official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone deprived of his/her civil liberties while on trial for a crime or a person serving a sentence after being convicted.

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections maintains a 24-hour inmate search system that is accessible to the public. Interested persons may call the offender locator phone system on (225) 383-4580.

What Is The Louisiana Sex Offender Registry?

The Louisiana sex offender registry is a database of persons convicted of sex crimes in Louisiana. The Louisiana State Police maintains this state registry and makes it accessible to interested members of the public. Concerned persons can look up the registered sex offender information based on the offender’s name, alias, location, phone number, and internet address. A typical search will display the offender’s full name, photograph, physical description, and compliance status. If the offender is not in jail, the registry will list the offender’s known address and vehicle information.

Louisiana state laws require every sex offender to register with the local law enforcement after release from custody. Furthermore, the offender must notify law enforcement of every intention to change physical address within or outside Louisiana. Depending on the sex offender’s tier, the local law enforcement may send a mass broadcast to the community residents. In the same way, the offender must notify prospective employers and neighbors of their offender status throughout the period of registration. Generally, the period of registration depends on the sex offender tier. The following types of individuals must register as sex offenders:

  • Any adult residing in the state who has pled guilty to or has been convicted of a sex offense.
  • Any adult whose adjudication has been deferred or withheld for the perpetration or attempted perpetration, or any conspiracy to commit a sex offense.
  • Any juvenile, who has attained the age of fourteen years at the time of committing the sex offense.
  • Any juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent based upon the act, attempt, or conspiracy to commit any sex offense.

These offenders must also present for compliance check and information update, depending on their offender tier. The law requires low-tier sex offenders to present at least once a year. Higher tier sex offenders must present for registration at least two times a year—and in some cases, every three months.

What Is An OWI In Louisiana? 

OWI is a serious traffic violation where an individual drives or operates a vehicle after consuming alcohol or using a substance that alters physical or mental state. Generally, law enforcement will charge a driver with OWI after a chemical test shows blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. Per RS 14:98, Louisiana sets the BAC level at 0.08. Drivers charged with OWI lose driving privileges on the spot pending a court hearing.

The consequences of drunk driving in Louisiana depend on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Besides license suspension, offenders also face jail time, fines, probation, community service, ignition interlock installation, increased insurance premiums, and mandatory substance abuse rehabilitation. The driver must also complete an administrative review with the Office of Motor Vehicles before lost driving privileges are reinstated.

What Is A Misdemeanor In Louisiana?

Misdemeanors are a category of non-indictable offenses that are generally less severe than felonies. Under Louisiana’s laws, misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable with fines or incarceration or incarceration in the parish or local jail for up to 1 year. Unlike felonies, they are not punishable with hard labor.  In Louisiana, lawmakers designate crimes as misdemeanors and fix sentences on a crime-by-crime basis.

Some examples of misdemeanors in the state of Louisiana include:

  • Simple assault
  • Prostitution
  • Conspiracy
  • DUI (depending on the number of offenses)
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism
  • Theft (value less than $500)
  • Possession of a controlled substance

What Is A Felony In Louisiana?

Felony offenses are the most severe type of crimes with a maximum sentence of more than 1 year. In some cases, a felony conviction can even be punished by death. Lawmakers designate each crime by class (such as “Class A felonies” or “level 1 felony”). Each class has its own sentence or range of sentences. Louisiana does things differently and fixes sentences on a crime-by-crime basis. Examples of crimes that qualify as felony offenses in the state of Louisiana include:

  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Aggravated assault
  • Arson
  • Three DWI convictions
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Theft of item or property more than $500
  • Armed Robbery

Louisiana Parole Information

Parole records are an official document that includes information regarding the release of a prisoner who agreed to certain conditions prior to the completion of their maximum sentence. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board shall require as a condition of parole that they pay a monthly supervision fee of not less than $30, unless the board agrees to accept a lower fee after determining the inability of the prisoner to pay. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems appropriate in order to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Louisiana are served.

Louisiana Probation Records

Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in Louisiana to serve their sentences out of custody as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case.

Louisiana Juvenile Criminal Records

A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information regarding criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead, are found to be “adjudicated delinquent.” These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. Suppose a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense. In that case, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.

What Is A Conviction Record?

A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges can be classified as a felony, misdemeanor, or other offense. Conviction records may also include when a person has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged, or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned, or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed, or otherwise rendered inoperative.

Louisiana History And Accuracy Of Criminal Records

The accuracy of criminal records data largely depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Louisiana criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the early 1970s—which is when different institutions began to compile criminal and arrest data into an organized, centralized database, much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past. However, since the 1990s, the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping have improved exponentially due to technology.



Louisiana State Archives

State Archives

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Criminal Record

Criminal Record

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