Article 894 in Louisiana: Everything You Need to Know
What is Article 894?
Article 894 in Louisiana is the code of criminal procedure article that allows for a misdemeanor conviction to be set aside and dismissed after successful completion of probation. Then, the defendant is in the position to be able to immediately get the conviction off his/her record through the expungement process. Therefore, the most important benefit to pleading guilty under article 894 is that it allows the defendant a chance to clean up his record right after probation.
How many times can I use article 894?
Generally, an 894 can be used every 5 years for regular misdemeanors and every 10 years for DWI convictions. There are exceptions.
Who Can’t Get an Article 894?
Article 894 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure specifically denies even a suspended sentence for misdemeanor Criminal Neglect of Family or Stalking.
The most important aspect of article 894 is being able to expunge the conviction. The expungement laws deny the ability to expunge sex offenses, domestic abuse battery convictions, and stalking.
It is strictly within the judge’s discretion whether or not you can get an article 894. There is no law requiring the judge to sentence a defendant under article 894 in Louisiana. The judge may look at your background to see if you have any other arrests and convictions. He may consider the facts and circumstances of the case. In some situations, there may be an agreed sentence not allowing for the 894 in exchange for no jail time. An experienced criminal defense attorney should know how to approach this situation to try to get the 894 if that is what’s best for the defendant.
What does Article 894 do?
Article 894 sets the case up so that if the defendant successfully completes misdemeanor probation, he can immediately ask the court to set aside the conviction and dismiss the case, rather than wait five years. The defendant must not get re-arrested or convicted during probation and must pay all restitution and comply with other terms of probation. If the defendant unsuccessfully completes probation, the judge may deny the 894. If the judge grants the 894 after successful completion of probation, the conviction will be set aside and the case dismissed.
Conviction Can Still Be Used Against You
If you get an 894, and the judge grants it after completion of probation, the conviction can still be used against you later for enhancement purposes. Some criminal charges get enhanced by prior convictions, making the misdemeanor in to a felony or the sentence more sever. For example, DWI first and second offense are misdemeanors. Third offense DWI is a felony. The prosecutor can use the prior misdemeanor convictions to enhance the new arrest, making it a felony. Therefore, even if the defendant received an 894 for a DWI first offense, conviction set aside, expungement filed, the conviction can still be used to enhance subsequent prosecutions.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Article 894
Carl Barkemeyer is a criminal defense attorney in Louisiana that has been able to get clients sentenced under article 894 hundreds of times. He knows all the specifics as to how to approach these situations and find what is best for his clients. Feel free to call him at 225-964-6720 to discuss your pending case or visit his website for more information. You can learn more about his criminal law firm below: