FRESH START PROGRAM
Description and Application Information
District Attorney Warren Montgomery will launch his new Fresh Start Program on Saturday, November 18, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Justice Center in downtown Covington. The program is designed to give individuals the opportunity to clear a past arrest or conviction in St. Tammany or Washington Parishes from their criminal records, if they qualify under state law for a process called Expungement.
Many who may qualify have been discouraged from applying to get their records expunged because of the costs ($550 in fees alone) and because the process can be long and difficult without the help of an attorney, which would add thousands of dollars to the actual cost.
The Fresh Start Program offers a one-day event, where up to 100 pre-qualified participants can walk away with their records expunged for a significantly reduced fee of $100 per person. D.A. Montgomery has brought together all of the required agencies to reduce the costs and shorten the expungement process to a single day. The program’s goal is to help citizens who have lost job opportunities and other privileges because of their past mistakes move into a brighter future.
Participants in the Nov. 18th event MUST be pre-qualified PRIOR TO THE EVENT. Follow the 4 steps below for pre-qualification.
STEP ONE – DO I QUALIFY?
1. Was your Arrest in the 22nd JDC (Washington & St. Tammany Parish)?
If yes, move to question #2. If no, we cannot serve you at this event.
2. If your record includes one of the following crimes you are not eligible to apply. If your record does not include one of the following go to STEP TWO.
- A crime involving a minor who is under the age of 17
- A crime of violence pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 14:2(B)*
- Distribution or manufacture of any drug or controlled dangerous substance
*LIST OF CRIMES OF VIOLENCE
|Solicitation for murder||First degree murder||Second degree murder|
|Manslaughter||Aggravated battery||Second degree battery|
|Aggravated assault||Mingling harmful substances||Aggravated or first degree rape|
|Forcible or second degree rape||Simple or third degree rape||Sexual battery|
|Second degree sexual battery||Intentional exposure to AIDS virus||Aggravated Kidnapping|
|Second degree kidnapping||Simple kidnapping||Aggravated arson|
|Aggravated criminal damage to property||Aggravated burglary||Armed robbery|
|First degree robbert||Simple robbery||Purse snatching|
|Extortion||Assault by drive-by shooting||Aggravated crime against nature|
|Carjacking||Illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities||Terrorism|
|Aggravated second degree battery||Aggravated assault upon a peace officer||Aggravated assault with a firearm|
|Armed robbery; use of firearm||Second degree robbery||Disarming of a peace officer|
|Stalking||Second degree cruelty to juveniles||Aggravated flight from an officer|
|Battery of a police officer||Trafficking of children for sexual purposes||Human trafficking|
|Home invasion||Domestic abuse aggravated assault||Vehicular homicide|
STEP TWO – Get pre-screened.
You must be pre-screened to participate in this process. You can make a call or in person at either Bogalusa or Covington. Choose one of the following ways to begin:
EITHER Call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to speak with an attorney between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 985-893-0076 OR Attend “Ask A Lawyer Day” on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the St. Tammany Parish Library, 310 W. 21st Ave., Covington
STEP THREE – AWAIT ELIGIBILITY CONFIRMATION. Once your application and background check have been completed as part of the pre-screening process, a program administrator will contact you to let you know whether you are eligible to participate in the Fresh Start Program on Saturday, Nov. 18th. You will be assigned a group and a time to attend.
STEP FOUR – ATTEND EVENT On Saturday, Nov. 18th, you will meet with a volunteer attorney, who will provide a final review of your application. If you meet all of the requirements, you will receive final approval from the required public agencies, and pay a fee of $100 (a U.S. Postal Service Money Order only!) and walk away with an expunged record.
District Attorney Montgomery is grateful for the support of the program’s co-sponsors:
St. Tammany Parish Clerk Melissa Henry
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith
Washington Parish Clerk Of Court Johnny Crain
Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal.
Mr. Montgomery also offers a special thanks to his Community Partners, who assisted in the planning and intake for the event:
Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
Louisiana United International and the East St. Tammany NAACP
New Orleans Paralegal Association
Northshore Community Foundation