Listen to this interview with the D.A. discussing the Fresh Start Program.

                   

Description and Application Information

If you feel you meet the below criteria, leave a message at 985-809-8394

District Attorney Warren Montgomery has launched his new Fresh Start Program. The program is designed to give individuals the opportunity to clear a past arrest or conviction for a minor offense 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.

Through the Fresh Start Program individuals go through a pre-qualification and screening process via the telephone, and if they qualify, they will walk away with their records expunged. Our program will be able to serve the first 100 people who qualify, and they will pay a significantly reduced fee of $275 per person.

D.A. Montgomery has brought together all of the required agencies to reduce the costs and simplify the process. Volunteer attorneys will provide free legal assistance. 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.

Here are the steps involved in the process:

STEP ONE – DO YOU QUALIFY?  

  1. Do you currently reside in the 22nd JDC (Washington or St. Tammany Parish)?

If yes, move to question #2. If no, we cannot serve you in this Program.

  1. Was your Arrest in the 22nd JDC (Washington or St. Tammany Parish)?

If yes, move to question #3.  If no, we cannot serve you in this Program.

  1.      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 (State law provides a few exceptions. Feel free to call if you have questions)

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 robbery 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 – CALL FOR PRE-SCREENING.

You must call 985-809-8394, leave a message and await a call back. Please speak slowly, clearly and leave a primary number where you can be reached and a secondary number, in case we can’t reach you on the first one. We will attempt to reach you no more than two times.

STEP THREE – WAIT FOR CALL FROM PROGRAM.

Once your application has been completed, a program administrator will contact you to let you know whether you are eligible to appear in person for the final review. If you are approved, go to Step Four.

STEP FOUR – BACKGROUND CHECK

You will be given a date and directions to meet a representative from the Louisiana State Police locally for a background check to continue processing your application. You must bring a U.S. Postal Service Money Order for $25 to cover the cost.

STEP FIVE – APPEAR FOR FINAL APPROVAL

You will be given a date and time to meet with a volunteer attorney at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center in Covington. Your application will receive a final review, and all of the parties who need to approve your application will be on hand to do so You must bring a U.S. Postal Service Money order for $250 to cover the cost. You will walk away with an expunged record.

District Attorney Montgomery is grateful for the support of the following public servants, who waived their agency’s fees to make this program possible:

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.
Louisiana State Police
Local Law Enforcement

Thanks also to the following partners:

Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana
Northshore Community Foundation
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services