Tennessee Expungement: A How-To Gude
Expungements are difficult to obtain in Tennessee, so much so many individuals have to seek a pardon instead. Tennessee expungement law is some of the most rigorous in the country. In Tennessee, most convictions are permanent - only a select number of situations allow you to successfully petition to expunge your record. Despite some misperceptions to the contrary, the laws controlling Tennessee expungements are identical for both felonies and misdemeanors. Expunging your criminal record in Tennessee is difficult but certainly not impossible. There are a variety of situations where erasing your criminal record and expunging damaging information can legally occur. Dismissed charges can always be expunged in Tennessee. A criminal expungement attorney can do a records search for you to find the dismissed charges against you, the relevant indictment or warrant numbers, and the name under which you were charged (to avoid problems by perhaps missing aliases in the criminal database). Once a complete search is completed, an expungement attorney will then able to draft the required order and submit it to the court clerk in the county where you were convicted or charged. The request is then sent to the district attorneys office to determine whether there is any state opposition to the expungement. You can also expunge your record if you entered into a pre-trial or post-trial diversion plea agreement. However, you can only apply to get your record expunged once you fully complete the requirements of your diversion. Tennessee law allows counties to collect a court fee for expunging records. This can be in addition to any court costs that may still be owed on your case. Criminal charges and convictions can negatively affect you in the future if they are not fully expunged, even if they are part of a diversion agreement, or a plea under advisement. It is vital that you retain an expungement attorney who does a complete criminal record search to make sure all charges that can be erased from your record are expunged. A well-trained expungement lawyer will do a thorough criminal record search with your date of birth and complete name, leaving no stone unturned to ensure that every possible criminal record that can be expunged is completely erased. It does you little good to miss an expungeable charge and end up with a partial expungement that will still show up on background checks. It is important that you start the process as soon as possible. The expungement process can take many months to complete in some jurisdictions. This consideration makes it necessary to hire a lawyer fully versed in the criminal justice system to be sure your expungement is handled correctly and expeditiously. It is important to make sure your record is fully expunged before you seek a new job or apply to college or a technical school. The process for obtaining an expunement is the same no matter the seriousness of the charge. A knowledgeable criminal lawyer familiar with the Tennessee expungement process is definitely your best bet. Though not easy, a Tennessee expungement is not impossible to obtain. Once you obtain an expungement, Tennessee state law requires there be no physical evidence you were ever charged or convicted. Expert counsel and a committed effort are necessary make sure your record is clean. Getting an expungement in Tennessee can be a trying process. Good counsel is your best bet. ------ Nathan Moore is a Nashville criminal lawyer who has represented hundreds of clients during his years of practice. He has also assisted individuals in clearing their Tennessee criminal record. You can learn more about expungement, Tennessee law, and filing for expungement from his website. This article is adapted from his original article, Expungement: Tennessee Law and Filing an Application for Expungement.