How do I clear my criminal record in Tennessee?
Your past is not a secret! The internet makes it far too easy for someone to dig into your past and find a criminal charge or conviction that you would much rather leave in the past. That’s right. Even if your charges were dismissed or a jury found you not guilty, the record of your charge still exists. Almost all of us have something in our past that we would like to erase forever. Unfortunately, a criminal record follows you around for the rest of your life; however, you may be able to clear criminal records with an expungement.
What is an Expungement?
An expungement is the process of clearing criminal charges, convictions, or both, from the public record according to Tennessee Code Annotated §40-32-101. The process of clearing criminal records is not automatic. You must meet all eligibility requirements, file the appropriate documents with the court, and in some instances, pay court fees. Because a simple mistake could result in your expungement being denied or delayed, it is in your best interest to consult with a Knoxville, TN expungement attorney before you begin the process of clearing your criminal records.
What Are The Requirements For a Tennessee Expungement?
There are essentially three different processes available in Tennessee to expunge your criminal record. These three processes depend on what happened to the charge. If the charge was dismissed, one set of laws apply to lawfully destroy the public records of the mistake you were accused of making. If you case was handled under a diversion, a different and second set of laws apply to remove the charge from your record. Finally, in 2012, Tennessee passed a law that now allows for certain convictions, either misdemeanor or felony, to be expunged. This third type of cases where there was actually a judgment of conviction entered an entirely different set of rules apply to expunge that criminal conviction.
The court will consider several factors when determining whether to grant an expungement. Just because you meet most of the requirements does not guarantee you will be granted an expungement. You must file the appropriate forms and pay the fee in some instances for the court to review your petition for expungement. In some instances, the court is required to consider several factors including your behavior since your conviction. Within 60 days of the filing of your expungement petition, the District Attorney must file a response stating why the District Attorney consents or objects to your request for expungement.
Are There Some Crimes That Are Not Eligible For Expungement?
Yes, some crimes and convictions that are never eligible for expungement. Some crimes are always eligible for expungement including charges that resulted in a not guilty verdict; arrest records that did not result in a criminal charge; and, dismissed charges.
To determine if your criminal conviction or criminal charge is eligible for expungement, contact our office at 865-292-2307 for a free consulation.
If you are successful in clearing your criminal record under Tennessee’s expungement laws, your police records, arrest, court records, criminal charges, and the details of your sentence are destroyed or sealed. However, some records will remain even if you are granted an expungement such as investigative reports, arrest histories, and confidential files. These files are not a part of the public record so they are unavailable to the public. In addition to the records being destroyed you also have the right to have your mug shot or booking photograph removed from the internet.
Why Should I Worry About Clearing My Criminal Record?
A criminal record follows you for the rest of your life affecting many of your decisions and choices. Most criminal records are now easy to access with some record being available online. A potential employer or landlord could have access to your criminal record and use your past mistakes against you now.
Don’t let a bad choice years ago keep you from the life you want to live now. Clear your criminal record with the help of an experienced Knoxville, TN criminal defense lawyer.
Should I Contact a Knoxville, TN Attorney About Clearing Criminal Records?
Yes, if you have been convicted of a crime it is in your best interest to explore whether you can have your criminal record erased.
The criminal defense attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC have the experience, resources, skills, and tools you need when you are facing a criminal conviction. Call our office at 865-292-2307 or click here to schedule a free legal consultation with a criminal lawyer. We represent clients in Knoxville, TN and the surrounding areas.
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