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The Differences Between an Expungement and a Legal Pardon

Posted by John C. Taylor | May 07, 2021 | 0 Comments

People who have been convicted of crimes just want to get on with their lives once they have completed their sentences. However, the presence of a conviction on their record could have consequences for them for years afterward. There are several ways that convictions can come off your record. Two of them are expungement and pardon.

The Benefits of Expungement and Pardons

First, let us cover some benefits of pardons and expungement. These could result in the following:

  • Restoration of your right to vote
  • Restoration of your right to own a firearm
  • The ability to work in certain career fields
  • Putting the chapter of your conviction behind you and regaining your reputation

The Effect of Expungement

When a conviction is expunged from your record, it is as if it never happened at all. In other words, it is as if the crime is forgotten. People running a background search or reviewing your criminal record will never know that you were once convicted. If you are ever asked if you have been convicted of a crime, you can answer that question in the negative. Your record would be completely free and clear of the crime. This is the best outcome for your future.

Tennessee allows some people to petition the court for expungement. This is only for non-violent offenses (both felonies and misdemeanors) that are less serious. In the past, only first-time offenders were allowed to petition, but now people with two convictions may also request expungement. Tennessee also allows people to request redaction of crimes that they were charged with and not convicted from an electronic database.

The Effect of Pardons

In Tennessee, a pardon does not have the same effect. Pardons will restore your freedoms and rights. If you are currently serving your sentence, the pardon will get you out of prison, and it could eliminate your requirement of restitution. However, as far as your record goes, you may still be considered a convicted felon. Depending on the crime that you committed, your record may not be erased with a pardon. This could affect your right to own a firearm or your eligibility for certain jobs.

Currently, Tennessee will expunge your record if you have been pardoned for a non-violent crime. However, if you were pardoned for a violent crime, the state forgives, but it does not forget. Nonetheless, a pardon could be the best option for immediate release when someone is currently in prison or subject to a large restitution order. If a pardon makes sense for your situation, you should definitely pursue it.

You have compelling reasons to want to clear your record as you seek to get on with your life. Take advantage of what Tennessee allows to get a fresh start.

Contact an Experienced Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney

For questions about pardons and expungement, contact a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Taylor Law Group online or call us at (615) 890-1982. We offer free consultations, so you can learn your legal rights.

About the Author

John C. Taylor

John C. Taylor is a Murfreesboro native and a graduate of Oakland High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Furman University in Greenville, SC, where he participated in the Furman Advantage Research program, studying religion in American politics. John also earned his Master's degree.


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