There is an expression, “what happens in college stays in college”, simply meaning that any transgressions remain in the realm of the college experience and go no further. Unfortunately, mistakes that result in a criminal record can far outlast your college years. A criminal record can impede your ability to attend college, your financial aid, federal loans, and your job search after college. In Tennessee, certain criminal records can be expunged, giving you a clean slate and a new start in life.
What is expungement?
Expungement is a legal process that removes a legal criminal record from the public record, essentially wiping the record clean in the eyes of the law. Expungement is only granted for certain criminal cases and only after the individual has submitted an application to the court.
Individuals who meet certain criteria may be eligible for expungement in Tennessee at no cost, including:
- Dismissal of the charges against you
- Released after arrest without being charged
- Tried in court and found not guilty
- Grand jury returned a “no true bill”
- Prosecution not pursuing your case
- Order of protection was defended and denied
An application for expungement must be submitted to the court in order to receive expungement.
What crimes can be expunged in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, most misdemeanors and some Class E felonies are eligible for expunction. These include:
- Crimes that are non-violent
- Crimes that are non-sexual
- Crimes that do not involve driving under the influence (DUI)
It is important to note, however, that if you have been convicted of two or more crimes that are the result of separate criminal events, the charges may not be expunged. In addition, you may not apply for expungement if you have any convictions other than the one being considered, you must wait at least five years from the time you completed the sentence for the criminal conviction, and all the terms of sentencing and fines must be satisfied.
How expungements work
Expungement does not happen automatically. Even if charges against you were dismissed, they will still remain on your record until you submit an application for expungement with the court. Once the expungement process is completed, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation deletes the charge from your record and, if you have no other criminal charges, your criminal fingerprints will be deleted as well.
Wondering if you are eligible for expungement? Our Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys can help
The Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers at Dotson & Taylor Attorneys at Law share more than 40 years of criminal law experience and are knowledgeable of Tennessee expungement laws. We work closely with you to have your criminal offenses removed from your record through expungement, giving you a fresh start on life. If you have been charged or convicted of a crime and are wondering if you can have your record expunged, contact our office today 615-890-1982 or online and arrange for a free consultation with a member of our team. Don't let your past cloud your future.