Are You Eligible To Expunge Your TN Conviction?
A new Tennessee law allows expungement of certain criminal convictions.
Effective July 1, 2012, many people with a Tennessee criminal record or criminal conviction may be able to have their public criminal record erased. Prior to the enactment of this new law, only Tennessee criminal charges that had been dismissed were eligible for expungement. Click here for a list of common Tennessee misdemeanors and their corresponding expungement eligibility.
The opportunity to erase criminal convictions is extraordinarily good news for people searching for employment, hoping to obtain a promotion, trying to improve their credit rating, or applying to college or graduate school programs. More importantly, it will prevent others from knowing about a previous mistake in judgment.
This new Tennessee law may not be permanent, however. Budget and other concerns may cause the Tennessee Legislature to modify or abolish this law at any time in the future. Accordingly, the safest course of action is to file your Petition for Expungement as soon as possible. The attorneys at Oberman & Rice are available to help you with this process.
You are eligible if you have only 1 criminal conviction.
Those who have been convicted of more than one criminal offense (including crimes from out of state or in federal court) cannot have their convictions erased. (Whether “one criminal offense” will be interpreted by the courts to include multiple crimes arising out of the same incident has not yet been determined).
You must wait 5 years to file a petition for expungement of your Tennessee conviction.
A petition to have your crime erased from your Tennessee criminal history may be filed 5 years after the completion of your sentence.
You must complete all court obligations associated with the crime prior to expungement.
Your Tennessee crime must have been committed after a certain date.
The new law applies to Tennessee crimes committed on or after November 1, 1989. If your conviction is based upon a crime that occurred prior to this date, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to determine whether you are eligible.
Not all Felony and misdemeanor convictions are allowed to be erased from your Tennessee record.
Generally, a Felony is defined as a crime that is punishable by one (1) year or more of confinement or by infliction of the death penalty. A Misdemeanor is a defined as a crime that is punishable by less than (1) year of confinement, a fine, or both.
Click here for a list of Tennessee Felony Offenses that are eligible to be erased from your public record. Unless specifically excluded by the Tennessee Legislature, all Tennessee Misdemeanor convictions may be erased from your Tennessee record. For a list of Tennessee Misdemeanor Offenses that cannot be expunged, please click here.
Not everyone should expunge his or her Tennessee criminal history.
Circumstances exist to make expungement of a criminal record ill-advised. For instance, persons waiting to become citizens of the United States may be better off waiting until the naturalization process has been concluded before expunging a criminal record of a minor offense. This will provide an opportunity to obtain all necessary records in order to process the request to become a citizen.
Only an experienced lawyer can assist you in making this important decision. Once an expungement has been processed, it cannot be un-expunged. If filing a Petition for Expungement is in your best interest, the lawyers at Oberman and Rice can assist you in quickly erasing your public criminal record. You can review our qualifications by clicking here.