Learn more about getting a charge expunged.

As a criminal defense attorney, one of the questions I get asked most frequently is, “Will this show up on my record?” Understandably, people do not want outstanding charges or convictions on their record that may hinder their ability to gain employment, housing, or educational opportunities. Many people believe that if their charges are dismissed, said charges no longer show up on their background check. However, while their background checks will show that their charges were resolved, the charges will, in fact, still be present. Fortunately, Tennessee has provided those who have faced criminal charges the ability to expunge their records under certain circumstances.

How much does it cost to get my record expunged?

In some instances, people can get their records expunged at no additional cost from the government. Tennessee offers no-fee expungement for the following case outcomes:

  • The charges were dismissed.
  • The grand jury returned a “no true bill” or the defendant was found not guilty.
  • A conviction was reversed upon appeal.
  • An order of nolle prosequi was entered.
  • A person was arrested and released without being charged.

If a defendant successfully completes pretrial or judicial diversion, they are also eligible to get their records expunged but are required to pay an additional fee. Typically, the total fee for expungement is approximately $450.00.

Can people who have pleaded or been found guilty of a crime get their record expunged?

Sometimes. Under Tennessee’s previous law, defendants could get their records expunged only if they had no guilty pleas or convictions on their records. However, under Tenn. Code Ann. Section 40-32-101(b), Tennessee now permits defendants convicted of certain crimes to get their record expunged. The requirements for eligibility are strict and include the following:

  • At the time of filing an application for expungement, the defendant must have never been convicted of any other criminal offenses. This includes federal offenses and offenses from other states, other than the conviction for which expungement is sought; AND
  • At the time of filing, at least five (5) years must have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed for the conviction; AND
  • The defendant must have fulfilled all requirements of the sentences imposed, including payment of fines, completion of imprisonment or probation, meeting conditions of release, and if required by the sentence, remaining free from dependence on any controlled substances or alcohol for a period of at least one (1) year.

As stated previously, Tennessee offers expungement for only certain criminal convictions. Most misdemeanors are eligible for expungement, but there are forty-five that are not eligible. Examples of misdemeanors that are not eligible include assault, domestic assault, and stalking.

Most felonies are not eligible for expungement, but the Tennessee legislature has decided that some Class E felonies are eligible for expungement. Some examples of Class E felonies that are eligible include accessory after the fact, destruction or concealment of a will, and burglary of an automobile. In addition to the aforementioned eligibility requirements, those who are seeking to get a Class E felony expunged must have also been sentenced to imprisonment of three years or less, and the offense must have been committed on or after November 1, 1989.

What happens when I get my record expunged?

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) will completely remove your charges from your background check as if they never happened. However, you will also want to keep a copy of your expungement order signed by the judge with you in case any issues arise with employment, housing, or educational opportunities.

Who can help me get my record expunged?

As you can see, determining whether you are eligible for expungement can be confusing due to the limitations set forth by the Tennessee legislature. The experienced attorneys at Batson Nolan can work with you to determine whether you are eligible for expungement and to complete the necessary paperwork to present to the judge.

If you have more legal questions, contact us to be connected with the right attorney for all your legal needs. With hundreds of years of combined legal experience, Batson Nolan PLC is committed to our clients and to achieving results that exceed expectations.