Those individuals in Tennessee with criminal records understand the burden their past mistakes can cause even years down the road. Though you may have paid your debt to society, your past can continue to haunt you and make things like a getting a job or renting an apartment much more difficult.
Thankfully,Tennessee now has a law which will allow individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, primarily misdemeanors and certain low level felonies, to have their criminal records expunged, clearing your record and allowing for a fresh start.
What is expungement?
Expungement refers to the process of sealing arrest and conviction records. In Tennessee,once an arrest or conviction has been expunged, it does not need to be disclosed, including to potential employers or landlords. For example, if an individual was convicted of petty theft and later had the conviction expunged,when he applies for a job and is asked, “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?”, he can honestly answer, “No.” The goal of expungement is to allow those who were convicted of relatively minor offenses to move on with their lives without the permanent stain of a criminal record.
How does expungement work?
The law in Tennessee requires, among other things, that the person file a petition in the county court where he or she was convicted of the offense. The person filing the petition may not have convictions in any other state or federal court besides the ones that they are attempting to expunge. The law also requires that at least five years have passed since the completion of the sentence imposed after the person’s conviction.
Who is not eligible for an expungement?
In Tennessee, anyone who has been convicted of any violent offenses, offenses involving children including neglect or abuse, crimes that require registration as a sex offender and even convictions for driving under the influence are not eligible for expungement.