The expungement of a criminal record is now possible for many Tennesseans. On May 21, 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law legislation that broadens eligibility for the criminal expungement statute. The new law allows for the expungement (also known as cleaning, clearing, erasing and removal) of a criminal charge from a person’s public criminal record. Many Tennesseans once barred from employment opportunities and stripped of important constitutional rights as the result of a one-time indiscretion, will now be able to clear their names.
Effective July 1, 2012, Tennesseans convicted of certain Class E Felonies and most Misdemeanor offenses may file a petition with the court system to erase a conviction from their criminal record. As written, a successful petition will result in the destruction of any official, public record of a prior criminal conviction. Expunging a Tennessee criminal conviction under this new law restores a person to same status he or she occupied before a conviction.
There are, however, some important exclusions from clearing or cleaning your criminal record. Generally, those convicted of Felony or Misdemeanor offenses that involve physical violence, possession of a deadly weapon, a sex offense, a minor child, or certain drugs will not be granted expungement. Moreover, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions are specifically ineligible.
An applicant for expungement must petition for the relief in the court in which he or she was convicted. Certain conditions must also be satisfied before the court may consider granting relief. For instance, five years must pass from the completion of a sentence and a $350 filing fee must be paid for each petition. Even if all prerequisite conditions are met, a court has the discretion to deny the request. It is extremely important to be fully prepared, for if a petition is denied, the petitioner must wait two additional years before filing another petition.
For additional information about the new Tennessee Expungement Law, contact Steve Oberman or the Oberman & Rice Law Firm in Knoxville, TN at (865) 249-7200 or visit our website at www.eraseyourrecord.com