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Time's Up: Tennessee Makes Changes To Its Expungement Laws


As a society, we love to say we believe in second chances. That can be hard sometimes, especially for the felon. A conviction follows you forever, a stain on your reputation that can ruin your chances at housing, employment, and the civil rights you originally gained as a citizen. Sometimes, the stigma is unavoidable. In other instances, a little known legal proceeding known as expungement can wipe away your record and help you regain your social standing.

The State of Tennessee allows for such a process under some very strict standards. The basic requirements include:

  • Completing all terms of your sentence, including paying all fines and costs
  • Five years must have elapsed since sentencing
  • Your offense must be eligible for expungement. These include Class B - C misdemeanors, Class A misdemeanors (unless found on the State's exclusion list), and Class E felonies specifically allowed by the State.

If you have more than one conviction, you may be out of luck. Tennessee is very clear that two incidents, unrelated, cannot be expunged unless they one of them is a non-violent offense and you received a pardon for it. There are other specifics out there, but the law is pretty clear on the subject.

Now, thanks to some changes made in 2017, the expungement laws in the State have changed slightly. Perhaps the most significant difference is in what can and cannot be removed. In the case of two unrelated convictions, the new law allows for expungement if:

  • Each offense is independently eligible
  • Both are not felonies convictions
  • There are no other convictions on the person's record.

Again, if you have multiple convictions from the same incident, you can have them all expunged just as long as each offense would be eligible and authorized for said consideration.

Also new in 2017, the cost of expungement was decreased to $280 (down from $450). It actually is only $180 but the Clerk of the Court can add $100 to the total (and usually do). And, finally, there is also a change in the partial expungement law. Previously, you could ask for a removal of a charge when there was a multi-count indictment which lead to a conviction and a dismissal. The new version allows the individual to have their information removed from the electronic databases maintained by the government.

If you believe you are eligible to have your previous misdeeds expunged, it is best to seek out competent legal advice to help. The court system can be tricky, and with the laws changing regularly, you need someone on your side who is current on the latest rules and regulations.

Attorney, Brian Lee Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with.

If you want your record expunged, or have questions about the expungement process itself, please contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.

This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.