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Legal Tips: Expungement 101

A criminal conviction can result in barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.

In 2012, the Tennessee Legislature revised the criminal expungement law to help eligible persons overcome the stigma of criminal records with an application process and fee of $450.00.

For a person to be eligible, he or she must meet the following criteria: 

  1. At the time of filing the application, the person must never have been convicted of any other criminal offenses, including federal offenses and offenses in other states, other than the offense for which an expungement is sought; and

  2. At the time of filing, at least five (5) years must have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed for the criminal conviction; and

  3. That person must have fulfilled ALL of the requirements of the sentence imposed for which he or she was convicted, including paying all fines and other assessments, completion of jail time or probation, and any other requirements ordered.

Tennessee law provides a list of felonies that can be expunged as well as a list of misdemeanors that cannot be expunged.

The process can be a bit complicated but an attorney can tackle the application with ease and restore your criminal record to a blank slate, just like “it never happened,” which is the intent of the revised expungement law.


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