Prior Criminal Convictions That Just Won’t Go Away
On a daily basis, citizens contact my office concerning problems they encounter from prior criminal convictions. Many times the citizens have lost jobs, promotions or security clearances because of old and mostly minor criminal convictions occurring in their youth. Most have lived exemplary lives for many years but that fact can be disregarded when the old conviction surfaces.
Many times the citizen may have been eighteen (18) years old, not represented by counsel or even innocent of the charges. However, being young and without advice from counsel or parents, facing possible jail time for a crime they did not commit, they make a decision to take the safe route and plead to an offense they don’t understand, with usually nothing more than court cost as a penalty. The fact that the conviction may have carried no punishment of any substance is lost when the conviction surfaces years later.
How The Law Changed and the Requirements Surrounding Eligibility
Effective July 1, 2012 persons with criminal convictions, under certain circumstances, may have them expunged. Eligibility for expungement is applicable to some misdemeanors and felonies, however there are very tight restrictions on what convictions qualify.
This law is one that truly wants to reward those individuals that have made a mistake, but have since acted in accordance with the law.
The initial hurdles that are required in every expungement are that the individual “has never been convicted of another criminal offense, other than nonviolent offenses committed during a single criminal episode and that includes the offense for which the person petitions for expungement” in laymen terms, if you are charged with more than one offense at the time of the offense for which petition is being sought and it is a nonviolent qualifying offense you may still be eligible for expungement. You will need to consult an attorney with experience in Tennessee Expungements.