Expungement Attorney Lebanon & Mt Juliet TN
Experienced Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee Attorneys
The Tennessee Legislature enacted a law in 2012 that might allow you, under certain circumstances, to have your criminal convictions expunged. Eligibility for expungement is applicable to some misdemeanors and felonies; however, there are restrictions on what convictions qualify. Given the severe consequences a criminal conviction has on you and your family, from job opportunities to home buying, you should embrace the opportunity to attempt to have your record expunged.
One requirement is that the individual has never been convicted of another criminal offense. However, 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. The defendant must have also satisfied all of the conditions of the court, such as paying court costs and restitution and have maintained compliance with their probation. Finally, the law requires that a minimum of five (5) years have passed since the completion of all court requirements before expungement can be sought.
Additional restrictions, which can be found under T.C.A 40-32-101, are that the offense does not involve a firearm, the offense does not require that the defendant register as a sex offender, and that the victim did not sustain a loss of more than twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000.00). Another requirement of eligibility is that the offense be one that is “nonviolent” in nature meaning that “the offense does not have as element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another”.
UPDATE TO EXPUNGEMENT LAWS EFFECTIVE 2022:
A new bill in Tennessee that will take effect on July 1, 2022, permits an individual to apply to have a conviction expunged even they have been convicted of one or more other criminal offenses than the conviction they are currently seeking to expunge.
Under present law, the qualifications to have a conviction expunged are as follows:
(1) At the time of filing for expunction, the person has never been convicted of any criminal offense, including federal offenses and offenses in other states, other than the offense committed for which the petition for expunction is filed (a moving or non-moving traffic offense is not considered a criminal offense for purposes of this provision); and
(2) At the time of the filing of the petition for expunction at least five years have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed for a misdemeanor or Class E felony, or 10 years have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed for a Class C or D felony.
Now, Senate Bill 1781/House Bill 1679 amends Section 1 by providing that a person may apply for expunction even if they have a conviction for another criminal offense. However, a person may not apply if they have been granted expunction for another criminal offense in the past. The bill also amends Section 2 by providing that the applicable amount of time must have passed since the completion of the sentence imposed for the person’s most recent criminal offense.
For example, Jane gets convicted of Theft of more than $2,500, but less than $10,000, a Class D Felony, in 2000. She is sentenced to 4 years in jail. Years after her release, in 2010, Jane is convicted of Shoplifting, a Class A misdemeanor. Jane serves 11 months and 29 days in jail.
Under the previous law, Jane could have filed for expunction of her Theft conviction in 2014, ten years after the completion of her sentence. Under Senate Bill 1781/House Bill 1679, Jane now must wait until 2021 before she files for expunction of her Theft conviction, because the bill uses the language, “the applicable amount of time must have passed since the completion of the sentence imposed for the person’s most recent criminal offense.”
So even though a person may be eligible to have a conviction expunged with other convictions on their record, the timeframe for expunging a conviction has increased.
The bill further adds a requirement that a person must not have been convicted of a criminal offense that is ineligible for expunction, including federal offenses and offenses in other states, that occurred prior to the offense for which the person is seeking expunction.
Among the felony convictions that are eligible for expunction (if other qualifications are met) are: Theft, Forgery, Criminal Simulation, Vandalism, Burglary of an Automobile, Evading Arrest (when there are no bystanders), Manufacture/Delivery/Sale/Possession of Schedule V drug, Manufacture/Delivery/Sale/Possession of Schedule VI Marijuana (Not less than .5 oz, not more than 10 lbs.), Manufacture/Delivery/Sale/Possession of Schedule VII drug, and Simple Possession of Casual Exchange (3rd offense).
Among the misdemeanor convictions that are not eligible for expunction are: Domestic Assault, Violation of Protective Order, Indecent Exposure (if victim is under the age of 13), Unlawful Sexual Contact by an Authority Figure, Child Abuse, Child Neglect and Endangerment (if child is between 7-13 years of age), and Stalking. These lists are not exhaustive.
Expunging a criminal record is a complicated process. If you meet the requirements for expungement under the new law, a well drafted petition is vitally important. Since the government has the option to oppose the petition, qualified representation is a must and Frank Lannom and his team at Frank Lannom Law Group have the experience to provide it for you.