Expungement is a one-time opportunity that will allow you to clear your record of a criminal conviction.
If you are eligible for expungement, you will be able to return to the life you knew before authorities charged you with a criminal offense.
Criminal background checks
You may have one or two misdemeanors on your record, but any conviction will show up in a background check. Most employers will screen job applicants, landlords will screen prospective renters and universities will screen those who apply for admission. The internet makes background checks easy. However, if you are able to have your record expunged, there will be no criminal activity to see.
Guidelines for eligibility
In the state of Tennessee, expungement only applies to certain types of criminal records. Here are some of the eligibility guidelines:
- After an arrest, you were released without a charge
- The court dismissed the charges against you
- A grand jury returned a “no true bill” in your favor
- There was a not guilty verdict at your trial
- Your case resulted in a nolle prosequi, meaning no forthcoming prosecution
A “retired” charge on your record means that the associated case is on hold. You must request that authorities change the status to “dismissed” in order to proceed with having your record expunged. Also, if there is a charge on your record that bears the notation “dismissed with costs,” you will have to pay court costs before expungement can take place. However, your attorney may be able to get the costs waived.
A clear road ahead
The greatest benefit of having your record expunged is that you can truthfully answer “no” when someone asks if you have a criminal history. You can provide the same answer on an application. It is a legal process that allows you to go on with your life as though a criminal charge against you never existed.
Speak with a criminal defense attorney if you are interested in getting an expungement.