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Understanding Tennessee’s Criminal Record Expungement Process

As a Tennessee resident with a criminal record, you may find that having a record hinders your ability to do any number of different things. Depending on the details of your criminal case, you may find that it prevents you from finding a job or housing, for example, but there may be certain steps you can take to eliminate the damage your criminal record causes. At the Law Office of Rob McKinney, we understand what types of criminal cases are typically eligible for expungement, and we have helped many clients navigate the process and minimize the impact their criminal records have on their lives.

According to the Tennessee State Courts, the first step in the expungement process involves determining whether you are eligible for expungement in the first place. You may, for example, be able to move forward with a fee-free expungement if a judge dismissed the charges filed against you, or if a grand jury issued a “no true bill” in response to your case.

You may, too, be eligible for an expungement if you were arrested and released, but never formally charged with a crime, or if a judge or jury returned a not guilty verdict following a trial. Additionally, you can typically pursue expungement if your cases ended in a “nolle prosequi,” or if a court denied a request for an order of protection against you during a hearing.

If you determine that you are, in fact, eligible, for expungement in Tennessee, you may file an expungement request within the court that initially handled your criminal case. While you will generally not have to appear in court, you can request a certified copy of the order that expunges your record from the county clerk. Whether you will owe any fees for the expungement will depend on the specifics of your criminal case. You can find more about criminal defense on our webpage.