Process for Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Tennessee

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you meet the eligibility requirements for Tennessee expungement, the process of expungement simply requires filling out the necessary form: an Order for the Expungement of Criminal Offender Record.  After you have filled this form out with as much information as you can, take it to the clerk of your local Tennessee court. If the judge signs your order, the form will be sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, where your name will be entered into the state expunged criminal offender database, and the records of your arrest of criminal charge will be removed from public view.

Filling out the form correctly is imperative to having the court sign the order and forward it on to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for entry into the state database of expunged criminal offenders. A simple and innocent mistake could cost you the ability to file the expungement, or at the very least, delay your case, which could be a negative to you on job and school applications. If you feel unsure about the information that is asked for on the form, talk to the clerk of the court, or think about consulting an experienced Tennessee criminal lawyer.

Tennessee Expungement Fees

Although in most cases, getting your criminal history record expunged is free in Tennessee, there are two notable exceptions:

  1. If the charge against you and/or the warrant of arrest was dismissed in court because you completed a pretrial diversion program, then the clerk will charge a $100 fee (or whatever other fee is specifically associated with the terms of your particular pretrial diversion program).
  2. If you:
    • pled guilty or nolo contendere (you accepted punishment without admitting guilt) to a non-sexual offense, and
    • have never been convicted of a crime before, then you may be eligible to have proceedings deferred and be placed on probation, without a judgment of guilty being entered against you. If you successfully complete probation, you may be eligible for expungement, but for a $50 fee.

For more information on Tennessee expungements, see the following articles:

Overview of Tennessee Criminal History Record Expungements

Eligibility for Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Tennessee

Expunging or Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records in Tennessee

Do I Need an Attorney to Expunge My Criminal Record in Tennessee?

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