In Tennessee, the law permits the expungement–or destruction–of criminal records within the court system for defined crimes. Related documents maintained by law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys, such as arrest reports, investigations, and prosecutors’ files, are not destroyed but are maintained as confidential records for law enforcement purposes and are not viewable by the public.
Effective July 1, 2012, a new Tennessee expungement law took effect allowing the expungement of certain misdemeanor convictions and Class E felony convictions for nonviolent offenders. The law allows those who have completed all sentence requirements and have no violent convictions to petition (meaning request) the court for expungement. There are significant filing fees–there is a $350 expungement fee PLUS a $100 petition filing fee, for a total of $450 in filing fees alone.
Tennessee law also allows the expungement of successfully completed judicial diversion (which excludes offenses of sexual or violent sexual nature as defined in 40-39-202). Again, there is a $350 expungement fee and $100 petition fee.
The new law is believed to allow thousands to expunge their criminal records of minor offenses, clearing a path for better employment and educational opportunities.
The new law complements existing law which allows expungement for those arrested or charged with a crime that was ultimately dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict.