In 2015, we published a note to help our clients, past and future, work through the expungement process in Tennessee. You can see that note here. The firm is happy to update that post with the recent passing of H.B. 0418/S.B. 1245, a law that reduces the fee for expungements from $350 to $180. The fee only applies to submit a petition for expungement. There is no fee to expunge a charge that has been dismissed, nolled (not pursued), or retired. Before the passing of this bill, those who were convicted of a crime could ask the court to seal the records of the earlier process, making them unavailable through the state or Federal repositories.
This change in legislation was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Rauesh Akbari from Tennessee’s 91st District and in the Senate by Senator Mark Norris from the 32nd District. The bill itself was drafted by Adam Nickas at Capital Resources, LLC, on behalf of Just City. Just City is a non-profit organization located in Memphis, Tennessee that works to heal communities and families affected by incarceration. Learn more about this organization on their website here.
One major inspiration for the bill, according to Nickas, was Tennessee’s reputation for having the third highest expungement fees in the United States. Thanks to Just City, Adam Nickas, the General Assembly, and Governor Haslam, Tennessee residents will now pay only half the cost in fees to expunge a conviction, which can significantly increase their chances of finding employment.
If you have a criminal record that could be expunged, it is important to accomplish two goals:
- Act Quickly to Keep Your Record Clean
- Keep Good Records
In the age of technology, certain private companies exist primarily to absorb information from the criminal justice system by selling personal information for things such as background checks. If you have a conviction on your record, one of these companies could register this report during your next background check, potentially ruining a potential job application. However, if your conviction has been expunged, but your background check shows the presence of the conviction, you should be able to produce expungement documents to prove otherwise.
It’s important to keep track of your records, including the ones regarding your expungement, because a clerk may shred your file if you need to request them again. Make several copies of these important documents, and keep one saved on your computer should you need to verify your expungement again.
Note: The process discussed in this and the previous blog could be different if you are an immigrant to the United States. We recommend meeting with a knowledgeable attorney (http://www.collinsfirmtn.com/our-team/eddie-herbert/) to discuss expungements. Here at Collins Law Firm, we help clients of all statuses. For more information on expungements in Tennessee, call our office at 615.610.0728.