Tennessee Criminal Defense

Using Expungement to Clean up Your Criminal Record

Employers, administrators at educational institutions, banks, landlords, and more might all look at your criminal record before accepting your respective application. If they spot a single conviction – or sometimes even just one criminal charge – they might turn you away for someone else. Since convictions and charges just don’t “drop off” your record on their own in Tennessee, they could haunt you for the rest of your life. Unless you use expungement to erase them.


Expungement is the process of removing an arrest, charge, or conviction off a criminal record so the public can no longer see it. There are also cases were record closing can be used instead to make it more difficult for others to know about your criminal record, but expungement is more thorough and therefore the better option in most scenarios. A successful expungement will effectively make it as if your criminal past never existed. A tool so powerful is not handed to just anyone, however, as you must qualify for expungement (sometimes called expunction in other states or legislation).

In order to expunge a conviction off your record:

  • You must only have one criminal conviction on your record.
  • Five years must have passed since you completed the related sentencing.
  • Any court-mandated fees, fines, and other obligations must have been completed.
  • Your conviction occurred after November 1st, 1989.
  • Your conviction is for an eligible crime – for examplemany violent felonies are not eligible.

The sooner you get to work on expunging your criminal record, the better, but that last requirement can be a real roadblock. Due to the subtle differences between one person’s charge and the next, it may be difficult for you to get a straight answer from the court or county clerk in regard to whether or not your conviction or charge is eligible for expungement. It is highly advised that you consult with a criminal defense attorney before moving forward.

Joshua T. Crain, Attorneys at Law can assist you in understanding and using expungement to clean your past and brighten your future. Contact our Murfreesboro expungement lawyer for more information about this important process, or to schedule a free case review regarding an ongoing criminal case.