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Tennessee

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Overview

Adult criminal records for cases in which you were convicted are eligible for expungement in some situations. You have to file a petition in court to start the process. 

  • If you were convicted of certainmisdemeanor or Class E felonies and have no more than one other conviction, the record can be expunged five years after you complete your sentence. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. If you have convictions for multiple offenses that occurred as part of the same event, they may count as one conviction for expungement purposes. 
  • If you were convicted of certain Class C or Class D felonies, have no other felony convictions, and have no more than one other misdemeanor conviction, the record can be expunged 10 years after you complete your sentence. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. If you have convictions for multiple offenses that occurred as part of the same event, they may count as one conviction for expungement purposes.  
  • If you receive a pardon from the governor for a non-violent offense, the record can be expunged. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • If you were convicted but later exonerated, the record can be expunged. If you meet the criteria, the judge should automatically expunge your record. 
  • Records relating to convictions that resulted from being a victim of human trafficking can be expunged by the court after one year. 

Adult criminal records for cases in which you successfully completed a suspended prosecution or pre-judgment program can be expunged in some situations.

  • If you successfully completed a suspended prosecution program, the record can be expunged when your case is discharged and dismissed. If you meet the criteria, the judge should automatically expunge the record. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you successfully complete pre-judgment probation, the record can be expunged. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 

Adult criminal records for arrests for which you were never convicted are eligible for destruction or removal. You have to file a petition in court to start the process. 

  • If you were arrested but not charged or your case ended in nolle prosequi, no true bill, or dismissal, the public record can be destroyed. If you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • If you were charged with multiple offenses, the record of arrest and prosecution for charges other than the one you were convicted of, may be removed. If you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Policies

    Records relating to certain misdemeanor and class E felony convictions can be expunged five years after sentence completion, so long as the person has no more than two convictions. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(g), (k).
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    Records relating to certain class D and C felony convictions can be expunged 10 years after sentence completion, so long as the person has no more than two convictions, only one of which may be a felony conviction. Multiple offenses that occurred at the same time and as part of the same course of conduct are considered a single conviction for purposes of this section. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(g)(1)(D)-(F), (k).
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    Records relating to a non-violent offense can be expunged after a pardon by the governor. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(h).
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    Records relating to convictions that resulted from being a victim of human trafficking can be expunged by the court after one year. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-105.
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    Records relating to a case dismissed after successful completion of a suspended prosecution are expunged by the court. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-15-105(e).
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    Records relating to a misdemeanor or felony case dismissed upon the successful completion of pre-judgment probation can be expunged by the court. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-313(b).
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    Records relating to a conviction for which a person has been exonerated are expunged. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-27-109.
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    Public records relating to an arrest and prosecution can be destroyed upon release without charge, nolle prosequi, no true bill, or dismissal. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(a)(1)(A).
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    Public records relating to a case in which the person was found not guilty on all counts can be removed and destroyed immediately. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(a)(1)(F).
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    Records relating to arrest and prosecution for charges other than the charge of conviction can be removed from public databases after the conviction. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(j).
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    Juvenile Record Clearance Overview

    Below is a general overview of when juvenile records can be expunged in Tennessee. Please note that the Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not provide legal advice. 

    Read the legal policies and statutes for detailed statutory information. 

    Juvenile Record Clearance Policies Overview 

    Most juvenile records can be expunged. 

    • If your case was dismissed (you were not adjudicated or found guilty), your record should be automatically expunged after the dismissal. You should not have to do anything to get your record expunged. This does not apply if your case was dismissed as part of diversion or informal adjustment. 
    • If you completed diversion or informal adjustment, your record can be expunged one year after you complete the requirements of the program. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and the judge is required to grant your request if you meet the criteria. You can also apply before one year is up, but it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request. 
    • If you were adjudicated (found guilty), your record can be expunged after you turn 17 and one year has passed since your most recent adjudication. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and the judge is required to grant your request if you meet the criteria. You can submit a request before you turn 17 or before the one year is up, but it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request. 
    • If you were a victim of human trafficking and were adjudicated (found guilty) of prostitution or aggravated prostitution, you can apply to have your record expunged.  

    You may not be eligible for expungement if you have certain convictions or adjudications on your record. 

    Find a Lawyer 

    If you think you might be eligible to have your record expunged, find a lawyer who may be able to help you. Some lawyers might help you for free, although you may still need to pay a fee to file the paperwork in court. 

    Court Forms and Resources 

    If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you may be able to file a petition on your own using these court forms and resources. 

    Juvenile Record Clearance Policies

      A record relating to a delinquency adjudication can be expunged upon motion so long as the person is at least 17 years of age, at least one year has passed since their most recent delinquency adjudication, and they have not been subject to a disqualifying event. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(1)(A).
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      A record relating to a delinquency adjudication can be expunged upon motion, if the court finds that the person has maintained a consistent and exemplary pattern of responsible, productive, and civic-minded conduct for one or more years immediately preceding the filing of the petition. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(1)(B).
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      A record relating to a delinquency adjudication can be expunged upon motion, if the court finds that the person has made such an adjustment of circumstances that the court, in its discretion, believes that expungement serves the best interest of the child and the community. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(1)(C).
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      A record relating to any case in which there is a successful completion of an informal adjustment without adjudication or pretrial diversion under section 37-1-110 will be expunged upon motion after one year. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(3)
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      A record relating to any case in which there is a successful completion of an informal adjustment without adjudication or pretrial diversion under section 37-1-110, will be expunged upon motion if the court determines that the expungement serves the best interest of the child and the community. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(4).
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      A record relating to any case in which there was a successful completion of a judicial diversion pursuant to section 37-1-129 will be expunged upon motion after one year. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(5).
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      A record relating to any case in which there was a successful completion of a judicial diversion may be expunged earlier than the required one-year wait period upon a motion if the court determines that the expungement serves the best interest of the child and the community. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f).
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      A record relating to any case that is dismissed will be expunged upon dismissal. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(6).
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      A record in any case in which a juvenile is tried and adjudicated delinquent or unruly for conduct that would constitute the offense of prostitution under §39-13-513 or aggravated prostitution under §39-13-516 if committed by an adult may be expunged if the court finds that the conduct upon which the adjudication is based was found to have occurred as a result of the person being a victim of human trafficking under §39-13-314. Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(12).
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      Find A Lawyer

      Legal service providers located in the state.

      Contact information for legal aid organizations, bar associations, and other organizations that engage in record clearance work is provided for informational purposes only. The NRRC does not endorse or recommend any organization or individual referenced on the site. If you are a legal service provider who offers record clearance services, please contact us.