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Talk to one of our Nashville criminal defense lawyers at Collins Legal to see if you have any charges eligible for expungement.

What is an expungement?

In 2015, we published a note on how to work through the expungement process in Tennessee. The firm is happy to update that post with the recent passing of H.B. 0418/S.B. 1245! This law reduces the fee for expungements from $350 to $180. *Remember that this fee only applies to submit a petition for expungement.* However, there is no fee to expunge a charge that has been dismissed, nolled (not pursued), or retired. 

Expungement laws and change in legislation

This change in legislation was sponsored by Representative Rauesh Akbari from Tennessee’s 91st District and 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. This change in law can significantly increase their chances of finding employment. 

What you need to know about expungements

If you have a criminal record that could be expunged, it is important to accomplish two goals: 

  1. Act Quickly to Keep Your Record Clean 
  2. Keep Good Records 

However, in the age of technology, certain private companies exist primarily to absorb information. Background search companies purchase these records and use them in searches conducted by employers. Therefore, if you have a conviction on your record, one of these companies could register this report during your next background check. 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. 

Moreover, 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. Therefore, be sure to 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.


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