New Partial Expungement Law Now In Effect

By Nashville Expungement Attorney Daniel A. Horwitz:

*Note: This is a free informational resource about expungement law in Tennessee.  If you are looking to hire an attorney to expunge your record for you, please click here instead.*

A new law aimed at helping people clear dismissed charges from their criminal record is now being enforced in Nashville.  The law—Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(j)—allows people who were convicted of some charges in an indictment but had other charges in the same indictment dismissed file a petition with the court to remove their dismissed charges from electronic criminal records databases.  The new form that has been developed by Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts to enable people to petition for partial expungements is available here.

The law specifically states that “for any charges other than the offense for which the person was convicted,” a person who petitions for a partial expungement under Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101(j) shall be entitled to have their dismissed records “removed from the relevant electronic databases of the national crime information center system and similar state databases.”  Accordingly, anyone who had at least one charge in an indictment dismissed is eligible to take advantage of it.  For example, if you were indicted for Unlawful Possession of a Prohibited Weapon and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and you pleaded guilty to the weapons charge but had the drug possession charge dismissed, then you could petition the court to remove the drug possession charge from the state’s electronic criminal records databases.

The reform simultaneously improves and restricts expungement access.  It represents an improvement in that anyone who had charges in an indictment dismissed is now entitled to have those records removed from electronic databases.  However, it also represents a restriction, because under the previous version of the law, a person was able to petition to have dismissed records expunged in full—not just removed from electronic databases—under most circumstances.  Because there are rules that prevent the government from applying a more restrictive law retroactively, however, your rights may not have been restricted if you were eligible to petition for a partial expungement prior to July 2017.

If you have a criminal record that you want expunged, there is no substitute for consulting a lawyer to review your own individual circumstances.  If you think you may be eligible to have your record expunged and want to hire an attorney to evaluate your eligibility or file your paperwork for you, please click here for an individualized case review.