Most people do not understand the basic concept behind the expungement allowance in Tennessee criminal law. If you have been convicted of a crime, you cannot get your case expunged. If, however, you have not been convicted of a crime, you may apply to have your record cleared of past charges by a Chattanooga criminal defense attorney.
T.C.A. § 40-32-101 provides that "all public records of a person who has been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony shall, upon petition by that person to the court having jurisdiction, be removed and destroyed without costs if the charge has been dismissed; a no true bill was returned by the grand jury; a verdict of not guilty was returned, whether by the judge following a bench trial or by a jury; or the person was arrested and released without being charged." In addition, you can also expunge your case if you successfully completed either pretrial or judicial diversion. This exemption excludes certain sex offenses, and you may have to pay an additional fee in order to have your record cleared as well.
Typically, all court and jail records must be destroyed and removed from their database. The records that do not have to be destroyed are those "arrest histories, investigative reports, intelligence information of law enforcement agencies, or files of district attorneys general that are maintained as confidential records for law enforcement purposes." Also, the records of DCS and DHS — which are also confidential under state and federal law — do not have to be destroyed. Moreover, public records that may be expunged do not include appellate court records or opinions. Besides criminal cases, you may also expunge a successfully defended order of protection in circuit court.