What You Need to Know About Tennessee Expungement
For many, expungement represents a fresh start and is a critical way for former convicts to move forward with their lives in the best way possible. Here is what you need to know about Tennessee expungement with regard to sealing a criminal record.
How to Expunge Your Record in Tennessee
The website for the Tennessee State Courts outlines the procedures for filing for an expungement. The steps for an individual to pursue an expungement are as follows:
- The individual pursuing the expungement or a representative must file a request and submit forms with the court where the case originated. For multiple charges, individuals should always check with court clerks since they may have to file separate forms for separate charges.
- Requesting parties must indicate the charges that qualify for expungement. File the information with the criminal court clerk. You do not need to appear in court.
- Ask the criminal court clerk for a certified copy of the order(s) expunging your record and a certified copy of the charging document. These are the documents that the clerk will mail to you in the envelope(s) you brought.
- Your paperwork will then be sent to the judge and forwarded to the proper agencies for expungement.
Tennessee Expungement Laws
Many cases are not eligible to be expunged in Tennessee. The only cases which are eligible for expungement are those which result in:
- a dismissal, which means the case may be expunged after court costs are paid,
- an acquittal by judge or jury,
- A prosecutor decided not to prosecute,
- cases where a “no true bill” was returned by a grand jury,
- cases where a person was arrested but not charged, and
- certain underage alcohol possession offenses.
- Sometimes a case is “retired”. Depending on the jurisdiction, that often means that after a certain period of time has elapsed with the individual exhibiting good behavior and not incurring new charges, the “retired” charge can become a “dismissed” charge and thus eligible for expungement.
Felony Expungement in Tennessee
After a waiting period of five years, individuals who have completed their sentence may apply for an expungement after paying an initial fee of $280. There are various crimes which are not eligible for expungement The crimes not eligible for expungement are as follows:
- Crimes involving violence
- Endangerment to children
- Sexual assault
- Severe injury or death of another person
Misdemeanor Expungement in Tennessee
There are various misdemeanor crimes that may be expunged, and for clarity, the Tennessee Code of Criminal Procedure explicitly outlines which crimes are not eligible for expungement. A comprehensive list of misdemeanors ineligible for expungement is:
- Aggravated assault of a public employee
- Aggravated criminal trespass of a habitation, hospital, or on the campus of any public or private school, or on railroad property
- Allowing a person 18-20 to consume alcohol on person’s premises
- Assault (offensive or provocative physical contact)
- Child Abuse (where a child is between ages 7-17)
- Child neglect and endangerment (where child is between ages 7-13)
- Coercion of abortion
- Disorderly conduct at a funeral
- Display for sale or rental of material harmful to minors
- Disseminating smoking paraphernalia to minor after 3 prior violations
- Domestic Assault
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Enticing a child to purchase intoxicating liquor or purchasing alcoholic beverage for a child
- Failure of adult to report juvenile carrying gun in school
- Failure to surrender handgun carry permit upon suspension
- Frauulent use of credit/debit card (up to $500)
- Harboring or hiding a runaway child
- Importing, preparing, distributing, processing, or appearing in obscene material
- Incident exposure by a person in a penal institution exposed to a guard
- Incident exposure—victim under 13 years of age
- Incident exposure (victim 13 years or older)
- Methamphetamine-related crimes (e.g. purchasing methamphetamine precursors for unlawful use, unlawfully dispensing meth precursors, etc.)
- Misuse of official information by public servant
- Non-parent providing handgun to juvenile
- Possession of firearm after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
- Possession of firearm while order of protection is in effect
- Possession of firearm while prohibited by state or federal law
- Possession of the hallucinogenic plants Salvia Divinorum or synthetic cannabinoids
- Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on K-12 school premises
- Public indecency—first or second offense (punishable by $500 fine only)
- Public indecency 3rd or subsequent offense
- Reckless burning
- Sale or loan to minors of harmful materials
- Sale or possession of synthetic derivatives or analogs of methcathinone
- Soliciting minor to engage in a Class E sexual offense
- Third or subsequent violation of “Child Rape Protection Act of 2006”
- Unlawful massage or exposure of erogenous areas
- Unlawful sexual conduct by an authority figure
- Using substance or devices to falsify drug test results or selling synthetic urine
- Violation of community supervision by a sex offender not constituting offense or constituting misdemeanor
- Violation of a protective order or restraining order
- Violent felon owning or possessing a vicious dog
Who can see expunged records in Tennessee
In Tennessee, following an expungement, private employers, landlords, and other entities who perform a background check will not be able to see records that were expunged. In addition, following an expungement, the individual is legally allowed to respond “no” when asked about whether or not they have a criminal history. For many individuals, an expungement may represent a fresh start and another chance, so it is critical that all forms and deadlines are met. Additionally, an individual who is looking to get an expungement will want to put their best foot forward. In both of these cases, an experienced expungement attorney can provide critical insight and peace of mind.
Can you get a DUI expunged in Tennessee
DUI charges are not eligible for expungement in Tennessee. However, DWI charges are eligible for expungement, including underage DWI charges. Any individual who was charged with a misdemeanor DWI and wishes to get a fresh start should contact an experienced expungement attorney as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome for their case.
Related: How to Get DUI Charges Reduced
Can I own a gun after a felony expungement in Tennessee
An expungement entails the complete removal of restrictions and marks on public and private criminal records. This means that any individual who had their felony record expunged is eligible to own a gun. However, there are cases in which courts explicitly specify that an individual may not own a firearm following an expungement. In these cases, that individual may not own a firearm following an expungement.
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Massachusetts
What You Need to Know About Serving Divorce Papers in Massachusetts
Divorce can be a messy process for all parties involved, especially in custody disputes over children, serving divorce papers should be done with the utmost care to ensure the least damage is done. Here is what you need to know about how to serve divorce papers in Massachusetts.
What Is Serving Divorce Papers?
In Tennessee, when a spouse wishes to begin divorce proceedings, they must notify the other spouse that the proceedings have begun. This is called “serving” the divorce papers, and this process includes copying various paperwork filed with the court as well as filling out a host of forms.
This process is both technical and critical, as the serving itself can set the tone for the divorce process as a whole. If done correctly, a proper serving can avoid much of the drama and messy disputes which many may associate a divorce with. If you’re not sure how to complete service of process, get in touch with an experienced divorce attorney. Our specialized divorce attorneys can help you serve divorce papers and handle your divorce.
Step 1: Choose a Grounds for Divorce
Grounds define the legal reason for divorce, such as “Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage” or “Sentence of Confinement in a Penal Institution.” In other words, the grounds for the divorce simply state why the spouse(s) will not be married anymore.
Step 2: Collect the Appropriate Forms
Individuals who wish to follow through with a divorce must first collect the requisite documents to submit to the courts, unique to the type of divorce the spouses choose and grounds for divorce:
- Any individual who is filing a complaint divorce under the grounds of “irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage” should get the form Complaint for Divorce Pursuant to G.L. c. 208, Section 1B, and follow the instructions from the Probate and Family Court website or from any probate and family court in Massachusetts.
- Any individual who is filing for a joint divorce citing the “Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage” should use the form Joint Petition for Divorce Pursuant to G.L. c. 208, Section 1A, and follow the instructions from the Probate and Family Court website or from any probate and family court in Massachusetts.
- Any individual who is filing for a complaint divorce citing any reason other than “irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage” should file the forms Complaint for Divorce and follow the instructions on the Probate and Family Court website or from any probate and family court in Massachusetts.
Individuals who need child support should also complete the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
Step 3: Get a certified copy of the marriage certificate and pay the filing fee
It is important to note that for individuals who have children together they must additionally fill out an Affidavit of Care and Custody form and fill out a Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment Statistical Information form.
Step 4: File the Complaint
At least one of the spouses must take the complaint, a certified copy of the marriage certificate, and their Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment form to the clerk’s office in the Probate and Family Court to ask the clerk to file it. If the spouses currently live in different counties, it is acceptable for one spouse to file the papers in the probate and family court in either county.
Depending on the specifics of the case, a spouse may wish to hide their address from their significant other during and following a divorce. That spouse may file a motion to “impound” their address if they need to keep their address secret from their spouse to stay safe.
Step 5: Serve the papers:
At this point, the clerk will give the spouses a summons. The summons is a paper which tells the responding spouse a timeframe under which they may file an answer to the divorce papers. Following the serving, if both spouses agree to terms, the recieving spouse may sign the summons, and the serving spouse will make a “return of service.” This just means that they will return the summons to the court, and make a copy of the original summons for their own records.