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How Long a Criminal Charge Stays on Your Record (2018 Update)

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Gavel and ScalesWeek after week, we receive phone calls from worried individuals asking about the expungement of a prior criminal charge or asking how long prior convictions remain on his/her public record.

With changes in the expungement law, there is no easy answer to this question. No two convictions are the same. No one’s background is the same.

Simply put, before pleading guilty to a crime, you should specifically ask your criminal defense attorney if your conviction will be eligible for expungement in the future. An experienced criminal attorney will be able to provide you with all your alternatives and thoroughly explain the ramifications of entering a guilty plea.   

The Chiozza Law Firm understands the troubles a guilty plea can have on your future. A criminal conviction can cause personal, professional and financial problems that are unthinkable.

Clearing Your Criminal Record

Expungements are possible, though. You can clear the public record of your mistake in the following instances:

Charges Dismissed

If your criminal charges were dismissed by the court, then you are immediately eligible to have the matter cleared from your public record.

Pre-trial/Judicial Diversion

Diversion is a type of probation granted to first time offenders wherein the charges are removed from the individual’s record after a designated probationary period, assuming he/she has complied with the court’s orders and remained out of trouble during this time. You must pay a fee to the court at the end of your Diversion to file the formal expungement papers.

New Tennessee Law

In July 2012, Tennessee lawmakers began allowing certain convictions to be erased from public record, even without diversion or dismissal.  

To be eligible under the new laws, the conviction you want to expunge must be the only conviction on your record, including misdemeanors or felonies and any out of state convictions.

Classification of Crime

The crime must be considered a Class A Misdemeanor or Class E Felony charge.

Time of Crime

Five years must have passed since the conviction before an expungement is filed.

While there may be exceptions, the crime you are requesting be expunged must have been committed on or after November 1, 1989.

Handling of Court Costs

You must have satisfied all court costs or probation fees associated with your case.

Understanding the New Laws

In 2017, the state of Tennessee introduced and began implementing new laws and changes involving expungements. If you face a criminal charge and want to wipe that off your record, you may be able to do so under the new amendments.

Numerous Convictions

In the past, citizens that accrued two or more convictions were ineligible for expungements. Now, that has changed.

Now, according to Public Chapter 298, a person with no more than two convictions can expunge those crimes under the following circumstances:

  1. Each offense is independently eligible for expungement under the laws.
  2. One or both of your offenses are misdemeanors; you cannot have two felonies and qualify.
  3. No other convictions exist.

We believe this new amendment allows more opportunities for citizens to expunge and wipe crimes from their records.

Cheaper Fees

According to Public Chapter 456, expungement fees have decreased from $450 to $180.

Keep in mind, that under another law, a judge can impose a $100 fee. Overall, the maximum fee you should pay on an expungement fee is $280.

Changing Partial Expungements

On occasions, a citizen is charged with multiple crimes, but only convicted of one. In the past, both charges stayed in your database though you were not convicted of both.

According to the new Public Chapter 358, the citizens that have one of those charges dismissed now have that charge wiped completely clean from the database.

Helping with Your Criminal Case

Understand that the above circumstances do not apply to all crimes or convictions. Certain felonies and misdemeanors, as outlined by the law, are not eligible for expungement. To determine if your past mistake is eligible for expungement, you should contact The Chiozza Law Firm.

Over the years we have handled thousands of criminal cases and subsequent expungements. We handle all criminal cases in a confidential manner, knowing the long-reaching and dire consequences a criminal conviction can present.  

If you need representation or have a general question regarding a legal problem, don’t hesitate to contact The Chiozza Law Firm at 901-526-9494 or visit the office at 230 Adams Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103, conveniently located one block from the criminal courthouse in downtown Memphis.

No appointment is necessary, and there is no charge for a consultation. For emergency inquiries, please contact Brian Chiozza, brian@chiozzalaw.com.  

Again, we are always open to discuss your potential criminal matter in a confidential manner, while doing our best to quote you a reasonable fee with an equally reasonable payment arrangement should you choose our representation.

Contact an Attorney Today



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Posted by Brian Chiozza at 8:38 AM
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