By Daniel Horwitz:
A new law that reduces the total cost of expunging a conviction from $450 to $280 was officially signed by Governor Haslam on May 25, 2017. The new law, sponsored by Representative Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville), takes effect immediately.
Until yesterday, Tennessee had the third-highest expungement fee in the entire country. Regrettably, even if a person is indigent, Tennessee also does not allow expungement fees to be waived—meaning that expungement still remains out of reach for many of the people who need it most. However, reducing the total cost of expunging a conviction by nearly 40% will significantly improve access to expungement for those who are eligible to have their charges cleared. As a result, this reform should be universally applauded.
In Tennessee, people whose charges were dismissed are eligible to have their records expunged for free. However, only some convictions are eligible to be expunged. If a person was convicted of a felony, then the person may be eligible for expungement if their charge appears on this list. If a person was convicted of a misdemeanor, then the person may be eligible for expungement if their charge does not appear on this list. Based on a new law enacted on May 5, 2017, some people with exactly two eligible convictions can now get both of their charges expunged as well. Additional details on that new “double expungement” law are available here.
If you think you may be eligible to have your record expunged and want to hire an attorney to file your paperwork for you, please click here.