Can I get this criminal case off my record? Unfortunately, probably not. The law provides only three ways for a conviction to be “taken off” your record: 1) For a federal conviction, a presidential pardon; 2) For a state conviction, a pardon from the governor; or 3) State court expungement, explained below. All criminal charges are recorded by law enforcement and are widely available as public records. Such records may generally be expunged (erased or deleted) under Tennessee law only if: 1. The charge was dismissed or the defendant was found not guilty, or a grand jury declined to indict the defendant, or the defendant was arrested and released with no charge having been made, or the defendant qualified for and successfully completed diversion. 2. If the defendant was found guilty of or pleaded guilty to a felony and virtually all misdemeanors, the records may not be expunged. This type of expungement is after successful completion of “Judicial Diversion”. In rare cases, some misdemeanors may be expunged; if there have been no further arrests for a period of thirty-seven years. Both “Pre-trial and Judicial Diversion” require a Court Order and therefore a lawyer. “Public Records” do not include arrest-only histories, investigative reports, intelligence information of law enforcement agencies, files of District Attorneys General maintained as confidential records for law enforcement purposes, or records of the Department of Children’s Services or Department of Human Services.
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