Beginning July 1, 2012, individuals who were previously convicted of certain non-violent, non-sexual misdemeanors and class E felonies may be eligible to have their convictions expunged pursuant to T.C.A. 40-32-101(g) and (k). Attached to this letter you will find several documents along with a checklist that sets forth all of the documentation that must be obtained prior to filing a petition to expunge a conviction. If after reviewing these materials you believe that you are eligible to have your conviction expunged you must complete all of the following steps in order to successfully file a petition:
- Obtain a certified copy of your conviction from the Clerk of the court where you were convicted;
- Obtain a printout or receipt from the Clerk of the court where you were convicted showing that all fines, costs, restitution, and other assessments associated with your conviction have been paid;
- Provide the attached Affidavit to the probation/parole office that supervised you and have them certify that successfully completed all the requirements of your supervised released;
- Fill out the attached Personal Information sheet providing us with current contact information;
- Make a copy of your photo identification or government-issued identification card;
- Provide a self-addressed stamped envelope with your current mailing address;
- Bring all of the items listed in paragraphs 1 through 7 back to the District Attorney’s office in Blountville;
- We will review all of the materials that you provide us and notify you by mail within sixty (60) days whether you are eligible to file a petition for expungement;
- If you are not eligible, you will receive a letter stating why your application has been rejected;
- If you are eligible, you will receive a letter directing you to call our office and make an appointment to complete your petition;
- On the day of your appointment you will need to bring with you the $100 filing fee and pay any additional administrative fees assessed by the Clerk’s office;
- An Assistant District Attorney will meet with you on the day of your appointment to complete your petition. You will then take the completed petition along with your filing fee to the Clerk’s office.
- Once the petition is filed in the Clerk’s office, the Clerk will assign your petition a docket number and set a date for you to appear before a Criminal Court judge. In certain cases, the judge may review your petition and enter the order without a hearing. If a hearing is scheduled, you must be present on the date your petition is scheduled in order for your expungement to be granted.
- If at any time during this process, you want legal advice, then you must contact an attorney. The Office of the District Attorney does not represent you, and we will not give you legal advice.
Expungement Screening For Dismissals
- Expungement Applications for judgments of Dismissal, Nolle Prosequi, No True Bill, and Not Guilty Verdicts are free of charge.
- Expungement Applications for judgments of Dismissal After Successful Completion of Judicial Diversion require payment of a non-refundable $100 fee to the Clerk of the Court at the time of submission. Expungement Applications for judgments of Dismissal After Successful Completion of Pretrial Diversion require payment of a non-refundable $100 fee to the Clerk of the Court at the time of submission.
- All restitution, court costs, fines, & probation fees (if ordered) must be paid in full prior to submission of the Application. Please confirm payment information with the Sullivan County Criminal Court Clerk.
Expungement Screening For Convictions
- All applicants must follow the instructions in the Expungement of Conviction Packet. Failure to fill out the application completely will delay our review of your application.
What is an expungement?
- Expungement is the process to remove a charge or charges from a public criminal record. For more information, see T.C.A. § 40-32-101.
- Expungement is not an automatic process and you must file with the court to receive it.
How do I start?
- The process starts at the local level at the court in the county where the arrest occurred.
- Charges that were “Dismissed,” “Nolle Prosequi,” “No True Bill,” or a verdict of “Not Guilty” are eligible for Expungement at no cost to you. Charges that were on “Diversion” (Pretrial or Judicial) and certain qualifying convictions are subject to additional fees.
What if I have a dismissal on my record?
For charges that were dismissed in Sullivan County, you can appear in the Clerk’s Office for the court where the charges were heard and request to complete the one-page expungement form and TBI Order.
What if I have a conviction on my record?
- Pursuant to T.C.A. § 40-32-101(g) and (k), certain convictions are eligible for Expungement. If your conviction occurred within Sullivan County, you can appear at our office located on the second floor of the Justice Center in Blountville to request an Expungement of Conviction Packet.
- You can also download an Expungement of Conviction Packet PDF, which includes the Instructions, Demographic Form, Petition Checklist Requirements, and Inclusion/Exclusion Lists of Crimes.
- Please carefully follow the instructions on the cover sheet and in the packet in order for your initial request to be evaluated and processed by the Sullivan County District Attorney General’s Office.
- If you require legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney as the District Attorney General’s Office does not represent you and is prohibited from providing you with legal advice.
- If your conviction is among the eligible crimes, and you qualify for the stipulations, you can file a Petition to have your record expunged.
- You must pay a NON-REFUNDABLE filing fee of $100 at the time you file your Petition to the Clerk of the Court where the conviction was entered. In most cases, this will be done at the time your expungement order is signed and filed with the Clerk.
- You should keep this certified copy forever as proof that your case was expunged.
- The District Attorney General, by assisting in the completion of the Petition for Expungement and the Order of Expungement, is not giving legal advice but is performing an administrative function pursuant to T.C.A. § 40-32-101(g) and (k), and further in some instances, the District Attorney General may stand in opposition to the granting of the Petition.
- If you are currently represented by an attorney who is assisting you in filing your Petition, the District Attorney General’s Office will not evaluate your request until your Petition (including required documentation as per the Expungement Packet) and your proposed Order is filed with the Court.
What does the court do with my expungement order?
Once the court completes the Expungement process locally, the Expungement Order is sent to various agencies including the arresting agency, county jail, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Each agency then follows its own procedures to expunge the charges. You may want to contact the TDOC and TBI to make sure each agency received a copy of your Order.
Why is my charge showing on a background check?
Please note that if a background check is requested through a private background check company (not through the TBI or other state bureau or FBI) criminal charges will probably still appear on file. Background check companies gather information as it becomes public and it is rarely updated. If charges are showing at a background check company, you will need to contact the company directly.
What else do I need to know?
Once charges have been expunged, it is very important for you to keep a certified copy of the Expungement Order. It is the only way you will be able to prove the Expungement has been completed by the court and is valid.