What happens if you or a loved one committed a crime as a child or young adult and that is on their criminal record? Criminal records can create consequences for those who have them in ways that they may not understand or like. Employers and landlords may ask questions on whether or not you were convicted of a crime and this could make or break you being able to receive a job you wanted or move into a home that seemed right for you. The good news is that your criminal record may not actually be around forever. No, you may be able to get it expunged from your record, and now you can find out what that means.
So, what is expungement? This refers to the process of sealing arrest and conviction records that may be beneficial to many trying to receive work or new housing. Most states agree that, once a record is expunged, the information surrounding the conviction does not need to be disclosed to anybody for any reason. In Tennessee specifically, if you have successfully completed something known as a pretrial diversion program, your conviction record may be eligible for expungement, or if you successfully complete probation. A pretrial diversion is an alternative prosecution that seeks to divert certain offenders from traditional criminal justice and places them into a program that is overseen by the U.S. Probation Service.
Am I Eligible for Expungement? Ask Yourself:
- Is a particular offense eligible for expungement? A jurisdiction may allow expungement for arrests and misdemeanor convictions. However, some may not allow felony convictions from being expunged.
- When does a person become eligible for expungement? Expungement may only be available after somebody has finished serving a sentence, which could include probation. However, a judge may shorten a period of probation in order to allow expungement.
- What is involved in the expungement process? A “motion for expungement” needs to be filed with or without an attorney. Courts will have this form available in many cases.
- What are the consequences of expungement? A conviction, though expunged, may show up in some circumstances. For instance, police departments and some licensing boards may be able to find out about expunged records.
Can a Witness’ Record Be Used Against He or She in Court?
Sometimes there is a great deal of excitement when a witness’ past is used against him or herself. A defending party may try to discredit a witness by bringing up unsavory and relevant aspects of his or her past. In the past, if a witness had a felony conviction, then the jury could be told about it and they might not have been seen as an honest witness. Even when a conviction has been expunged, this is still the case. If a person’s honesty, known as moral turpitude convictions is up in the air, then it can be used at trial.
What Role does Expunged Records Play in Civil Cases?
Expunged records can become relevant in serious civil cases, such as libel. Those that have not allowed a libel suit have relied on the established defense that the truth of the statement will defeat a libel suit. The court that hears the libel case may sometimes be the same one that ordered the plaintiff’s record to be expunged. These courts are placed in a sort of strange position, then, because they first expunged the conviction and then ruled that recitation of the event is the truth.
If you or a loved one believes that your criminal record should be sealed or expunged, then the first step you should take is speaking to an experienced attorney. Speaking to somebody who knows the laws and regulations surrounding expungement will get you far in the scheme of things. Call the Law Offices of Peter Blair today for an assessment of your case and to see where to turn next. Available 24/7 by phone, get the help you need today from attorney Peter Blair.