How do I clean my criminal record?

Jef Goldtrap here, in Nashville with a Criminal Law question.

How do I clean my criminal record?

In Tennessee there are a few ways you can clean your record. You want to expunge your record. When you think of expunging something think about a sponge. You take a sponge and clean the counter. You scrub away the grim. In Tennessee you can expunge (think about that sponge) or scrub away your criminal record.

We already talked about retirement, dismissal and nolle. Today we are going to talk about diversion. Some counties talk about post plea diversion. Don’t get all lost in the details of “post plea.” When you entered a plea did you hear the numbers 40, 35, and 313? If you did this is GOLD. By having a plea under 40-35-313 you can clean your criminal record.

Let’s say you plead guilty and took probation for a year, two years, or three years. In that time you do GREAT.

  • You mind your manners.

  • You show up when the probation officer asks to see you.

  • You have clean drug screens.

  • You don’t pick up any new charges.

One day your probation officer says “you finished!” You do not have to report every again! Wonderful! Now your record is clean, right? Not so quick. Remember you plead guilty under “diversion.”

When you plead guilty under "diversion" it was a “conditional plea.” This means that you promised to do some things. You agreed to probation. It is likely that:

  • You promised to come see your probation officer. You agreed to pay for what you stole.

  • You agreed to take drug classes.

  • You agreed to take parenting classes.

  • You agreed to stay out of any more legal trouble.

You succeeded. The Judge agreed that if you did all these things he or she would clean the record. You had no record before and you have a clean record again. Great!

And this is automatic, right? Wrong. Cleaning your record is not like the switch on a computer. It does not happen all by itself. When you finish probation you must file a motion. Remember a motion is a paper asking the Judge for something. File a motion telling the judge that you finished probation and you did all the things the judge told you to do. Your motion is saying “I did what you told me to do.” “Judge please do what you said you would do.” You are asking the judge to clean your record.

If the Judge says “yes” then you will ask the court for an Order expunging your record. The Order will be signed by the Judge. It will be taken to the Court Clerk’s office. You next pay a fee of $450.00 to the State of Tennessee. After you pay your fee the process will begin. The process takes anywhere from six weeks to six months. Be patient.

I am Jef Goldtrap, an attorney in Nashville. I hope I have helped you today. How can I clean my record? Use diversion to clean or expunge your record. Does this help? I hope so. Have more questions? Send me an email at Join my Facebook Group, Tennessee Legal Questions. Like my Facebook page Jefre Goldtrap, Attorney at Law and send a private message. Send me a text to 615-873-0529. Call the office 615-254-1471. I look forward to helping you.

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