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New law allows some criminal records to be cleared

Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

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Tennessee’s district attorneys are preparing to implement the effects of a new law that will allow Tennessee residents convicted of certain crimes to have the infraction expunged from their public records, effective July 1. This is the first time what is known as “extraordinary relief” has been available in Tennessee.

Residents of Moore County wishing to apply for such expunction must contact the 17th Judicial District Attorney Chuck Crawford at (931) 438-1906. Requests must be made in the county in which individuals were convicted of the crime.

“This responsibility has been presented to the district attorneys of Tennessee by the legislature, and the district attorneys will carry out their duties by the book,” said Wally Kirby, executive director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. “The district attorneys will ensure that any person seeking extraordinary relief meet all necessary requirements and comply strictly with the process.”

Only certain crimes are eligible for expunction; they must be non-violent, non-DUI and non-sexual crimes. Crimes eligible are misdemeanors and Class E felonies committed in the state of Tennessee after Nov. 1, 1989, including forgery, theft, vandal-ism, and fraudulent or false insurance claims, among others. These crimes must have been for an amount less than $1,000.

Additional stipulations to qualify for expunction require that the individual have no other convictions than the one under review. Also, the individual must have completed all terms of his or her sentencing, paid all fines and remained free of alcohol or substance abuse for at least one year. At least five years must have elapsed from the completion of the individual’s sentence. The individual must also pay a fee of $350 to the Clerk of Court, provide photo or government-issued identification, and present a copy of the record of the conviction.

State Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, sponsored the bill as it passed through legislation in the House.

“It’s paramount to recognize the hard work many have put into this legislation that will allow Tennesseans who have paid for their mistakes to have a second chance,” said Rep. Matheny. “Special thanks go to the stakeholders and the Haslam administration for their cooperation and understanding.”

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