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The process of expungement

Tennessee residents who have been arrested or convicted of a crime may be interested to know whether they would qualify for an expungement. This is the legal procedure that seals or erases the legal record of an arrest or conviction. The state and county in which the arrest or conviction occurred will determine the availability of expungement and how the process takes place.

Once an expungement is granted, the individual is not required to disclose the arrest or conviction. In addition, if a prospective employer or some other company conducts a background check on the individual, the record of the expunged arrest or conviction will not appear in most cases.

While the expunged record would not be able to be located by the public, it would be under seal or accessible only to various government entities in the criminal justice system, such as courts or law enforcement agencies. In some situations, if an individual commits a crime after an expungement or has to undergo immigration or deportation proceedings, the expunged record that is under seal may be a factor considered in the case.

Some states do not permit the expunging of criminal convictions. In other states, having a criminal record expunged will depend on the criminal history of the individual, the jurisdiction in which the crime took place, the type of the charge or crime and the length of time since the arrest or conviction.

A record of an arrest or conviction can have long-term effects on individuals seeking employment or housing. After considering the factors surrounding a client's arrest or conviction, a criminal defense attorney may advise a client whether expungement is a viable course of action. If so, the attorney can explain the steps that are involved.

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