Tennessee Code Annotated § 40-32-101. Destruction or release; construction of law
(a)(1) All public records of a person who has been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, and
which charge has been dismissed, or a no true bill returned by a grand jury, or a verdict of not guilty
returned by a jury, and all public records of a person who was arrested and released without being
charged, shall, upon petition by that person to the court having jurisdiction in such previous action, be
removed and destroyed without cost to such person
; however, the cost for destruction of records shall
apply where the charge or warrant was dismissed in any court as a result of the successful completion
of diversion program according to §§ 40-15-102--40-15-105; provided, that such cost for destruction
shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00); provided, that the records of a person who successfully
completes a diversion program pursuant to §§ 40-15-102--40-15-105 shall not be removed and
destroyed pursuant to this section if the offense for which prosecution was suspended was a sexual
offense as defined by § 40-39-102(5); provided, however, that when a defendant in a case has been
convicted of any offense or charge, including a lesser included offense or charge, the defendant shall
not be entitled to expungement of the records or charges in such case pursuant to this part.
(2) All public records of a person required to post bond under the provisions of § 38-3-109 or §
38-4-106 (repealed) shall be removed and destroyed as required by this chapter upon the expiration
of any bond required, if no surety on the bond is required to fulfill the obligations of the bond.
(3) Upon petition by a defendant in the court which entered a nolle prosequi in the defendant's case,
the court shall order all public records expunged.
(4) For purposes of this section, "court" includes any court exercising juvenile jurisdiction.
(5) All public records concerning an order of protection authorized by title 36, chapter 3, part 6, which
was successfully defended and denied by the court following a hearing conducted pursuant to §
36-3-605, shall, upon petition by that person to the court denying such order, be removed and
destroyed without cost to such person.
(6) All public records of a person who has been convicted of an offense that was committed prior to
such person's twenty-first birthday shall, upon petition by such person to the court having jurisdiction
over the original conviction, be removed and destroyed if such person:
(A) Has not been convicted of an offense except for the offense to which the petition pertains;
(B) Was not convicted of a sexual offense as defined by § 40-39-102(3) [now § 40-39-102(5)];
(C) Pays a fee to be established by the court for the destruction of such public records; provided such
fee shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00).
(b)(1) "Public records," for the purpose of expunction only, does not include arrest histories,
investigative reports, intelligence information of law enforcement agencies, or files of district attorneys
general that are maintained as confidential records for law enforcement purposes and are not open
for inspection by members of the public and shall also not include records of the department of
children's services or department of human services which are confidential under state or federal law
and which are required to be maintained by state or federal law for audit or other purposes.
Whenever an order of expunction issues under this section directed to the department of children's
services or department of human services, the department shall notify the defendant if there are
records required to be maintained as directed above and the basis therefor. The department shall
delete identifying information in these records whenever permitted by state or federal law. These
records are to be expunged whenever their maintenance is no longer required by state or federal law.
(2) "Public records", for the purpose of expunction only, does not include appellate court records or
appellate court opinions.
(c)(1) Release of such confidential records or information contained therein other than to law
enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes shall be a Class A misdemeanor.
(2) This section shall not be construed to deny access to any record to the comptroller of the treasury
or the comptroller of the treasury's agent for purposes of audit investigation; the comptroller of the
treasury or the comptroller of the treasury's agent having such access shall protect the confidential
nature of any such records which are not otherwise public under other statutes.
(3) Release of arrest histories of a defendant or potential witness in a criminal proceeding to an
attorney of record in the proceeding shall be made to such attorney upon request.
(d)(1) Any court ordering the expungement of a person's public records of a criminal offense,
including orders issued as a result of the successful completion of a diversion program pursuant to §§
40-15-105 and 40-15-106 or judicial diversion program, shall send or cause to be sent a copy of such
expungement order to the Tennessee bureau of investigation for entry into its expunged offender and
pretrial diversion database. The order shall contain the name of the person seeking expungement,
the person's date of birth and social security number, the offense that was dismissed, the date and
cause of such dismissal and the date the order of expungement is entered.
(2) After April 25, 2000, a defendant petitioning a court for expungement of records because the
charge against such person was dismissed as a result of the successful completion of a diversion
program pursuant to §§ 40-15-102-- 40-15-106 shall be assessed a fifty dollar ($50.00) fee. Such fifty
dollar ($50.00) fee shall not apply to any case where there has been an acquittal, nolle prosequi, or
dismissal for failure to prosecute or where the law does not require a copy of the expungement order
be sent to the Tennessee bureau of investigation. Such fee shall be transmitted by the clerk of such
court to the state treasurer for deposit in a special fund to be used by the Tennessee bureau of
investigation for the exclusive purpose of establishing and maintaining the expunged criminal offender
and pretrial diversion database. The moneys received in such fund shall be invested for the benefit of
the fund by the state treasurer pursuant to § 9-4-603. Amounts in the fund shall not revert to the
general fund of the state but shall, together with interest income credited to the fund, remain available
for expenditure in subsequent fiscal years.
(e) It is the intent of the general assembly that no fee ever be charged a person who is petitioning a
court for expungement of records because:
(1) The charge against such person was dismissed for a reason other than the successful completion
of a diversion program pursuant to §§ 40-15-102-- 40-15-106 or § 40-35-313;
(2) A no true bill was returned by a grand jury;
(3) A verdict of not guilty was returned by a jury; or
(4) The person was arrested and released without being charged.
Attorney Kenneth Quillen accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.