Expunging or Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records in Tennessee
For arrests and charges filed against juveniles, one of the following must be true in order to file for an expungement in Tennessee:
- A petition alleging delinquency was not filed,
- The proceedings were dismissed after a petition for delinquency was filed or after the case was transferred to Juvenile Court,
- The juvenile was adjudicated (determined by a court) not to be a delinquent, or
- The juvenile was charged with a felony and adjudicated not to be a delinquent, but whose fingerprint records were kept until the juvenile turned 18 years old.
Procedures for expunging juvenile records are largely the same as for expunging adult records. The main difference is that you need to file your petition request in the appropriate juvenile court where your original proceedings were held (referred to as the "court of original jurisdiction"). Check with the clerk of that court for the specific requirements for applying for expungement there. Some juvenile courts may have a specific "Petition for Expungement of Files and Records" to be filled out. Otherwise, you should use the Tennessee Order for the Expungement of Criminal Offender Record. Check with the clerk of your particular juvenile court to find out exactly which form is appropriate in that county.
You will also be required to sign a statement swearing to the following (and be able to prove it in court):
- That you are over the age of 18 and it has been at least one year since your most recent delinquency adjudication (determination by court), or non-judicial adjustment (a criminal matter that was resolved outside of court with a probation officer),
- That you have never been convicted of a criminal offense as an adult,
- That you have never been convicted of a criminal offense following transfer from Juvenile Court and have never been convicted of a sexual offense whether in Juvenile Court, following transfer from Juvenile Court, or as an adult, and
- That you can demonstrate a consistent and exemplary pattern of responsible, productive and civic-minded conduct for more than one year immediately preceding the filing of the expungement petition, or
- That you can show the court that an adjustment has been made such that the court will find expunging your record to be in the best interest of the community.
Remember that even if you have met all of the above conditions for expungement of your juvenile record, if your record lists a sexual or violent sexual offense, you cannot have your record expunged. Examples of such crimes include :
- Sexual battery
- Statutory rape
- Indecent exposure
- Exploitation of a minor
- Incest, and
- Conspiracy, attempt, or aggravated versions of any of these and more.
Your affidavit swearing the truth of all of the above matters will also have to be signed and certified by the clerk of the local court where you are submitting your petition (this should also be the court where you were convicted originally). To be valid, the clerk must be present when you sign it .
For more information on Tennessee expungements, see the following articles: