Criminal convictions can affect many aspects of your life. If you apply for a job, your employer may conduct a background check. If the employer sees that you have a conviction, he or she may not hire you. Convictions can make it difficult to buy a home, rent an apartment, obtain credit, or keep access to a firearm. A conviction can affect your ability to gain entrance into a college or educational program.
A criminal expungement is the removal of a prior conviction from your criminal record. The Tennessee law on expungement of criminal records allows a prior conviction to be expunged if:
- The charges were dismissed
- A “no true bill” was returned by a grand jury
- You were arrested but you weren’t charged
- You were acquitted by a judge or a jury of your peers
- Your case was subject to a nolle prosequi (a decision by the prosecution not to pursue the charges)
- Your conviction was overturned on appeal
Most misdemeanors and some felonies can be expunged. In general, however, criminal charges cannot be dismissed if the conviction is for a violent offense, a sex crime conviction, or a DUI conviction. The reason why a DUI conviction cannot be expunged is because it is an enhanceable offense, meaning that the penalties increase if you commit the crime more than once.
If I can’t clear my record, what can I do?
Often, a DUI lawyer will work to have your charges reduced to just the underlying traffic offenses such as speeding or running through a red light. As a general rule, traffic offenses can be expunged. If the charges are reduced to a non-DUI misdemeanor (such as reckless driving or reckless endangerment), then you can also seek to have your record expunged. In other words, if your lawyer can get the prosecutor to agree to lesser charges, you could request an expungement later to clean your record.
Drivers who refuse to submit to a breath test, a blood test, or to field sobriety tests may be charged with a violation of the Tennessee implied consent rules. Generally, implied consent violations are handled through the Motor Vehicle Department and not the criminal courts. After you serve your suspension for violating the implied consent laws, you may be able to seek to have the violation removed
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we have the experience to question police officers and challenge the admission of evidence. Our primary goal is to have the charges dismissed and to have any test results suppressed. We often negotiate fair agreements. When necessary, we’re ready to aggressively fight the charges in court. To learn more about DUI and expungement, call us at 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Franklin, Columbia and Brentwood.