Misdemeanors are commonly considered to be relatively petty crimes with the maximum jail time of 11 months and 29 days and fines of up to $2,500 in Tennessee. Depending on the circumstances, an individual who is arrested for a misdemeanor may not end up serving any jail time at all, but the other consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can plague that person’s life for years to come.
Collateral consequences of a misdemeanor conviction
The American Bar Association (ABA) has compiled a national inventory of the collateral consequences of criminal convictions in the United States. They have used this data to create an interactive tool that allows users to sort using different criteria to find out what the ongoing consequences of any kind of conviction might be.
For example, using the triggering offense category of misdemeanor crimes, the tool came up with 12 different consequences that might apply to a Tennessee resident who is convicted of a misdemeanor crime including:
- Ineligible to serve as volunteer/employee/manager/director of child care agency
- Ineligible to serve as employee/volunteer with mental health residential treatment facility for children/youth (health care)
- Ineligible to bid/provide proposals to the Tennessee Housing Development Authority (convictions of employees/agents/independent contracts/proposed subcontractors)
- Deny/suspend/revoke orthopedic physician assistant license/impose civil penalty (health care)
- Ineligible for direct patient care employment with nursing home facility (heath care)
- Ineligible for veterinary license by reciprocity
There are 45,000 state and federal consequences for convictions in the ABA’s interactive database tool. A misdemeanor conviction can have a negative impact on a person’s access to housing, financing, seeking elected office, certain family rights, employment opportunities and professional licensing.
Options for expunging a criminal record in Tennessee
If an individual has been convicted of a misdemeanor that was relatively non-violent and has gone on to live a law-abiding life since then, he or she may be eligible to have his or her record expunged. After five years since the completion of the sentence imposed, you would file a petition in the same county court where you were convicted; however, you must not have any convictions in any other state or federal court other than the one you are seeking to expunge. You must have paid all of the fines and associated court costs and any restitution that was ordered.
Misdemeanors that involve physical force, sexual offenses, minors or the use of a deadly weapon may not be expunged in Tennessee. The complete text of the amended law on expunction in Tennessee can be found here.
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor criminal offense, or if you have an old offense on your record that you would like to get rid of, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, so that we can discuss your case and advise you of your legal options.