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Expungements in Tennessee will be easier to obtain

Are you a Tennessee resident who has lost out on job offers and other benefits due to a prior arrest record? If so, there is good news coming down the pipeline.

Many employers simply balk at hiring anyone with any contact with the criminal justice system, and some positions outright bar candidates with an arrest from being eligible for the job. But recently, a panel of judges, criminal justice officials and lawmakers announced a new statewide initiative by the Tennessee courts. Judges will begin asking eligible residents if they wish to get their records expunged. The expungements only apply to those who were arrested but not convicted of the charge(s).

The reason behind this is simple. People are frequently denied employment simply because of a long ago arrest. Almost anyone can face a false arrest, and those determined not guilty or who had a dismissal of the charges should not continue to be haunted by the specter of an old arrest.

In the past, it has been burdensome and expensive to get arrest records expunged, even though these same people were already candidates for expungements. This new initiative will streamline and simplify the process.

Because the policy only applies to arrests and not to convictions, it is imperative that anyone facing criminal charges in the state of Tennessee mounts a robust defense to the allegations they face. Defending oneself or relying on overworked and underpaid public defenders is usually not as effective as retaining a criminal defense attorney. But whatever choice is made by defendants, the defense strategies must be coordinated and aggressive in order to forestall the prosecution from proving its case at trial.

Source: Thunder Radio, “Tennessee Courts make it easier for people to have Criminal Records Wiped Clean,” April 13, 2016

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