One of the primary questions I get in my practice is, "can I get my criminal charges expunged?" And once you plead guilty to a criminal offense, you cannot get your criminal record expunged at a later date. This is why it’s important to avoid a conviction in the first place. 

However, under certain situations, you can have your record expunged IF your case was dismissed, retired, or if the District Attorney General moved for a Nolle Prosequi. There are also certain types of plea bargains that you can enter into that may allow you to have your record expunged at a later time.

These pleas are referred to as diverison plea agreements, and there are two types of diversions. 

  1. A pre-trial diversion: This is where a defendant enters into a memorandum of understanding to do certain things during a period of time. One condition is not to be rearrested.
  2. A Judicial diversion: This is when you enter into a plea, in which you enter into a conditional plea of guilt. If you violate the terms and conditions of your probation, the plea goes onto your criminal record. If you’re successful, the conviction will go away after the period of probation.

In Clay Carey’s recent The Tennessean article, Tennessee filings to erase arrest records rise with unemployment, I talk a little bit more about expungement as related to the current job market.