Bill reducing fees for expunging criminal records becomes law

News release from House Democratic Caucus

MEMPHIS-TN State Rep. Raumesh Akbari says she’s pleased that her bill reducing the expunction fee has been signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam.  The legislation will lower the expunction fee from $350 down to $180. The new law takes effect immediately.

After the signing, Rep. Akbari, (D-District 91), said “The bottom line is this- we believe that people should not be judged for the rest of their lives for the decisions they make on their worst day.  By reducing part of the financial barrier to expunction, more ex-offenders will be able to get their lives back on track; reducing the recidivism rate and strengthening our communities.”

The bill (HB418) was co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and is part of a criminal justice reform package spearheaded by the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, which Rep. Akbari chairs. (Note: Lead sponsor in the Senate was Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris,)

Akbari also passed two additional expunction bills.  One (HB636) makes it easier for juveniles to get criminal records expunged.  The other (HB873) allows a person who has two convictions to get a one-time expunction of both.

Note: The AP notes in a brief on the bill that the reduction in cost from $350 to $180 doesn’t include related court costs or fees. WBBJ TV of Jackson, quoting a local lawyer, apparently does so – pegging the reduction in total costs from $450 to $270. Both stories note that the state’s law on expunging records covers only relatively minor offenses.

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