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Tennessee Arrest Records

Tennessee Arrest Records are official documents that provide information about an individual's arrest history in the state. Law enforcement agencies generate these records while the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) maintains them.

Arrest records in Tennessee can be helpful for various purposes, including background checks, employment screening, and legal proceedings. However, it's important to note that an arrest record does not necessarily indicate guilt or a criminal conviction. Individuals should not be discriminated against solely based on an arrest record.

The information in these records varies depending on the law enforcement agency that created them and the arrest circumstances. But the specific details that you can find in Tennessee Arrest Records may include the following:

  • The full name of the arrested individual
  • Date of birth and age
  • Gender and race
  • Booking and arrest date and location
  • The nature of the crime or offenses for which the individual was arrested
  • Any charges or citations filed against the individual
  • Arrest photograph or mugshot
  • Fingerprints and other physical identifying information
  • Information about any outstanding warrants or prior criminal history
  • Details about the law enforcement agency or agencies involved in the arrest
  • Court case number and outcome, including bail or bond information
  • Additional notes and comments made by the arresting officer/s

In Tennessee, anyone can get public arrest records by sending a written request to the law enforcement agency that holds the records.

However, agencies may reject access to requesters if the sought records fall under one of the nine Freedom of Information Act exemptions or those exempted under the Tennessee Public Records Act. Furthermore, sealed or expunged arrest records are not accessible to the public.

What Laws Govern Arrests in Tennessee?

The law governing arrests in Tennessee is in the Tennessee Code Annotated Title 40, Chapter 7. This law outlines the authority of law enforcement officers to make arrests and the procedures they must follow.

Under Tennessee law, law enforcement officers and citizens may arrest someone when they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony or witnessed the person committing a public offense.

Anyone arrested in Tennessee must be taken before a judge or magistrate within 48 hours of their arrest. During this hearing, the judge will decide whether there is probable cause for the arrest and if the individual should be released or detained until trial.

Probable cause means the officer has enough evidence or information to believe the person has committed a crime.

Arrest Without a Warrant in Tennessee

Arrest without a warrant in Tennessee is feasible if the following circumstances occur:

  • A crime committed in police presence
  • The police officer has reasonable grounds to think the suspect is accountable for a felony.
  • Someone facing arrest tried suicide
  • The subject has committed domestic abuse
  • The police officer suspects the person broke bail terms
  • The police officer suspects stalking
  • The police officer suspects a motor vehicle crime or driving under the influence after a traffic accident that killed or injured someone.

What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Tennessee?

The booking procedure in Tennessee includes several actions the defendant must complete to be properly and legally recorded in the arrest information system. At this point, the law enforcement agency created the official Tennessee Arrest Records.

There is no way to avoid the booking procedure, a common practice for all defendants. During the arrest booking process in Tennessee, the following occurs:


The first step in the arrest booking process is the arrest itself. A law enforcement officer takes an individual into custody and transports them to a local jail or detention center.

Due to the nature of the arrest, defendants often do not have legal counsel during or early after the arrest. Because of this, it is crucial to observe the Miranda warnings the police read and remain silent.

Record Check

Once the individual is in custody, the arresting officer will conduct a record check to confirm their identity and check for any outstanding warrants or prior criminal history.

Photographs and Fingerprinting

After the record check is complete, the individual is photographed and fingerprinted. The police officer will add this information to their arrest record.

Collection of Personal Property

The jail staff will collect and store the individual's personal property, such as their wallet, phone, and jewelry.

Health Screening

Next, the individual undergoes a health screening to check for any medical issues or injuries requiring immediate attention.


The individual is then placed in a holding cell until they can appear before a judge or post bail.

After the booking process is complete, the individual will typically have the opportunity to call a family member or lawyer. They may also be interviewed by a pretrial services officer, who will recommend their release on bail to the judge.

If the individual cannot post bail, they remain in custody until trial. If released on bail, they must attend all scheduled court appearances and comply with any other conditions set by the court, such as attending drug or alcohol counseling.

What Are Your Rights During Tennessee Arrest?

When arrested in Tennessee, you have several rights protected by law. These rights are as follows:

Right to Remain Silent

You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You do not have to answer questions beyond your name and identification.

Right to an Attorney

You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, the court must appoint an attorney to represent you. You have the right to consult with an attorney before answering any questions.

Right to Be Informed of Charges

You have the right to know the charges against you. The arresting officer must inform you of the charges immediately.

Right to Reasonable Bail

You have the right to reasonable bail, meaning you should not be held in custody solely because you cannot afford to post bail.

Right to Humane Treatment

You have the right to humane treatment while in custody. Excessive force, harsh or unusual punishment, and other abuse are prohibited.

What Are Tennessee Mugshot Records?

Tennessee Mugshot Records are shoulder-up photographs taken by law enforcement agencies of individuals arrested or booked into custody in the state. These records are typically taken at the time of the arrest. Generally, they may include the individual's name, aliases, other identifying information, and the reason for their arrest.

They may be used by employers, landlords, and other entities to conduct background checks and assess a person's criminal history. However, not all individuals pictured in mugshots have criminal convictions, and that arrest records alone do not indicate guilt.

Mugshots are public documents in Tennessee. You can access them primarily at all local police stations in the state since they are taken whenever an individual is arrested or charged with a crime. Thus, you can request these records by visiting or calling the local police departments in the county where the arrest occurred.

Another method to get mugshot records in the state is through the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry or obtaining inmate records using the Felony Offender Information Lookup (FOIL) tool.

How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Tennessee?

Tennessee law enforcement will record arrestees in their database. This record will stay on file for life unless a court order removes or deletes it. It means an individual's arrest record will be available indefinitely to the public and potential employers when they conduct background checks or request the record.

Fortunately, there are provisions in Tennessee law for the expungement of certain types of arrest records. Expungement in Tennessee means that certain criminal records related to an arrest, charge, or conviction are erased or sealed from public access.

How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Tennessee?

Expungement or expunction in Tennessee allows individuals arrested or convicted of certain crimes to legally deny or conceal those records from public view, which can help them with employment, housing, and other opportunities.

In Tennessee, individuals arrested but not convicted of a crime may be eligible to have their arrest record expunged. The expungement process in this situation is in the Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-32-101. It outlines the requirements and procedures for the expungement of non-conviction records.

Generally, to be eligible for expungement of an arrest record without conviction in Tennessee, you must meet the following conditions:

  • The charges against you were dismissed or found not guilty at trial
  • You have no pending charges or proceedings related to the arrest

If these requirements are met, you may file a petition for expungement with the court in the county where the arrest occurred. The petition must accompany a certified copy of the arrest record and any other relevant documentation, such as a court order of dismissal or a not-guilty verdict.

Expunging Arrest Records With Conviction in Tennessee

If the Tennessee Arrest Records lead to convictions or criminal records, you can only expunge two misdemeanors or one felony (Class D or Class E) and one misdemeanor. Examples of eligible felonies in Tennessee are as follows:

  • Burglary of an auto
  • Counterfeit controlled substance
  • Vandalism
  • Forgery
  • Fraud in insolvency
  • Theft
  • Fraudulent insurance claims
  • Unlawful drug paraphernalia uses and activities

Conversely, most misdemeanors in Tennessee are eligible for expungement unless you have a record included on the ineligible misdemeanors list.

After completing your sentence, you must wait five years for misdemeanors and Class E felonies and ten years for Class D felonies before you may have your arrest or criminal record expunged in Tennessee. In addition, you must pay any court costs, fines, and fees associated with your case.

If you qualify for an expungement of arrest record with conviction, you must submit a petition in the court where the matter first occurred.

The court will schedule a hearing to consider your petition for expungement. You must attend the hearing and provide any additional documentation or information the court requests.

If the court approves your petition for expungement, they will order to delete your record. This order will be sent to the appropriate agencies to seal your record from public access.

How To Search Tennessee Arrest Records?

There are several methods on how you can search Tennessee Arrest Records.

The first one is through TBI. The TBI maintains a statewide repository of criminal history information, which includes arrest records.

The TBI provides criminal record checks for adults via the Tennessee Open Records Information Services (TORIS). You may also request Tennessee criminal history records via mail or fax by completing the Tennessee Criminal History Information Request Form and paying the applicable fee.

Another option to request a copy of the arrest record is to contact the county sheriff's office where the arrest occurred. Some counties may allow you to search their records online.

Lastly, you can request public records from the agency that made the arrest, such as a local police department. This request may be subject to fees and processing times.

Regardless of your chosen method, having as much information about the arrest as possible is essential, including the date, location, and name of the person arrested. It will help ensure that you will receive accurate records.


Counties in Tennessee

Jails and Prisons in Tennessee

Shelby County TN Justice Complex201 Poplar Avenue, Suite 4-01, Memphis, TN
Shelby County TN Adult Offender Center (AOC)1045 Mullins Station Road, Memphis, TN
Shelby County TN Juvenile Detention Center616 Adams Avenue, Memphis, TN
Mark Luttrell Transition Center6000 State Road, Memphis, TN
Shelby Training Center3420 Old Getwell Road, Memphis, TN
Shelby County TN Jail Men's Facility201 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN
Maximum Correctional Center (MCC)5113 Harding Place, Nashville, TN