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Tennessee Criminal Records

Tennessee Criminal Records, sometimes known as rap sheets, include information on an individual's criminal history and encounters with the state criminal justice system. Criminal records are the complete Tennessee police records produced about a person and give indisputable evidence of guilt.

Some of the information that you can typically find in these records are as follows:

  • Personal identifying information such as name, date of birth, gender, and race
  • The subject's physical description, such as height and weight
  • Fingerprint
  • Mugshot
  • Details about the offense, including the type of crime and the date of the offense
  • Arrest information, including the date and place of the arrest and the agency that made the arrest
  • Court information, such as the court's name, the judge's name, and the court appearance date
  • Case disposition—conviction, acquittal, or dismissal
  • Sentencing information, including the length of the sentence, the type of sentence, and if served
  • Correctional status

In Tennessee, criminal records are public information under the state's Freedom of Information Act, which means anyone can access them.

One of the primary reasons for making criminal records publicly accessible is to promote transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system. By providing access to this information, individuals can make informed decisions about their safety and the safety of their communities.

Additionally, making criminal records publicly accessible can help reduce the potential for discrimination or bias in employment and housing decisions, as it allows individuals to verify their criminal histories and correct any errors or inaccuracies.

However, some information may be restricted or sealed, such as information related to juvenile offenses, expunged records, and certain sensitive information.

What Are the Types of Crimes in Tennessee?

The quantity of information included in criminal records varies by state. But, if you go through Tennessee Crime Records, you can come across the following crimes:


A Tennessee felony is the state's most severe crime classification and is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Tennessee, like other states, separates felonies into five classes, from A through E. Class A felonies are the most violent, while Class E felonies are the mildest.

The following are some instances of felony violations in each class, along with the associated sentence ranges:

Class A Felonies

It is the most severe type of felony, carrying a $50,000 fine and a 15–60-year prison sentence. If someone has any of the following convictions, they will be subject to those penalties:

  • Terrorist acts
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Aggravated rape
  • Rape of a minor under 13

Class B Felonies

If you commit any crimes under this class, you could face a fine of $25,000 and 8 to 30 years in prison. Examples of crimes that come under this class include:

  • Money laundering
  • Sex trafficking
  • Encourage a minor to do pornographic sexual activities
  • Carjacking

Class C Felonies

If you are guilty of the following Class C felonies, you risk up to $10,000 and 3 to 15 years in prison.

  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated burglary
  • Robbery

Class D Felonies

A Class D felony conviction on a person's Tennessee Criminal Record carries penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and 2 to 12 years in prison. Here are a few examples of Tennessee's Class D felonies:

  • Extortion
  • Reckless homicide
  • Marijuana possessing of ten to 70 pounds
  • Unlawful surveillance

Class E Felonies

Anyone guilty of this offense faces a $3,000 fine and a possible 1 to 6 years imprisonment. The following crimes fit within this category:

  • Aggravated rioting
  • Handgun possession
  • Firearm theft
  • Theft of property valued between $500 and $1,000

First-Degree Murder

Tennessee separates first-degree murder in its felony classification as the most severe crime in the state with the punishments of death sentence or life in prison. If the jury does not inflict the death sentence, the criminal faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.


As lesser offenses, misdemeanors include crimes against public order, public safety, and crimes against property. Like most other states, Tennessee categorizes misdemeanor records into Class A, B, and C. It also defines appropriate penalties depending on the nature of the offense.

Class A Misdemeanors

Individuals guilty of this misdemeanor face a $2,500 fine and a possible 11-month and 29-day jail sentence. Class A misdemeanor offenses include the following:

  • First-time driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Joyriding
  • Incitement to riot
  • Theft of less than $1,000
  • Stalking
  • Domestic assault
  • Simple assault
  • Violating a restraining order

Class B Misdemeanors

You risk a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail for this crime. Some of the offenses that fit within this category are as follows:


  • Aggravated criminal trespass
  • Offensive contact assault
  • Prostitution
  • Reckless driving
  • Indecent exposure

Class C Misdemeanors

Those with any of the following Class C misdemeanors on their Tennessee Criminal Records must serve up to 30 days in jail and pay a $50 fine:

  • Petty theft
  • Speeding
  • Unlawfully equipped with a handgun
  • Public intoxication
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Using a fake identification
  • Wildlife violations

How Does Probation Work in Tennessee?

Probation in Tennessee is a legal arrangement allowing an offender to serve their sentence in the community rather than in jail or prison. A judge can order probation as part of a sentence or as a condition of a plea agreement.

The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) supervises probationers and ensures that they comply with the conditions of their probation. The Probation Division assigns a probation officer to each probationer responsible for overseeing their case.

The conditions of probation can vary based on the offense and the judge's ruling. Generally, they may include regular check-ins with a probation officer, restitution for any damages, drug and alcohol testing, community service, attending counseling or treatment programs, and staying away from certain people or places.

The length of probation in Tennessee also differs depending on the offense and the judge's ruling but typically lasts between one and five years.

Probationers in Tennessee may apply for early termination of their probation if they have completed all conditions of their sentence and have not violated any terms of their probation.

But if a probationer violates the conditions of their probation, they may face additional penalties, including more probation time, fines, or even jail time.

Probation Eligibility in Tennessee

Under the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act, the defendant is eligible for probation if the term imposed on the offender is shorter than ten years. However, if found guilty of any of the following offenses, no defendant is eligible for probation:

How Does Parole Work in Tennessee?

A parole in Tennessee is a prisoner's conditional release before the completion of their sentence. The Tennessee Board of Parole makes parole decisions for eligible inmates.

After serving the court's minimum sentence for the offense for which they were convicted, state prison inmates with indeterminate sentences are subject to the board's jurisdiction.

To be eligible for parole, an inmate must have served a certain amount of their sentence and must have met other criteria.

The offender will be released under certain conditions if the board grants parole. These conditions may include reporting to a parole officer, refraining from criminal activity, and participating in counseling or treatment programs. The offender may also be required to obtain employment or attend school.

If an offender violates the conditions of their parole, they may be sent back to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence. The board also has the authority to revoke parole if they determine that the offender threatens society.

Considerations in Granting Tennessee Parole

Generally, the board will consider factors such as the nature of the offense, the offender's behavior while incarcerated, and the likelihood of the offender reoffending. But the following criteria will deny parole in Tennessee:

  • Parole candidates that are at high risk of violating parole terms
  • The release from detention at the moment would severely adversely affect institutional discipline
  • The release would depreciate the severity of the offense of which the offender stands guilty or create contempt for the law
  • The defendant would benefit from delaying parole so they may continue correctional treatment, vocational or other training, or medical care at the institution

How Does Expungement Work in Tennessee?

Expungement or expunction in Tennessee is a legal process that allows individuals to have certain criminal records erased or sealed from public view. This process effectively removes the criminal record from the public record, which can benefit employment, housing, and other areas where a criminal record could hinder opportunities.

In Tennessee, the expungement process varies depending on the type of offense, the length of time since the crime, and other factors. In addition, not all convictions are eligible for state expungement. Thus, the first step in the Tennessee expungement is to determine if you qualify for one.

Expungement Eligibility in Tennessee

In Tennessee, you can only expunge two misdemeanors or one felony and one misdemeanor. Some eligible felonies in Tennessee are primarily under Classes D and E, which may include:

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

On the other hand, most misdemeanors in Tennessee are eligible for expungement unless included on this list.

You have to wait five years for misdemeanors and Class E felonies and ten years for Cass D felonies following the conclusion of your sentence before you can have your offense expunged from your Tennessee Criminal Records. Additionally, you must pay all of the court expenses, penalties, and fees involved with your case.

If you are eligible for expungement, the next step is to file a petition with the court. You must provide information about the offense you want to delete and your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, and social security number.

A hearing will be scheduled if there are no objections to the expungement petition. At the hearing, you must provide evidence that you are eligible for expungement and that expunging your record would serve the interests of justice. The judge will consider your case and decide whether to grant the expungement.

If the judge grants the expungement, they will issue an order of expungement. This order will be sent to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, courts, and other entities to ensure your record is sealed or destroyed.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Tennessee?

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) maintains criminal records in the state. You can obtain Tennessee Criminal Records through the background check services of its Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) Division.

With the CJIS Division services, you can choose a name-based, statewide search or a fingerprint-based, nationwide search for a criminal history background check.

You can use the Tennessee Open Records Information Services (TORIS) to look for a name-based check of criminal records in the state.

Alternatively, you can send your name-based requests for criminal records by filling out the Tennessee Criminal History Information Request Form and paying the applicable fee.

You can settle your payment using a credit card, debit card, cashier's check, or money order. Once you have completed the form and paid the appropriate fee, you must mail the documents to the TBI at the address in the request form.

If you want a fingerprint-based background check, statewide or nationwide, you need to get a fingerprint card, which is required to submit to the TBI. You can obtain a fingerprint card from the TBI's contracted fingerprinting services.

Aside from the CJIS Division services, you can also visit a local police department or a courthouse in Tennessee and request a criminal record in person. You must provide identification and pay a fee to obtain the record. However, the availability of criminal records may vary depending on the jurisdiction.

It is worth noting that you can only request your criminal record in Tennessee. If you need a criminal record for someone else, you must provide a signed release form from that person.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Tennessee?

Tennessee has specific laws and regulations governing criminal background checks designed to protect job applicants' rights and ensure fair employment practices.

Under Tennessee law, employers must comply with specific requirements when conducting criminal background checks on job applicants, including obtaining written consent, providing notice of adverse action, and complying with state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

Here are some of the primary criminal background check laws in Tennessee to keep in mind:

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The primary law regulating criminal background checks in Tennessee is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This federal law sets standards for employment screening, credit reporting, and other consumer-related activities.

The FCRA requires employers to follow specific procedures when conducting background checks, including obtaining written consent from the individual being checked and providing the individual with a copy of the report if adverse action is taken based on the check results.

Ban the Box Law

Tennessee enacted the ban-the-box legislation in April 2016 when the governor signed Senate Bill 2440. The ban-the-box law is a policy that seeks to remove questions about criminal history from job applications. This law provides a fair chance for job seekers convicted of crimes and reduces discrimination against them in hiring.

Numerous Tennessee cities and counties, including Chattanooga, Hamilton, Nashville, Memphis, and Shelby County, have also approved local ban-the-box legislation.

However, these rules only apply to employers in the public sector, not private sector employers. Still, private employers should watch for future ban-the-box regulations as these rules become more prevalent.

Other Tennessee Criminal Background Check Laws

Tennessee law allows employers to consider an applicant's arrest record, but they must also consider that an arrest does not necessarily mean that the individual committed a crime. Employers must give applicants a chance to explain any arrests or charges.

In addition, employers must not use expunged Tennessee Criminal Records against the individual in employment decisions.

Note that the laws regarding criminal background checks can be complex and may vary depending on the specific circumstances. Employers in Tennessee should consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.


Counties in Tennessee

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Tennessee

Shelby County Sheriff's Office201 Poplar Avenue, 9th Floor, Memphis, TN
Davidson County Sheriff's OfficeOne Jerry Newson Way, Nashville, TN
Knox County Sheriff's Office400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office600 Market St g10, Chattanooga, TN
Rutherford County Sheriff's Office940 New Salem Rd, Murfreesboro, TN
Williamson County Sheriff's Office408 Century Ct, Franklin, TN
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office120 Commerce St, Clarksville, TN
Sumner County Sheriff's Office117 W Smith St, Gallatin, TN
Sullivan County Sheriff's Office140 Blountville Bypass, Blountville, TN
Blount County Sheriff's Office940 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN