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Tennessee Court Records

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What are Tennessee Juvenile Court Records?

A juvenile in Tennessee refers to someone under the age of 18 years that never received a transfer to the adult court for proceedings. A Juvenile Court record is a formal chronicle of the proceedings of a case in a Juvenile Court. In the Tennessee State Law Code the definitions of crime in the Juveniles Court System differ from that of the Adults Court System. The purpose of a juvenile record system is for constructive intervention in the lives of troubled youth with a goal of leading them to become responsible citizens of the State. For this reason, the system structures all the procedures, penalties and rulings of the juvenile proceedings in Tennessee, not for punitive purposes but to provide support in the development of a healthy and responsible individual..

What information is contained in a Tennessee Juvenile Record?

The details of a Tennessee juvenile record begin with a ground-level identification of the involved party. To put it differently, the name of the involved party, date of birth, contact addresses and that of parents or guardians, educational information, fingerprints, brief description of physical features such as colour of skin hair and eyes, sex, race are part of the information in the record. The type of case subsequently dictates all other contents. Here is a list of possible documents in a juvenile record (in no particular order):

  • Notice of arrests and charges
  • Court case schedule
  • Name of probationary officer on the case
  • Names of parents or guardians and their contact details
  • Court dispositions of the case
  • Court judgements, motions and orders
  • List of restitutions or fine assessments, if any
  • Supervisory programs and recommended support systems for the offender

Who Is Eligible To View Juvenile Records In Tennessee?

  • Public access to juvenile records is highly restricted in Tennessee. According to the state laws on Access to Juvenile Records, only the following entities can view or make copies of a juvenile Court record
  • Involved juvenile
  • Parents or legal guardian of the juvenile
  • Authorized representatives of the department of children’s services
  • Representing attorneys for both counsels
  • Probation and law enforcement agents
  • Authorized personnel of the court
  • The crime victim
  • Agency providing supervision or custody for the child

The Tennessee state law code §49–6–3051 includes the school principal of the child as eligible if it is a case of adjudication for a violent felony or weapons of fence.

Outside of its eligibility list, parties who wish to view or copy criminal records must get a court order, according to the state code §37–1–153. Some offences do not fall under the confidential category even though a juvenile committed the crime. Such offenses are equivalent to felonies such as first and second degree murders, rape, sex offences against a child, robberies, kidnapping, aggravated assault, in the adult criminal Court. Juveniles who are at least 14 years old bearing any of these convictions will have their records placed in the public access zone. By the laws of the state, it is a class A misdemeanor to share confidential information about a child without permission from the law (Tenn. Code § 40–32–101 (c) (1)).

How To Find Juvenile Records In Tennessee

There are 98 Juvenile and Family Court Divisions in Tennessee. Seventeen of them are “Private Act “courts, while the remaining are General Sessions Courts. The administrative processes of these courts vary, so it is best to contact the relevant court authority for information about how to get juvenile records. The statutory restrictions on juvenile court records also apply to law enforcement agencies and the Office of Juvenile Justice documentations of juveniles. It means that what is confidential by court rules is also confidential in other custodian agencies that maintain juvenile records. The Juvenile Court Clerk’s office is the first point of call for viewing or copying records. Use the court directory to locate the court address and to get more information.

Access to a court is possible if the names of the juvenile party, the county of arrest or conviction are available. Keep in mind that with a few exceptions, juvenile records are not accessible to the public. Unless in the eligibility list, get a court order and submit along with a request. The Tennessee State Library and Archives also maintain older court records, part of which are juvenile records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

•The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile

•The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Can You Look up Tennessee Juvenile records Online?

No. except for violent offenses committed by a juvenile of 14 years old and above. If the case got transferred to an adult criminal court, then it goes through an adult criminal process, thus placing the conviction record in the public zone. Sex offenses by juveniles are also public record, and will display in an online search.

Do Tennessee Juvenile Records show up on a criminal background check?

No, they do not show on a regular background check. Law enforcement delegates and institutions of critical care like the healthcare and childcare facilities can, however, see criminal records of a juvenile seeking to get employed in their services. Also, excluded offenses from the confidential list will be visible during a search. Notable in this category are sex offenses. The state laws provide for the possible expunction of juvenile records from the criminal database when the child becomes 18 years old.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Tennessee?

There are no provisions for auto expunction by the state laws. To put it differently, a juvenile record will remain so long as the holder does not make a move to get it expunged (Tenn. Code § 37–1–153; Tenn. Code § 40–32–101 (a) (1) (A). The following conditions are necessary before an expunction process can begin:

  • The most recent adjudication is over one year
  • The petitioner never got a conviction from a diversion proceeding to the adult criminal court
  • Has never committed a sex offense according to Tenn. Code §40–39–202, either in juvenile or adult court. Tenn. Code §37–1–153.

After filing a petition with the court of current jurisdiction on the case, third party witnesses and evidence must show that the petitioner has adjusted to a life of responsibility, productivity, and civil behaviour (Tenn. Code § 37–1–153 (f) (1) (B). The court must also determine that the expunction of the record is in the best interests of the child and community. Tenn. Code § 37–1–153 (f)(1)(C). Expunction does not delete fingerprints and photographs of delinquency adjudications filed with the law enforcement agencies.

Tenn. Code § 37–1–153 (f)(2).

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