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Tennessee Court Records

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Knox County Arrest Records

Knox County arrest records are official documentation showing all instances a person has been taken into custody for allegedly committing a crime. Tennessee state laws authorize an officer to conduct an arrest with a warrant when probable cause is established that a crime has been committed or without a warrant if the crime was witnessed by the officer (TCA 7-40-1).

When an individual is arrested by a law enforcement officer in Knox County, they are taken to the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility for booking. During the booking process, arrest records, including their fingerprint, mugshot, and personal and arrest information, are taken to verify the individual's identity and to document them in the facility's database while their case awaits trial. The Knox County Sheriff's Office operates the detention facility and is the custodian of arrest records. Arrest records may also be contained within Knox County Court Records.

Are Arrest Records Public in Knox County?

Yes. According to the Tennessee Public Records Act (Rule 34), arrest records are public information as they are created, maintained, or received by governmental agencies while conducting their official business. Members of the public have a statutory right to inspect or request copies of these records. However, to protect the privacy of the parties involved, not all arrest records are publicly available. Examples of information restricted from public view include the following:

  • Information on juvenile arrests
  • Information on ongoing investigations
  • Information on witnesses or confidential sources
  • Personal or confidential information
  • Information that can threaten the safety of parties involved in the case.

Although hidden from public view, the records may still exist and are available to authorized organizations, such as law enforcement and other governmental agencies. Individuals can also access these records if they have clearance from a court.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

Public arrest records in Knox County typically contain the following information:

  • Full name of the arrested individual
  • Date of birth
  • Gender of the arrested individual
  • Date of the arrest
  • Location of the arrest
  • Arresting agency
  • Booking information (booking number and date)
  • Mugshot taken during booking
  • Bail or bond information
  • Court information
  • Charge or reason for arrest.

Knox County Crime Rate

According to the 2021 NIBRS Report published by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the Knox County Sheriff's Office reported a total of 10,519 offenses classified as Group A Offences. Group A offenses include crimes against persons, property, and society. The most prevalent crime against persons was simple assault (1714); the most common crime against property was theft-larceny (959), and the most reported crime against society was drug and narcotic violations (1127).

Knox County Arrest Statistics

In the 2021 NIBRS report, the Knox County Sheriff's Office reported 7122 arrests, including 6704 adult arrests and 418 juvenile arrests. The crimes with the most arrests in total included drug/narcotic violations with 1329 arrests, simple assault with 784 arrests, DUI with 396 arrests, and aggravated assault with 227 arrests.

Find Knox County Arrest Records

Individuals can find records of persons arrested by state law enforcement agencies in Knox County through the Felony Offender Information Lookup (FOIL) tool maintained by the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). The tool is free, and available information includes the individual's current status, location, photo, and active sentences. The search can be completed using name, TDOC ID, or state ID.

Free Arrest Record Search in Knox County

Some resources for conducting a free arrest record search in Knox County include the following:

  • Knox County Sheriff's Office: They maintain an online 24-hour arrest list that shows free arrest records of all individuals taken into custody. They also maintain an Inmate Search Tool that shows inmate population and allows individuals to search for arrest records by first name or last name. Arrest records retrieved for free from these tools include the inmate's full name, mugshot, date of birth, booking date, charge, and bond information.
  • Third-party websites: Some third-party websites allow individuals to conduct free public records searches of their database, so it is possible to get arrest records for free. Details like the subject's full name or booking number are needed to complete the search. Records from third-party sources may not be as complete and up-to-date as records from official record custodians.

Get Knox County Criminal Records

In Knox County, criminal records are documents that detail an individual's entire criminal journey from arrest to sentencing. Criminal records that have not been legally restricted, sealed, or expunged are publicly available and can be obtained from custodians of the records.

  • The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI): The TBI maintains the Tennessee Open Records Information Services (TORIS), where anyone may access state-wide misdemeanor and felony criminal records that have not been restricted. A paper Tennessee Criminal History Information Request Form can also be filled and mailed to the TBI to conduct a criminal history background check. The TBI offers a name-based search, and a non-refundable fee of $29 per request is required to obtain criminal history information online and by mail.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – TORIS Unit
901 R.S. Gass Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37216
Phone: (615) 744-4057

  • Knox County Criminal Court Clerk: To obtain criminal records from this office, use the online Criminal Background Search tool. Searchers must provide details like the subject's name or date of birth to facilitate a search. The Knox County Criminal Court Clerk also provides criminal history search packages, which cost $15.00. This package included three background searches by first or last name, an alias, or a social security number. Additional searches cost $5 each. Contact the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk at:

City-County Building
400 Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 215-2375
Email: crim.backgroundsearch@knoxcounty.org

  • Knox County Sheriff's Office: Individuals can obtain local criminal records on themselves alone by contacting the Sheriff's Office in person, using a third party, or by mail.
  • Knoxville Police Department: Their records unit conducts local criminal background checks for $10.00. Requesters need a government-issued ID and a social security card to request a record.
  • Third-party websites: Criminal records and other public records can be obtained from third-party searchable databases. Their completeness and accuracy may differ from official sources as they are not the record's official custodians.

Knox County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

Knox County Arrest records are official documents that detail incidents of a person being apprehended by law enforcement officers. They contain the individuals's history of arrests including arrest or court dates, charges filed, and arresting agencies. They are created and maintained by law enforcement agencies.

Criminal records provide a comprehensive overview of a person's entire criminal history, including arrest, court proceedings, convictions, and sentencing information. They are crucial documents in legal proceedings as they provide a thorough understanding of a person's criminal history including the outcome of their case having passed through the judicial system.

The distinction between arrest records and criminal records is that arrest records do not contain sentencing information, while criminal records do. Criminal records can therefore be used to judge whether or not a person was guilty of a crime as they contain the verdict. Arrest records are contained in criminal records as they document a stage of the legal proceeding.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Arrest records stay on a person's criminal history forever unless they are expunged, sealed, or granted partial removal. According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101, individuals can petition to have their records destroyed or removed from public disclosure if they meet certain eligibility criteria. When an expunction is granted, agencies that keep these records such as the Tennessee Department of Correction (TBOC), and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), receive an order to delete the charges from the defendant's records.

Expunge Knox County Arrest Records

Expungement is the process of removing a charge from a person's criminal record. Application for expunction begins at the local court where the arrest occurred, and if the charges were dismissed, nolle prosequi, no true bill, or have a not guilty verdict, the expunction is free of charge. For a record to be eligible for expunction, it must meet the following criteria:

  • The charge was dismissed
  • A grand jury returned a no-true bill
  • The person was arrested and released without a charge
  • The person received a not guilty verdict at trial
  • The prosecution did not pursue the case (nolle prosequi)
  • The arrest and charge was due to mistaken identity
  • The person completes a pretrial diversion program.

The process for getting a record expunged in Knox County is as follows:

  • Determine eligibility: Defendants need to determine if their case is eligible for expunction as only non-violent offenses, dismissals, or not-guilty verdicts can be expunged. They can also contact the Assistant District Attorney at (865) 215-2515 to inquire about expungement eligibility or screening.
  • Pay applicable fees: Defendants are required to fully pay all restitution, court costs, fines, and probation fees ordered by the court before submitting their expungement application. Payment information can be confirmed by contacting the General Sessions Court Clerk at (865) 215-2375 or the Criminal Court Clerk at (865) 215-2492. All payments should be made to the Clerk's Office only.
  • Apply: Defendants fill out their petition and submit it to the court where the arrest happened. To expunge a conviction, defendants must complete an Expunction of Conviction Packet. The petition should include a copy of the conviction to be expunged and proof of payment of relevant fees. proof that all conditions of the case have been satisfied and a copy of a government-issued ID all submitted in a self-addressed legal envelope. Submit your packet to the Knox County District Attorney General's Office after paying a non-refundable $100 filing fee to the Clerk's Office.
  • Review and expunction: The DA's office reviews the petition and assists them in completing their Order of Expunction if the defendant is eligible. Defendants are required to keep a certified copy of their Expungement to prove the Expungement was completed by the court and is valid.

When applying for expunction in Knox County, individuals without attorneys can contact the Public Defender's Office at (865) 594-6120 for representation. They can also call the University of Tennessee College of Law Expungement Hotline at (865) 974-6775 for legal advice.

Knox County Arrest Warrants

Knox County arrest warrants are court orders given by a judge or magistrate to authorize the arrest or detainment of a person suspected of committing an offense by a law enforcement officer. Before an arrest warrant is issued, the requesting officer must establish probable cause by presenting a written statement and an affidavit to a judge establishing that the named suspect has committed the offense. If the affidavit provides enough evidence to establish probable cause, the judge signs off on the warrant, and the authorized officer executes it by making the arrest. Arrest warrants are usually issued for various purposes, including to facilitate an arrest when state laws have been broken and also for failure to appear in court for a criminal summons.

According to the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 4), an arrest warrant typically contains the following information:

  • Signature of the magistrate or clerk
  • The name or identifiable description of the defendant
  • The county where the warrant is issued
  • A description of the offense or charges that necessitate the arrest
  • An order to arrest the named or described defendant.

The civil and criminal warrant units of the Knox County Sheriff's Office record, maintain, and execute arrest warrants.

Knox County Arrest Warrant Search

Knox County does not have a direct online search tool for retrieving arrest warrants. Still, interested individuals can conduct a warrant search by contacting the Civil or CriminalWarrants division of the Knox County Sheriff's Office. The office can be contacted in person or by phone at the following address:

Warrants Unit
Suite L-165, City-County Building
400 Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 215-2442 (Criminal Warrants) or (865) 215-2440 (Civil Warrants).

Do Knox County Arrest Warrants Expire?

It depends. Like other counties in Tennessee, Knox County Arrest warrants expire ten days after they are issued. The named individual is not free of the charge, however, because a judge can reissue the warrant. Bench warrants, on the other hand, do not expire. In misdemeanor cases, warrants not served, returned, or quashed within five years of their issuance are terminated. Other factors that can delay the execution of a warrant include:

  • The defendant's location.
  • The severity of the offense.
  • New evidence from the ongoing investigation of the case.
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