Judicial Diversion in Criminal Cases in Tennessee
Judicial Diversion- What is it? What is 40-35-313? It comes up a lot in criminal negotiations and discussions but no one ever explains what it is. Allow me…. In criminal cases, under the Tennessee Code Section 40-35-313, a defendant may be entitled to enter a plea subject to this statute and be eligible at some time in the future to expunge the case from their criminal record. Sounds simple enough, huh? Well, if only it were that simple. It is not. First of all, diversion is only available for genuine first time offenders. Even a plea to a seemingly small matter, such as driving on a suspended license years ago, can keep a defendant from being eligible. Also, the legislature has prohibited some crimes from being eligible from diversion based on thier nature. These crimes include serious felonies and DUI related charges. Keep in mind that domestic assaults and even aggravated assaults (felonies) may be eligible for expungement. The only conditions associated with such a plea is that the entire sentence be suspended and the defendant placed on probation and the probation be completed without any violations or problems. Of course, it doesn’t automatically disappear from your record even then. The burden is on the defendant to provide proof that all fines and court costs have been paid in full, proof that the expungment fee is paid in full, a letter of completion from the probation officer and a form must be filled out requesting the office of the District Attorney to approve the expungement. So when you hear 40-35-313 or Diversion- it is good news but that is only half the battle! You will still have a lot to do and prove to get the benefits it was created to provide.