Run an online search and gain free access to Tennessee criminal records and arrests in every TN county, or follow the guide below to manually search for these records in each nearby county.
The Freedom of Information Act makes viewing and obtaining Tennessee public records possible, but oftentimes the process is convoluted with so many record-keeping agencies; and to make things more confusing, the exact process differs between states, counties and jurisdictions.
Luckily, Records Page streamlines this process by providing resources that show searchers how to:
- Locate, obtain, expunge and/or seal criminal records in Tennessee
- View mug shots in Tennessee and determine the reason for arrest
- Contact and bail someone out of a TN jail
- Check if someone was a warrant out for their arrest, if someone is on probation, or if someone is on parole
- Run a Tennessee background check for personal or professional purposes while complying with local and federal laws
- See if someone is in a Tennessee state prison, or federal penitentiary
With this information, citizens are empowered with the tools, knowledge and resources to look up anyone’s criminal history, and can then use this information to make an informed decisions in their personal and/or professional lives.
Are Arrest & Criminal Records Considered Public Records in Tennessee?
When looking at Tennessee criminal records, it’s important to understand the laws that allow the public access to these records. Tennessee’s Freedom of Information Act (TFOIA, statute number 10-7-504) grants the public access to most criminal and arrest records in the state, but not all records are public.
Criminal or arrest records that are not open to the public include the ones listed below:
- Victim’s name in student disciplinary actions where a student is accused of a crime at a post-secondary education institution,
- Police body cam footage from inside a private home that is not part of an investigation (for example, witness interviews by law enforcement inside the witness’s home, or the home is not the crime scene),
- Privileged or crisis response communication unless it involves commission of a crime such as domestic violence, and then information about victims or witnesses is redacted (removed) from the public record,
- Juvenile records are not considered public record and are automatically sealed,
- Any identifying information about victims or parents or guardians of victims,
- Blood test results in criminal cases unless there is an established need to know (for example, law enforcement can be notified if an arrestee spread a communicable illness to the officer),
- Investigative reports or arrest reports until the matter has reached disposition in court, and
- Records that have been expunged or sealed by the courts are not public.1
In short, most criminal records or arrest records in Tennessee are considered public records and must be made available upon request unless one of the statutory exceptions listed above applies. People should also be aware of the difference between arrest and criminal records to make sure they are accessing and using the most comprehensive data as outlined below.
What’s the Difference Between Tennessee Criminal Records vs Arrest Records?
Although criminal records and arrest records are often thought of as the same thing, in fact they have one major difference that is important to know when making hiring or leasing decisions. Tennessee arrest records show the person was accused of committing a crime, was taken into custody by law enforcement (local, state or federal), and was placed in a Tennessee jail pending bail or trial.
The records also show when the person was arrested and where the individual was housed, but that is the extent of an arrest record.
Tennessee criminal records include all the data found in an arrest record; however, the record also shows what happened in court once the charge has been brought before a judge. The criminal record contains both pending charges (recent or daily arrests) and charges that have been taken care of (those in which the subject has been acquitted or found guilty and a sentence has been entered).2
Next, learn what people need to know about arrest records, including how to find them for free, and what appears in the records.
How To Search Tennessee Recent Arrests & Learn Why Someone Is in Jail
Searching for arrest records in Tennessee starts with knowing where to look and what to look for including tools to make getting to these records quick and easy. Jail information can be labeled a number of ways on an agency website including terms such as current inmate roster, jail roster, booking data, or inmate search.
Additionally, knowing which agencies are in charge of jails is important to know to narrow down the search.
In Tennessee, the county sheriff’s office is responsible for housing inmates that are awaiting trial or serving short-term sentences (such as weekend incarceration) that would not be under the state prison system. Anyone can locate inmates in the Tennessee county jail system, find out what is included in the search, and the best way to find out who’s in jail, using the steps outlined here.
How To Run a Tennessee Arrest Records Search in Each County (Find TN Mugshots & See If Someone Was Arrested)
Searching the county jail system for Tennessee arrest records starts with the location of the arrest. Most searches are name-based, and common names can result in many hits, so the searcher needs to make sure they are looking at the records that match the subject.
For the reader’s convenience, we have compiled a list of all Tennessee county sheriff’s offices in the table below to help with how to find out if someone is in jail:
*The County Sheriff’s Office does not have an online inmate roster or the inmate search portal/roster is not functioning at this time.
**The County Sheriff’s Office only has a Facebook page, no working website at this time.
To find out if a friend, coworker, classmate or family member is in jail in Tennessee, or how to find recent arrests in general, follow these steps:
- Open a browser, such as Google, on the computer.
- Type “Tennessee [county name where the arrest occurred] inmate search” to find out how to see inmate roster for the county jail.
- Review the top 3-4 pages in the search results for the official agency website. Most local government websites end in .gov; however, county sheriff’s offices’ websites may end in any web address domain suffix (the three letters at the end of a web address). For example, searchers may type Tennessee Harrison County inmate search to find an arrestee at Harrison County Sheriff’s Office in the search returns.
- Click the link for the official sheriff’s department website to see if there is a portal to search arrestees in that area. Click the link for the inmate search where available and follow the onscreen prompts.
- If there is no online directory from the agency’s website, call the non-emergency number listed on the page to inquire about an inmate.
While most jails are maintained by the local sheriff’s office, city police departments also have the option to build and maintain holding facilities in the city’s jurisdiction that act just like a county jail. How to find city jail inmates through a municipal police department website is similar to the process for county jails.
How To Check Tennessee’s City Jails for Recent Arrests
When a friend or family member is arrested by city police, in most cases that person will be taken to the county jail to await trial, but there is a chance the city has its own holding facilities to house municipal inmates. To search for arrest records in Tennessee when the police department makes an arrest, or for how to find out if someone was arrested by city police, do the following:
- Open Google or another browser on the computer.
- Type “Tennessee [name of the city or police department name] arrest search” to see if there are any city jails in the area, or a central booking location.
- Look for the official city police website in the top 3-4 search returns. For example, the search could look for the Nashville Police Department after searching Tennessee Nashville PD arrest search.
- Click the link for the official page and look for a link that is labeled booking, current arrests, arrests, or inmate search.
- If no link is available, call the non-emergency number listed on the official agency website to see where someone who was recently arrested is being housed. Using the example above, searchers will learn Nashville utilizes Davidson County to house arrestees from Nashville city limits.
Another example is Kingsport, Tennessee which has a city jail, but does not publish the inmate list on the police department website. Inquiries about the Kingsport City Jail must be made by calling the jail directly at 423-229-9435.
The larger cities of Nashville and Memphis, however, utilize the county jails maintained by the sheriff’s department in those areas for inmate housing rather than maintain a city jail. Knowing the location of the arrest helps narrow down where the person is in custody.
It is good practice to always check the county jail first when searching for an inmate, even those arrested by municipal police departments since most jails fall under the sheriff’s office instead of the city police.
Another option to help find out where someone is being housed after an arrest is to hire a bail bondsman or attorney to find the arrestee. While neither of these are required to locate an inmate, and can be costly, they can be a valuable resource when it comes to locating a friend or family member after an arrest.
Many bail bondsmen work directly with attorney offices to locate inmates and help get them released from jail pending trial.3
Overall, checking the county sheriff’s office is the best way to find out if someone was arrested, or how to find out someone’s charges in jail.
Can You Run a Tennessee Statewide Public Arrest Record Search?
Currently there is not a way to do a statewide arrest record search in Tennessee; although arrests can be included in a criminal background check through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. More on how to access a complete criminal history will be discussed later in the article.
The best way to find out if someone has been arrested, or how to find out what someone was arrested for, is to contact the local law enforcement agency that made the arrest, or contact the county jail where the arrest occurred. It’s important to locate the arrestee as quickly as possible for the purpose of posting bail, visitation rules or telephone rules for contacting inmates.
How To Get in Contact With a Tennessee Inmate & Begin Posting Bail
When someone is arrested, the first thing they want to know is when and how they will be released, and loved ones want to know how they can get in touch with the person arrested. Family and friends are the usual source of bail funds, whether they post bail personally or hire a bail bondsman, but it requires knowing how to contact the arrestee.
Finding out visitation and contact information is also done at the county jail level, so using the steps above to locate an inmate can also be used to find out the visitation or telephone policies at that agency, what inmates are allowed to have with them in jail, and the bonding procedures at the facility. The site may also list the bail bondsmen in that area.
Tennessee allows for the use of bail bondsmen to help secure the release of an inmate prior to court hearing as well. Bail bondsmen in Tennessee receive a non-refundable payment of up to 10% of the total bond amount.
For example, if someone is placed under a $50000 bond, the arrestee or his/her family or friends would pay the bondsman $5000 who would then work directly with the Tennessee jail to post bond.
There are some other requirements in Tennessee for individuals to post bail for a friend or family member, including the following:
- The released person must maintain a steady job/be gainfully employed. This does not have to be full-time employment, but must be a permanent position,
- The person must check in with local authorities on a schedule set at release. This can be weekly or monthly depending on the person’s offense and conditions of release,
- The defendant must undergo drug screening (both scheduled and random),
- The defendant is placed on a curfew. This curfew will take into account work hours and days, and
- Travel is restricted for the defendant until after the matter is disposed of in court.
Bail is typically set within 72 hours in Tennessee, so it’s important to know how to contact the defendant within those first few days of arrest to find out if bond has been set, how much and what type of bond is set. For example, a cash bond can only be posted by paying the entire bond amount to the clerk of court’s office, but a secured bond can be made by posting by pledging property against the person’s appearance in court (such as vehicle title or real property deed).4
Arrest records can be included in an overall criminal history; however, they are not the complete record, and arrest records should not be used to make decisions about whether or not to hire someone. For example, a person can be arrested, but not convicted meaning that if an agency just uses the arrest record, the person is not being fairly considered, and the decision may violate state or federal laws.
Below is how to look up and get a record of Tennessee criminal records for use by employers, landlords, licensing boards or other official uses. Also outlined is how to get records for personal uses such as looking up information on a potential love interest or the person wants to find out more about a coworker or acquaintance.
How To Look Up & Search Criminal Records in Tennessee
Tennessee criminal records are maintained by the state court system, and most court documents are considered public records that anyone can access. The clerk of court in each county is responsible for cases heard in that jurisdiction (county) only, but these records can help establish a baseline for searching criminal records.
The following outlines exactly how to search criminal records through the court system and how to find out if someone was arrested at any point in their lives. The courts are the public records repository for criminal records in Tennessee.
How To Complete a Tennessee Criminal Record Search Using County Clerk of Courts
Each county is part of an overall judicial district that hears all criminal and civil cases in that area, and each county has its own clerk of court that oversees the court records to ensure they are correct and complete. The clerk of court’s office maintains public terminals where anyone can research a person’s criminal history in that county.
For the reader’s convenience, we have included a table below listing each county clerk of court along with the address and phone number for the main office in each county:
|County Clerk of Court||County Courthouse Address||Phone Number|
|Anderson County Clerk of Court||100 North Main Street Room 111
Clinton, Tennessee 37716
|Bedford County Clerk of Court||100 Public Square W Ste 104
Shelbyville, Tennessee 37160
|Benton County Clerk of Court||1 East Court Sq Site 101
Camden, Tennessee 38320
|Bledsoe County Clerk of Court||3150 Main Street
Pikeville, Tennessee 37367
|Blount County Clerk of Court||345 Court Street
Maryville, Tennessee 37804
|Bradley County Clerk of Court||155 Ocoee Street Rm 101
Cleveland, Tennessee 37311
|Campbell County Clerk of Court||570 Main Street Ste A21
Jacksboro, Tennessee 37757
|Cannon County Clerk of Court||200 W Main Street
Woodbury, Tennessee 37190
|Carroll County Clerk of Court||625 High Street Ste 103
Huntingdon, Tennessee 38344
|Carter County Clerk of Court||801 East Elk Avenue
Elizabethton, Tennessee 37643
|Cheatham County Clerk of Court||354 Frey Street Ste F
Ashland City, Tennessee 37015
|Chester County Clerk of Court||133 East Main Street
Henderson, Tennessee 38340
|Claiborne County Clerk of Court||1740 Main Street
Tazewell, Tennessee 37879
|Clay County Clerk of Court||145 Cordell Hull Dr.
Celina, Tennessee 38551
|Cocke County Clerk of Court||111 Court Avenue Rm 101
Newport, Tennessee 37821
|Coffee County Clerk of Court||1327 McArthur Street
Manchester, Tennessee 37355
|Crockett County Clerk of Court||1 South Bell Street Ste 1
Alamo, Tennessee 38001
|Cumberland County Clerk of Court||1760 South Main Street
Crossville, Tennessee 38555
|Davidson County Clerk of Court||700 President Ronald Reagan Wy #101
Nashville, Tennessee 37210
|Decatur County Clerk of Court||22 Main Street
Decaturville, Tennessee 38329
|DeKalb County Clerk of Court||732 S Congress Boulevard Rm 102
Smithville, Tennessee 37166
|Dickson County Clerk of Court||4 Court Square Rm 126
Charlotte, Tennessee 37036
|Dyer County Clerk of Court||205 West Market Street
Dyersburg, Tennessee 38024
|Fayette County Clerk of Court||1 Court Sq Rm 101
Somerville, Tennessee 38068
|Fentress County Clerk of Court||101 Main Street South
Jamestown, Tennessee 38556
|Franklin County Clerk of Court||1 South Jefferson Street
Winchester, Tennessee 37398
|Gibson County Clerk of Court||1 Court Square Ste 100
Trenton, Tennessee 38382
|Giles County Clerk of Court||222 West Madison Street
Pulaski, Tennessee 38478
|Grainger County Clerk of Court||8095 Rutledge Pike Ste 103
Rutledge, Tennessee 37861
|Greene County Clerk of Court||204 N. Cutler Street Ste 200
Greeneville, Tennessee 37745
|Grundy County Clerk of Court||Courthouse Circle Grundy Street
Altamont, Tennessee 37301
|Hamblen County Clerk of Court||511 West 2nd N Street
Morristown, Tennessee 37814
|Hamilton County Clerk of Court||625 Georgia Avenue Rm 201
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402
|Hancock County Clerk of Court||Main Street
Sneedville, Tennessee 37869
|Hardeman County Clerk of Court||100 North Main Street
Bolivar, Tennessee 38008
|Hardin County Clerk of Court||65 Court Street Ste 1
Savannah, Tennessee 38372
|Hawkins County Clerk of Court||110 East Main Street Rm 204
Rogersville, Tennessee 37857
|Haywood County Clerk of Court||1 North Washington Street
Brownsville, Tennessee 38012
|Henderson County Clerk of Court||17 Monroe Avenue Ste 2
Lexington, Tennessee 38351
|Henry County Clerk of Court||101 West Washington Street Ste 102
Paris, Tennessee 38242
|Hickman County Clerk of Court||114 North Central Avenue Ste 202
Centerville, Tennessee 37033
|Houston County Clerk of Court||4725 East Main Street Rm 100
Erin, Tennessee 37061
|Humphreys County Clerk of Court||102 Thompson Street Rm 2
Waverly, Tennessee 37185
|Jackson County Clerk of Court||101 East Hull Street
Gainesboro, Tennessee 38562
|Jefferson County Clerk of Court||214 W. Main Street
Dandridge, Tennessee 37725
|Johnson County Clerk of Court||222 West Main Street
Mountain City, Tennessee 37683
|Knox County Clerk of Court||300 Main Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901
|Lake County Clerk of Court||116 S. Court Street
Tiptonville, Tennessee 38079
|Lauderdale County Clerk of Court||307 S Washington Street
Ripley, Tennessee 38063
|Lawrence County Clerk of Court||200 West Gaines Street Ste 103
Lawrenceburg, Tennessee 38464
|Lewis County Clerk of Court||110 N. Park, Rm 105
Hohenwald, Tennessee 38462
|Lincoln County Clerk of Court||112 Main Avenue South Rm 102
Fayetteville, Tennessee 37334
|Loudoun County Clerk of Court||101 Mulberry Street Ste 200
Loudon, Tennessee 37774
|Macon County Clerk of Court||104 County Courthouse Public Sq
Lafayette, Tennessee 37083
|Madison County Clerk of Court||100 Main Street Rm 105
Jackson, Tennessee 38301
|Marion County Clerk of Court||24 Courthouse Sq Rm 101
Jasper, Tennessee 37347
|Marshall County Clerk of Court||1107 Courthouse Annex
Lewisburg, Tennessee 37091
|Maury County Clerk of Court||#10 Public Square
Columbia, Tennessee 38401
|McMinn County Clerk of Court||9 East Madison Ste 100
Athens, Tennessee 37303
|McNairy County Clerk of Court||530 Mulberry Ste. 1
Selmer, Tennessee 38375
|Meigs County Clerk of Court||17214 State Highway 58 N.
Decatur, Tennessee 37322
|Monroe County Clerk of Court||103 College Street
Madisonville, Tennessee 37354
|Montgomery County Clerk of Court||350 Pageant Lane Ste 502
Clarksville, Tennessee 37040
|Moore County Clerk of Court||196 Main Street
Lynchburg, Tennessee 37352
|Morgan County Clerk of Court||415 S. Kingston Street
Wartburg, Tennessee 37887
|Obion County Clerk of Court||2 Bill Burnett Circle
Union City, Tennessee 38281
|Overton County Clerk of Court||306 West Main Street Rm 103
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
|Perry County Clerk of Court||121 East Main Street
Linden, Tennessee 37096
|Pickett County Clerk of Court||1 Courthouse Square Ste 201
Byrdstown, Tennessee 38549
|Polk County Clerk of Court||6239 Hwy 411Office Number 102
Benton, Tennessee 37307
|PuTennesseeam County Clerk of Court||121 South Dixie Avenue
Cookeville, Tennessee 38501
|Rhea County Clerk of Court||375 Church Street Ste 101
Dayton, Tennessee 37321
|Roane County Clerk of Court||200 East Race Street
Kingston, Tennessee 37763
|Robertson County Clerk of Court||511 S. Brown Street
Springfield, Tennessee 37172
|Rutherford County Clerk of Court||319 N. Maple Street Ste 121
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130
|Scott County Clerk of Court||283 Court Street
Huntsville, Tennessee 37756
|Sequatchie County Clerk of Court||15 Cherry Street
Dunlap, Tennessee 37327
|Sevier County Clerk of Court||125 Court Avenue Ste 202 E
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862
|Shelby County Clerk of Court||150 Washington Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
|Smith County Clerk of Court||122 Turner High Cr Ste 101
Carthage, Tennessee 37030
|Stewart County Clerk of Court||225 Donelson Parkway
Dover, Tennessee 37058
|Sullivan County Clerk of Court||3258 Hwy 126 Ste 101
Blountville, Tennessee 37617
|Sumner County Clerk of Court||355 North Belvedere Dr. Rm 111
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
|Tipton County Clerk of Court||220 Hwy 51 N Ste 2
Covington, Tennessee 38019
|Trousdale County Clerk of Court||328 Broadway Rm 2
Hartsville, Tennessee 37074
|Unicoi County Clerk of Court||100 Main Street Ste 100
Erwin, Tennessee 37650
|Union County Clerk of Court||825 Main Street
Maynardville, Tennessee 37807
|Van Buren County Clerk of Court||121 Taft Dr
Spencer, Tennessee 38585
|Warren County Clerk of Court||201 Locust Street Ste 2P
McMinnville, Tennessee 37110
|Washington County Clerk of Court||100 East Main Street
Jonesborough, Tennessee 37659
|Wayne County Clerk of Court||100 Court Circle Ste 200/Box 2
Waynesboro, Tennessee 38485
|Weasley County Clerk of Court||Courthouse Square Rm 104
Dresden, Tennessee 38225
|White County Clerk of Court||1 East Bockman Way
Sparta, Tennessee 38583
|Williamson County Clerk of Court||1320 W. Main Street Ste 135
Franklin, Tennessee 37065
|Wilson County Clerk of Court||228 East Main Street Rm 101
Lebanon, Tennessee 37088
The steps below are how to check through the clerk of court’s office if someone has a criminal record in Tennessee:
- Google Tennessee [county name] clerk of court’s office on the screen to start the search, then tap the enter key. For example, type Tennessee Union County clerk of court to find the homepage for that office.
- Review the list of search returns for the official clerk of court’s website (which may be part of the overall state court system webpage).When reviewing the listing make sure you click on the court clerk link, not the county clerk. The county clerk does not maintain criminal or civil court records.
- Click the link to find out more about accessing court records at that location.
Court records accessed at the courthouse/clerk of court’s office only cover matters tried in that particular county, and do not make up a complete criminal history.
How To Obtain Copies of Criminal Records in Tennessee
An official, certified statewide criminal history report for Tennessee criminal records is completed through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). To request a copy of a person’s statewide record and find out if they have been convicted of anything or are a danger to someone, do the following steps:
- Open the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) website.
- Select the link for the online request form for the public.
- For one time use, click the continue button in the box titled Credit Card Customers.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to enter the searcher’s name, email address, mailing address, phone number, payment details and subject details.
- Submit the request along with verification to charge the credit card $29 for the background check.
The official statewide history also includes arrest records in Tennessee showing the disposition in matters where a person was taken into custody by law enforcement.
People also have the option to set up a revolving account with billing information that can be used on a regular basis. Background checks that require fingerprinting can also be requested through the TBI’s qualified contractor, IdentoGO which includes a nationwide screening or rap sheet.
A national check costs $50 per record searched.5
Finally, agencies and organizations can apply to be considered qualified organizations through the TBI to complete ongoing or bulk background checks. Screenings for employees is $37.15 per record, and $33.15 per record for volunteer screenings.
The TBI is the official source of a certified background check in the state and can be used when making decisions regarding hiring, onboarding volunteers, licensure or housing applications. Part of the overall criminal history includes items such as probation and parole which are discussed in detail below.
How Do I Determine Who If Myself or Someone Else Is on Probation in TN?
Probation and parole are forms of community supervision, but they have distinct characteristics. Probation can occur before sentencing as a diversionary program or deferred prosecution, or after sentencing as a form of community supervision in place of prison.
Parole occurs when a prison inmate is released from incarceration early but is still required to fulfill certain sentencing obligations such as community service and checking in with a parole officer.
To find out who is on probation or parole in the Tennessee area, follow these steps:
- Open the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) Felony Offender Information (FOIL) website.
- Select the Community Supervision tab at the top of the screen.
- Scroll down the page and select the FOIL-Offender Search link to find out who is on probation or parole in the state.
- Click the Search Now button to open the search form.
- Type in the offender’s name, and complete the verification code showing the searcher is not a robot.
- Hit the Search button to see the results of the search, and review the search results to locate the subject’s record.
The following information is available: a mugshot database for each offender, TDOC ID number, name, date of birth, status (actively incarcerated, inactive, probation or parole), and location of supervision (prison or probation/parole office).6
Clicking the TDOC ID number reveals additional details about the offender including: physical description, aliases, date sentence was imposed and when it is set to end. These matters stay on a person’s record unless they are expunged or sealed by the courts listed on the official site for probation, incarceration and parolee database information.6
The process to expunge or seal a record can be complicated, and sometimes require the use of an attorney to make sure the records are cleared properly.
The Process To Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Tennessee
Unless a criminal record is expunged, it remains on a person’s record and is public information in Tennessee, and this can cause a person to be overlooked for jobs or licensure. A criminal record, even if it is only one conviction, can be a major roadblock for someone.
The process to expunge a record in Tennessee is below.
First, individuals need to make sure the record meets the criteria for expungement. This includes the following:
- The person has no other criminal convictions in Tennessee or any other state. This includes federal crimes in addition to state offenses, and can also include municipal code violations.
- Make sure the offense is an eligible class D or E felony or eligible misdemeanor.
- All conditions of sentencing have been successfully completed by the defendant is another requirement. This means all fines and fees must be paid and all community service or sentencing has been completed.
- Make sure at least five years have passed since the sentence was imposed and the petition to expunge is filed.
- If the defendant was pardoned for a non-violent felony and the parole board provided a positive vote to expunge and conviction was after 1 January 1980, it is eligible.
- For offenses after 1 July 2017, the petitioner can request two misdemeanors or one felony and one misdemeanor be expunged as long as conditions 1-4 above are met.7
Expungement is a court process, so to file for expungement, petitioners need to do the following steps:
- File a petition to expunge a case in the same county where the matter was disposed of using the form provided by the Tennessee court system.
- Indicate the offenses to be expunged on the petition such as misdemeanor non-convictions or matters that meet the eligibility criteria.
- Supply a self-addressed, stamped envelope for each charge listed on the petition for expungement so the person can get a copy of the order for each.
- The petition will be forwarded to a judge in good standing who will rule on the matter and decide if the record should be removed or stay on the person’s background report.
- If expungement is granted, the order to expunge will be sent to the appropriate agencies with direction on how to dispose of the record.
- Certified copies of the order and charging document will be mailed to the petition in the envelope provided.8
How To Check if Someone Is in a Tennessee State or Federal Prison
The process to find Tennessee state prisoners is the exact same process to find out who is on probation or parole in the state. When conducting a search, the results will show if the person is in prison by listing their status as Active.
To find out who is in prison in Tennessee, go to the Tennessee Department of Corrections inmate search and enter the person’s first and last name to access the record.
Tennessee is also home to one federal prison facility: Memphis Federal Correctional Institute (FCI), and contains the Nashville Resident Re-entry Program field office. To find an inmate at the Memphis FCI, do these steps:
- Open the US Bureau of Prison (BOP) to reach the find an inmate page.
- Type in the person’s name to see if they are or have been in a federal prison, and where they are located if they are still in prison.
State prison records are part of the overall criminal history, and is usually the last part of the overall criminal process. Cases start with a charge which can sometimes include a warrant for the defendant’s arrest, and how to do a warrant search is covered below.
How To Run a Warrant Search for Active Arrest Warrants in Tennessee
If someone wants to know if there is a warrant out for their arrest or the arrest of someone they know, they need to know how to search warrants in their area. An arrest warrant can be issued for a number of reasons.
For example, warrants are issued in cases where the crime is particularly horrible, when someone fails to appear in court, or when someone escapes from prison or absconds (stops reporting) on community supervision. A warrant search is one way to find out the answer to: how do I know if I have been charged with a crime?
To do a warrant search, follow these steps:
- Google “Tennessee statewide arrest warrants” in the search bar to find out if someone is wanted by the police. You may also type “Tennessee [name of the county] warrant search” to find local arrest warrants.
- Review the list of search returns to see if there is a statewide search. In most cases there is not a statewide warrant directory. In Tennessee, the only statewide warrant list is maintained by the TDOC, and can be found at this link.
- Click the hyperlink to see escapees from TDOC and see which prisoners or individuals on community supervision have fled.
- Select each name on the list to see a mugshot and further details about the inmate or probationer.9
While this will reveal warrants for prison escapees, most warrants are maintained by local law enforcement agencies such as police or sheriff’s departments. To search for warrants at these agencies, do the following: use the steps listed earlier for locating an inmate to reach the police or sheriff’s office homepage. From that site, a person can see if the agency lists warrants or most wanted in that county or city.
For example, if someone was arrested in Johnson County, the searcher would type Tennessee Johnson County inmates to reach the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office warrant search portal. Here, someone can do a name-based search to see if someone they know is wanted in that area. Searches at this site can also be done by the city to see all the warrants from that particular municipality.10
A background check may or may not reveal if a person has an active warrant. There are many agencies that require a background check in Tennessee to see if a person has a criminal record, and this is discussed below.
A Quick Overview of Tennessee Background Checks
Working or renting a house or apartment in Tennessee requires the subject to undergo a background check. The table below lists the agencies that perform or require a criminal history search:
|Official Tennessee Background Check Agency||Type or Reports|
|Tennessee Bureau of Investigation||
|Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance||
|Tennessee Department of Human Services||
|Tennessee Department of Health||
Background checks by agencies in Tennessee are checking to make sure the applicant doesn’t have any disqualifying offenses on their record such as violent felonies or sex offense convictions, and it’s important to know how to search the sex offender registry.
How To Locate Nearby Sexual Predators Using the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry To
When someone is moving into a new area, one thing they check is whether or not there are sex offenders living in that same area. Others want to see if someone they know has been required to register as a sex offender.
To search the Tennessee sex offender registry (including the sex offense felony registry), complete the following steps:
- Open Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) sex offender registry.
- People will notice the page automatically shows the most wanted violators on the registry. These are offenders who have failed to comply with the registration requirements.
- Click the search tab at the top of the screen to open the registry search page.
- Read the search disclaimer and instructions.
- Type the offender’s name in the search box and click the search button.
- A list of everyone on the registry in Tennessee with that name will appear. Review the list and compare the mugshot to the subject of the search to make sure the record matches the person being screened.
As with all criminal records in Tennessee, sex offender records are subject to the same laws and guidance of other records in the state. A brief rundown of the background check laws in Tennessee is provided to help people know what limits are placed on records and avoid situations where the records were used unlawfully, like when records are used to exclude a certain group of people based on race or nationality at a rate greater than other groups.
Criminal Records & Arrest Records Statutes in Tennessee
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Tennessee criminal records are considered public records under Tennessee’s Freedom of Information Act (10-7-504). This means the public has the right to access criminal records on anyone in Tennessee unless the matter meets one of the exclusions outlined in the statute like expunged charges or juvenile court records.
Arrest records also fall under the state’s FOIA bill meaning they are also public records and can be accessed by anyone upon request.
Tennessee enacted Senate Bill 2440, which is the state’s ban the box law. This prohibits an employer from inquiring about a person’s criminal history during the application process.
This means individuals who advance to the interview stage are picked based on their merit, and not excluded automatically just because of a criminal history.
Applicants in Tennessee are also protected by federal statutes that limit certain parts of a person’s background from being released. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits any non-convictions from appearing on a commercial background check by a third-party provider or people finder agency when the record is older than seven years.
Tennessee has not placed a limit on how far an employer, landlord or licensing board can search criminal records; therefore, convictions that are decades old can still appear on a background check and create a barrier to employment or housing.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance outlines how Tennessee employers can use criminal history or arrest records when making decisions, and enforces federal anti-discrimination laws when these records are used in an unfair or unlawful manner to exclude a protected class from employment.11
Searching someone’s background can help make decisions about hiring, licensure or volunteers for an organization or agency, and with this free guide individuals know how to search arrest records in Tennessee. Also covered is how to obtain comprehensive Tennessee criminal records to help with the decision making process.
1Exceptions to the Tennessee Public Records Act. (n.d.). Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/open-records-counsel/open-meetings/exceptions-to-the-tennessee-public-records-act.html>
2Guerin, L. (n.d.). Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records in Tennessee. Nolo. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employer-use-arrest-conviction-records-tennessee.html>
3Free Cheatham County Warrant Search • Ashland City Bail Bondsman Help. (n.d.). dunham law firm. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.dunhamlaw.com/tn/bail-bonds/cheatham-county/>
4Delius, B. E. (2020, June 17). How Does Bail Work in Tennessee? Sevierville Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Lawyers | Delius & McKenzie, PLLC. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.deliusmckenzie.com/2020/06/how-does-bail-work-in-tennessee/>
5Be proactive and accurate about your personal history. (n.d.). Identogo. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.identogo.com/services/history-check/fbi-history-check?filter=consumer-services>
6TFOIL Search Results. (2022, August 10). Tennessee Department of Corrections. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://foil.app.tn.gov/foil/results.jsp>
7Eligibility. (n.d.). TN.gov. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.tn.gov/expunction/eligibility.html>
8Updated Expungement Information Coming Soon to Reflect Changes to T.C.A. §40-32-101. (n.d.). Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.tncourts.gov/expungements>
9Escapees. (n.d.). TN.gov. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/correction/about-us/most-wanted/escapees.html>
10Warrant Search | Johnson County Sheriff. (n.d.). Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://jocosheriff.org/operations-bureau/warrant-unit/warrant-search>
11Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (2012, April 25). Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from <https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/enforcement-guidance-consideration-arrest-and-conviction-records-employment-decisions>
12Exceptions to the Tennessee Public Records Act.” Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/open-records-counsel/open-meetings/exceptions-to-the-tennessee-public-records-act.html>
13Anderson County Sheriff Department – Integrity. Service. Community., 21 July 2022. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://tnacso.net/#>
14Davidson County Sheriff – Active Inmate Search Mobile. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://dcso.nashville.gov/>
15Kingsport, TN: City of Kingsport. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://www.kingsporttn.gov/>
16Toris.” TBI Backgrounds. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://tbibackgrounds.tbi.tn.gov/Toris/TnFlexCheck.dll/main?cmd=TERMS_CONDITIONS>
17Search – Tennessee Felony Offender Information.” Felony Offender Information. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://foil.app.tn.gov/foil/search.jsp>
18APPROVED FOR ENTRY Entered day of Assistant District Attorney Date.” Davidson County | Criminal Court. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://ccc.nashville.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EXPUNGEMENT.pdf>
19BOP: Federal Inmates By Name.” Federal Bureau of Prisons. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://www.bop.gov/mobile/find_inmate/byname.jsp>
20Most Wanted.” TN.gov. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://www.tn.gov/correction/about-us/most-wanted.html>
21Escapees.” TN.gov. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/correction/about-us/most-wanted/escapees.html>
22Tennessee Sex Offender Registry.” TN.gov. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://sor.tbi.tn.gov/home>
23Vedova, Holly. “Fair Credit Reporting Act.” Federal Trade Commission. Accessed 3 May 2023. <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>