NOTE TO USER:
While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, local practices and procedures may vary. We encourage every user to consult with an experienced juvenile justice practitioner in the jurisdiction to determine how best to proceed in any particular situation.
Juvenile Collateral Consequences in the State of Tennessee
In Tennessee, the collateral consequences of juvenile offenses are limited by strict access to juvenile records. The public is not allowed to access juvenile records, with the exception of certain limited cases, such as when a youth over the age of fourteen commits a crime that, if committed by an adult, would constitute first degree murder, second degree murder, rape, aggravated rape, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping In these cases, the juvenile record is open to the public. The portions of the Tennessee Annotated Code relating to juvenile crimes also limits the access of state agencies and employers to juvenile records. However, there are exceptions, which are discussed in this examination of Tennessee’s juvenile adjudication process procedures. It is also important to note this is an overview of Tennessee’s general rules.
During and after the adjudication process, juveniles, juvenile attorneys, and juveniles’ families are often unaware of what collateral consequences may affect a juvenile’s future. Tennessee does not have an obligation to inform juveniles of the future collateral consequences that are attached to juvenile criminal records. However, relatively few consequences result.
Understanding the Justice System
The Tennessee Juvenile Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over all children individuals under eighteen years of age. The court may extend jurisdiction until a person reaches the age of nineteen under certain circumstances. In Tennessee, the Juvenile Court system has jurisdiction over juveniles accused of breaking the law, who are in need of services, or whose parents cannot take care of them.
The state of Tennessee does not define a formal finding that a juvenile committed a criminal act as a “conviction.” Rather, they are viewed as adjudications. Therefore, if the juvenile is asked whether or not (s)he has been convicted of any crime, the correct answer is “no.” However, a juvenile may be transferred to the adult system, if (s)he has committed “first degree murder, second degree murder, rape, aggravated rape, rape of a child, aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping or an attempt to commit any such offenses,” or was sixteen or older at the time of the alleged offense. 
Notification of Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Records
In Tennessee, there is an intake procedure at the juvenile courts. Juveniles are informed of the charges against them and their rights. There is no statutory requirement for the court to inform a juvenile of the collateral consequences possibly resulting from an adjudication.
Treatment of Juvenile Records
At what point in the process do court records begin?
Although the Tennessee statutes do not indicate when court records begin, a proceeding may be commenced in the following situations:
What information does a juvenile court record contain?
A juvenile court record may contain the following:
Who can access juvenile law enforcement and court records?
Juvenile records are closed to the public, except in cases regarding traffic offenses. However, law enforcement records, petitions, and orders regarding juveniles are open to the public if the juvenile is at least fourteen years old when they are charged with an act, that if commited by an adult, would constitute first degree murder, second degree murder, rape, aggravated rape, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping.
State Agencies: During the course of juvenile proceedings, the juvenile court records are open to the juvenile court; police officers and law enforcement agencies; probation departments; courts officers and professional staff; officers of public institutions or agencies to which the child is committed; and counsel involved in the proceedings. The records are also open to any other person, agency, or institution with a legitimate interest in the proceeding with the permission of the court.
Attorneys:An attorney will be granted access to a client’s juvenile court records and law enforcement records in two situations: 1) when the attorney has been assigned or is hired on that particular matter, and 2) when the attorney is representing a client who has been convicted and criminal court, and the client's juvenile records are needed to prepared a presentence report. 
Parents/Guardians:A parent, guardian or legal custodian, including the department of children’s services, may obtain an abstract of the appropriate adjudication contained in the court file or record, if a child’s school has to be notified of a child’s criminal offense pursuant to Tenn. Code. Ann. § 49-6-3051. 17]
Sealing and Expunging Delinquency Files or Records
Do indigent juveniles have access to post-dispositional representation for limiting distribution of records?
The Tennessee Constitution and statutes do not provide any information regarding this right.
Do juveniles have the opportunity to have police records expunged?
Although Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(1) sets out the situations in which a court may expunge juvenile records, Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(2) states that the guidelines do not apply to any law enforcement records, files, fingerprints or photographs pertaining to any delinquency adjudication 
Do juveniles have the ability to have their court records expunged?
Individuals may petition the juvenile court for expunction of all court files and records. However, one of the following conditions must be met:
How do juveniles expunge courtrecords?
Any person who is a tried and adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court my subsequently petition the juvenile court for expunction of all court files and records by filling out a form. The form is called the “Order for Expungement of Criminal Offender Record,” and is available online. The form must be sent to the juvenile’s county juvenile court. The court may order all or any portion of the requested expunction if, by clear and convincing evidence, the court finds that the petitioner met the requirements, listed above.
However, the Juvenile court minutes may be permanent.
Who has access to expunged juvenile records?
There appears to be no access to expunged records. All municipal, county, and state agencies must destroy any public record. However, certain non-public information may be retained as allowed by statute.
How may expunged juvenile records affect a juvenile in the future?
Once an offense is expunged, all public records relating to the offense are immediately destroyed, and it is as if the record never existed. However, the fact that an individual has had a record expunged may be contained in the TBI's database for use in determining whether the individual is eligible for pre-trial diversion at a later date. 
Challenging Court Record and Arrest Record Accuracy
Although there are no specific provisions on challenging the accuracy of juvenile records, a person convicted of a criminal offense may challenge records for a list of enumerated reasons.
Juvenile records are strictly confidential. Employers are not allowed to view juvenile records, except in certain cases, which are described below. However, employers are allowed by statute to petition the court for review of a juvenile record. The permission will only be granted if the person, agency, or institution has a “legitimate interest” in the proceeding or work of the court.
Can juvenile records be viewed for employment purposes?
The records of juveniles who are at least fourteen years old and who have been charged with a violent offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult are open to the public. The records of juveniles who are tried in adult court are also open to the public.
What information do employers with access to juvenile delinquency records see?
Once a person or entity is granted access, all files and records of the court are open for inspection.
Can an employer view my juvenile record if it has been expunged?
No, all expunged juvenile records are destroyed and treated as if the occurrence never happened.
What type of employers can access applicants’ juvenile records?
All court and law enforcement agencies have access to juvenile records. Other types of employers have to petition the court for access.
How should a juvenile respond to inquires about a record on job applications?
If the question asks whether a person has been convicted or has any convictions, the answer should be “no.” Juvenile records are adjudications, not convictions. If the question asks for convictions and adjudications, then the answer would be “yes,” unless the record has been expunged.
Collateral Consequences Affecting Elementary & Secondary Education Students
Are elementary and secondary schools ever informed of juvenile charges or adjudications?
If a child is adjudicated delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute first degree murder, second degree murder, rape, aggravated rape, rape of a child, aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, or felony reckless endangerment, or a violation of §§ 39-13-211 (voluntary manslaughter), 39-13-212 (criminally negligent homicide), 39-13-527 (sexual battery by an authority figure), 39-13-532 (statutory rape by an authority figure), 39-17-1302 (prohibited weapon), 39-17-1307 (unlawful carrying or possession of a firearm), 39-17-1309 (carrying weapons on school property), 39-17-1311 (carrying weapons on public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings and grounds), 39-17-1319 (handgun possession), 39-17-1320 (providing handguns to juveniles), or 39-17-417 Class A or Class B felonies (drug offenses), and if school attendance is a condition of probation, or if the child is to be placed in the custody of a state agency and is to be placed in school by a state agency or by a contractor of the state agency, then the court must order that a school to which the offender is returning be notified in writing of such an adjudication. Such information shall be shared only with the employees of the school having responsibility for classroom instruction of the child and school counselor, social worker or psychologist who is involved in developing a plan for the child while in the school, the school resource officer, and local law enforcement if specifically ordered by the court. Such information is otherwise confidential.
While school officials do not automatically receive copies of students’ criminal records or adjudications for other offenses, many school districts have policies that require parents of adjudicated students to report any violent offenses, as noted above, to the school principal. This is also provided for in state law.
If a youth is charged or a complaint has been brought against him or her, how long can he or she be suspended from elementary or secondary education?
School districts create different policies regarding suspensions, expulsions, and the offenses that lead to either. See below for a more detailed discussion.
If a youth is suspended from school because of a charge or a complaint, is there any relief available?
Generally, district school boards have the right to review suspensions and expulsions ordered by school administrators. See below for a more detailed discussion.
If a youth is adjudicated delinquent or has admitted to committing a crime, is there any effect on elementary or high school education?
School districts have individual policies regarding the treatment and placement of students who have been adjudicated delinquent. On a state level, Tennessee has alternative schools for students who have behavioral issues or are otherwise disruptive in the ordinary classroom setting. Students may be sent to alternative schools for violating school or district policies, in addition to demonstrating a “lack of responsibility for self and others . . . and inability to follow instructions,” among other things. Depending on the violation, a student’s parents must disclose a juvenile’s offense to the school administration, at which time the administration would make a decision on where the juvenile will attend school. School district officials have wide latitude to determine whether or not juvenile offenders or students who break school rules can return to the home school or will be placed in alternative schools, and this discretion is generally made on a case-by-case basis.
Tennessee has certain “No Tolerance” offenses that require suspension of the student and/or placement of the student in alternative school for twelve months or longer. The statute gives school officials the ability to shorten or lengthen the suspension or expulsion if necessary. Each school district produces its own No Tolerance policy, but the policies generally include the same offenses as included in the state statute. The state-mandated “No Tolerance” offenses, which schools may add to as necessary, include 1) bringing a ‘drug, drug paraphernalia or a dangerous weapon onto a school bus, onto school property or to any school event or activity” or 2) being under the influence of a drug, possessing a drug, drug paraphernalia or other dangerous weapon, in addition to assaulting or threatening to assault a teacher, student, or other person while on a school bus, on school property or while attending any school event or activity. The statute requires school officials to hand down “certain, swift, and reasoned punishment,” which “may include a spectrum of disciplinary measures designed to correct student misbehavior and promote student respect and compliance with codes of conduct and board policies.”
Upon release from detention centers and alternative school, schools refer to individualized policies for placing and educating students adjudicated delinquent. The court will call the Director of Schools for the county or district or the principal for the school in which the juvenile should return to inform the administrator of the juvenile’s release, at which point, the administrator will assess the situation, meet with the student and the student’s parents and determine how to best reintegrate the juvenile into a school.
If a youth has been expelled or suspended because of an adjudication of delinquency or has admitted to committing a crime, is there any relief available?
District school boards generally provide oversight and review of school administrators’ decisions regarding expulsions, suspensions or alternative placements. The policies vary by district, but in many districts, parents have the right to request a hearing before the appropriate school board officials.
Can a youth be suspended or face expulsion from elementary or secondary school, even if his or her records are sealed or expunged?
Because expungement generally takes place well after a juvenile has already been through the juvenile justice system, disciplinary actions will generally take place before expungement takes place.
Are there any collateral consequences effecting access to state higher education for a juvenile that has been adjudicated delinquent or charged with a crime?
Many higher education applications require applicants to disclose any arrests, adjudications or convictions. There is no public information regarding how arrests or offenses affect the admissions process, but schools generally have the right to make admission decisions based on numerous factors, which may include moral character.
If a youth applies for state financial aid must he or she disclose juvenile arrests or adjudications?
Most of the grant money for the state comes from federal sources. Tennessee does not impose additional restraints in addition to the federal rules for receiving federal money. Tennessee provides state financial assistance through the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program. There are various scholarships with individual requirements under the program, but the eligibility requirements listed do not state prior convictions as a factor. Tennessee also provides financial assistance through the Tennessee Student Assistance Awards. The rules promulgated in accordance with this form of assistance does not bar previous offenders from receiving financial assistance, but does bar persons who are currently incarcerated from doing so.
Collateral Consequences to Receipt of Public Benefits and Privileges
Will a juvenile record affect receipt of public benefits including, welfare benefits and food stamps, etc?
Individual departments promulgate different rules related to benefits, but it appears that most agencies only disallow benefits of vital services to fleeing felons and parole/probation violators.
Will a juvenile record affect chances of becoming a foster parent or adopting a child?
Most likely not. The application for fostering or adoption through the Department of Children’s Services requires disclosure of any current criminal charges, prior convictions, probation status, or any suspended sentences received, but there is no specific language regarding juvenile adjudications.
Can a juvenile record (or a household member’s juvenile record) affect eligibility for or eviction from public housing?
Local housing and redevelopment agencies have the right to request any information they believe is pertinent from potential tenants, including police and court records. For example, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (“KCDC”) requests a records release from potential tenants in which the individual must release all police and sheriff’s department records, juvenile and circuit court records, child care provider records, social worker records, parole officer records, drug treatment center records and “all other records of any description or nature whatsoever from any agency or source which relate to the undersigned or to any minor child of the undersigned and which Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation determines are necessary to permit it to determine the initial or continuing eligibility of the undersigned to receive benefits or the grant or denial of a federal preference under any public housing or Section 8 housing program or the level of benefits available to the undersigned under such program.” The right to access this information is continuing and may be checked during a period of tenancy. There is no definitive information, however, regarding how the information is used or weighed when determining housing placement or eligibility.
Can a juvenile record affect getting or keeping a driver’s license or permit?
Most likely not. Tennessee has a graduated license program that places various restrictions on new and teenage drivers. Such drivers may be prohibited from receiving a license upon the commission of certain traffic violations, but non-traffic related offenses do not appear to affect an individual’s ability to obtain a license.
Special Offender Registries
Sex Offender Registry
Juveniles will have to register on the sex offender registry if they are considered to be "violent juvenile sexual offender, which means that they have been adjudicated of an act, that was commited on or after July 1, 2011, that, if commited by an adult, constitutes the criminal offense of: Aggravated Rape; Rape; Rape of a Child (if the victim is at least four (4) years younger than the offender); Aggravated Rape of a Child, Criminal attempt to commit any of these offenses.
Although the juvenile must register on the sex offender registry, his or her information is kept confidential unless he or she is adjudicated for subsequent "violent juvenle offenses" or convicted as an adult of subsequent sexual offenses.
Meth Offender Registry
The TBI maintains a Meth Offender Registry. Tennessee law requires the registration of any person convicted of “a meth-related violation of Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-417 (manufacture of methamphetamine) or 39-17-435 (initiation of methamphetamine manufacture).” Currently, the TBI only registers persons “convicted of a substantive violation of either statute,” not persons convicted on conspiracy, attempt, and facilitation charges. As with the sex offender registration process, there is no exception to registration for a juvenile who is convicted under the above statutes.
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(b) (2012).
 Id. at (a)(5) (limiting access to only those with “a legitimate interest” in the child’s record).
 Tenn. Code Ann. §37-1-102(b)(4) (2012).
 Id. (This extension is for the limited purpose of (1) “[r]emaining under the continuing jurisdiction of the juvenile court to enforce a non-custodial order of disposition entered to the person’s eighteenth birthday; or (2) [r]emaining under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for the purpose of being committed, or completing commitment including completion of home placement supervision, to the department of children’s services with such commitment based on an adjudication of delinquency for an offense that occurred prior to the person’s eighteenth birthday; or (3) [r]emaining under the jurisdiction of delinquent offense or offenses committed prior to a person’s eighteenth birthday but considered by the juvenile court after a person’s eighteenth birthday with the court having the option of retaining jurisdiction for adjudication and disposition or transferring the person to criminal court under Tenn. Code Ann. §37-1-134 (2012).”).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-103(a) (2012).
 See Tenn. Code Ann. 37-1-102(4)(B)(ii) (2012) (referring to such findings as “an adjudication of delinquency.”).
 Tennessee Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.tncourts.gov/courts/juvenile-family-courts/faqs
 Tenn. Code Ann. §37-1-134(a)(1) (2012).
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(c) (2012) (not withstanding the provisions of this section, if a court file or record contains any documents other than petitions and orders, including, but not limited to, a medical report, psychological evaluation, or any other document, such document or record shall remain confidential.”)
 Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 37-1-153(b) (2009), 37-1-154 (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 37-1-153(a) (2009), 37-1-154(a) (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1- 153(a) (2012)
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153 (2009); See also Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-154 (2012).
 See, e.g., Blount County Records Management and Archives, http://www.blounttn.org/records.asp (“Requests for juvenile records must go through the Juvenile Department of the county’s Records Management Office).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f) (2) (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(1) (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-4-1531(f)(1) (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 18-1-202(a) (2012); University of Tennessee, County Technical Assistance Services, Juvenile Court Records, http://www.ctas.tennessee.edu/PUBLIC/web/ctas.nsf/EntriesWeb/4BA1480A3CBE2EC5862570F900747A43/$FILE/2005+juvenile+court+schedule.pdf (explaining that juvenile court minutes are retained permanently).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 18-1-202(a); See also Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-504
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 38-6-118 (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-19-101 (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(a)(5) (2009) (explaining that the court must grant permission in order for an employer to access a juvenile’s records).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(b) (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(a) (2012).
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-153(f)(1) (2012); Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.tncourts.gov/courts/juvenile-family-courts/faqs (“If a juvenile record is expunged, it can be honestly treated as if it never occurred.”).
 Tennessee Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.tncourts.gov/courts/juvenile-family-courts/faqs
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3051 (2012) (explaining that schools must be notified of particular offenses). See various school district policies, such as Knox County Schools and Memphis City Schools.
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3051 (2012) (requiring parents to notify child’s school if child commits specified offenses; permits school officials to “develop a plan to set out a list of goals to provide the child an opportunity to succeed in school and provide for school safety[.]”); Id.
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-4216 (2012); Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3401 (2012) (listing offenses that require a one year suspension).
 Id.(“Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter, diminish, or supercede the director’s authority to modify expulsion on a case-by-case basis”).
 School District policies consulted are as follows: Knox County, Shelby County, Memphis City Schools, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Blount County, Hamilton County, Rutherford County, Clarksville/Montgomery County School System, Williamson County, Washington County, Wilson County, Jackson-Madison County Board of Education, Sevier County and Hamblen County.
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-4216 (2012).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-4216(b)(1) (2012).
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3051 (2012) (explaining that the principal of a school may “convene a meeting to develop a plan to set out a list of goals” for the student in question). Id.
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3401(4)(B-C) (2012) (explaining right to appeal suspension of greater than ten days, appeal of suspension decision is to board of education or disciplinary hearing authority appointed by the board of education).
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3201 (2012) (explaining that parents can request a hearing if they are dissatisfied with their child’s placement in a particular public school); Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3103 (2012) (explaining that placements are made by considering, among other things, the “possibility or threat of friction or disorder among pupils and others,” and the morals and conduct of the pupil in question); Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3402 (2012) (explaining that for all school purposes, children in alternative placements will be counted as if they are still attending their original school system).
See, e.g.,The Common Application, 2010-2011 First-Year Application, https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/Docs/DownloadForms/CommonApp2011.pdf (asking about adjudications and arrests) (redirected from Vanderbilt University website).
 See Tennesee Government, Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (TELS), http://www.tn.gov/CollegePays/mon_college/lottery_scholars.htm.
 See Tennessee Government, Tennessee Student Assistance Awards, http://www.tn.gov/CollegePays/mon_college/tsa_award.htm.
See Tennessee Government, Secretary of State, Rules of Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, Chapter 1640-1-1-.02(1)(g), http://www.tennessee.gov/sos/rules/1640/1640-01-01.pdf.
 SeeTennessee Government, Secretary of State, Rules of Tennessee Department of Human Services, Family Assistance Division Chapter 1240-01-02.02(4)(c).
 See Tennessee Government, Department of Children’s Services, Foster/Adoption Application for Parenting, http://www.tn.gov/youth/adoption/FosterAdoptionApplicationforParentingCS-0411.pdf.
 See Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, Moderate Rehabilitation Application Form, http://www.kcdc.org/Libraries/Housing_Forms/Moderate_Rehabilitation_Application_Form.sflb.ashx
 See Tennessee Government, Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Graduated Driver License Program, http://www.state.tn.us/safety/driverlicense/gdl.htm.
 See Tennessee Government, Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Intermediate Licenses for Drivers Under 18 – Graduated License Procedures, http://www.state.tn.us/safety/dlhandbook/07chap3.pdf (explaining requirements to be fulfilled in order to move from an Intermediate Restricted License to an Unrestricted License).
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-202(10) (2012) (defining offender as a "violent juvenile sexual offender" for this part); Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-202(28) (2012) (defining a "violent juvenile sexual offense")
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-206(e) (2012); Tenn. Code Ann.§ 40-39-207(j).
 Tenn. Code Ann.. § 39-17-436 (2012).
 See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-436 (2012) (not including exception for juveniles convicted).