Want to Know More About Expunging a Conviction? Contact A Salt Lake City Expungements Attorney
If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime, you probably want to put it behind you and may have heard of Utah expungements. Whether you completed probation or were found “not guilty” by a jury, you don’t want legal issues following you for the rest of your life. Criminal convictions can affect your career, your finances, and your reputation. Prospective employers may ask, “have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony?” Financial institutions run background checks and may not lend to you because of your history. When you have a conviction on your record, you are forced to explain your past when you likely want to focus on your future. If you find yourself in this position a Salt Lake City expungements attorney from Conyers and Nix might be able to help.
We can help you with clearing your name and record so you can have peace of mind. We’ll contact the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (“BCI”), file the expungement paperwork with the courts, contact the prosecutor, and send the expungement order to government agencies and private companies that run background checks.
What is an expungement?
“Expunge” means to seal or otherwise restrict access to the person’s record held by an agency when the record includes a criminal investigation, detention, arrest, or conviction. Utah Code 77-40-102 (8).
What does an expungement do?
If you are asked, “Have you been convicted of…”, you can say that the expunged charge did not occur. Utah Code 77-40-108 (2). This happens most often on job applications. With an expungement, you can legally answer that you have a clean record.
Any agency that receives an expungement order must seal or restrict access to your record. Utah Code 77-40-108 (4). For instance, the police department must seal police reports so no one can access it. Courts must seal all court records so that your expunged charge does not show up on background checks.
If my charge is expunged, can anyone access my information?
There are only 7 agencies who can view your expunged records. The agency must specifically request the record. Utah Code 77-40-109 (b).
- Utah Board of Pardons and Parole
- Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training
- Federal authorities, only as required by federal law
- Utah Department of Commerce
- Utah Department of Insurance
- Utah State Board of Education
- Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, for purposes of investigating applicants for judicial office.
When can I apply for an expungement for an arrest, dismissed case, or an acquittal?
To expunge an arrest, investigation, or detention with police (basically police records), you must (1) wait 30 days from any arrest, (2) there must be no criminal case pending, and (3) charges were not filed or the statute of limitations expired. Utah Code 77-40-104.
To expunge a case dismissed with prejudice, you can immediately apply for expungement. Utah Code 77-40-104.
To expunge a case dismissed without prejudice, you must wait 180 days since the day of dismissal or have the prosecutor consent in writing to issuing a certificate of eligibility. Utah Code 77-40-104.
To expunge an acquittal, you can immediately apply for expungement. Utah Code 77-40-104.
When can I apply for an expungement for a conviction?
- DUI – 10 years
- Felony – 7 years
- Class A misdemeanor – 5 years
- Class B misdemeanor – 4 years
- Class C misdemeanor and infraction – 3 years
I have an old conviction from years ago. Does my old conviction eventually “fall off” my record?
Maybe. Utah has an automatic expungement process if your conviction is “Clean Slate Eligible.” Utah Code 77-40-102 (5). For your case to be eligible for automatic expungement:
- CONVICTION: The conviction must be Class A misdemeanor possession of controlled substance, any Class B misdemeanor, any Class C misdemeanor, or any infraction.
- NUMBER: Your total number of convictions in Utah (not including infractions or traffic offenses) does not exceed the expungement limits.
- TIME: The following time periods have passed: Class C misdemeanor or infraction: at least 5 years; Class B misdemeanor: at least 6 years; Class A misdemeanor for possession of controlled substance: at least 7 years
- LIMITATION: The conviction cannot be a crime listed in Utah Code 77-40-102(5)(c)(iii), such as first-degree felonies, violent felonies, assault, sexual offenses, lewdness, or domestic violence.
Does my “plea in abeyance”eventually “fall off” my record?
Maybe. A plea in abeyance remains on your record as a dismissal and will appear on background check. Although the law states that pleas in abeyance are not convictions (and you can even say you weren’t convicted), a private organization or employer could be notified of your plea in abeyance. Expunging your full record is the only way to clear your full record.
Your case may be eligible for automatic expungement if it meets the requirements of Utah Code 77-40-102 (5)(b), the same requirements as for convictions.
If BCI issues a certificate of eligibility, can the judge later deny my expungement application or refuse to issue the expungement order?
Yes, because the judge has the final decision. If a judge believes an expungement should be denied, the judge will schedule a hearing where you must tell the judge why an expungement is “in the interests of justice.” The judge makes the final decision.
Can you help me with my expungement in another state?
No, you will need to contact the state where you want the expungement and ask about their laws and process. You can also contact an attorney in the state to assist you.
Do I need an attorney to apply for an expungement?
You can apply for an expungement yourself. The Utah Court website has helpful information to guide you through the process. However, hiring an Salt Lake City expungements attorney can make the process easier and stress-free. If you hire us to help, all you have to do is sign paperwork. We take care of contacting BCI, ordering certificates, filing motions with the court, ordering certified copies of the expungement orders, and mailing the orders to government agencies and background check companies.
What convictions are not eligible for expungement?
Most crimes are eligible for expungement, but there are some that can never be expunged from your record. Utah Code 77-40-105 (2), such as:
- a capital felony
- a first degree felony
- a violent felony such as aggravated assault, stalking, child abuse, domestic violence in presence of child, kidnapping, rape, aggravated sexual abuse of child, aggravated robbery, and bus hijacking. Access the full list at Utah Code 76-3-203.5(1)(c)(i).
- felony automobile homicide
- a felony DUI and felony driving with a measurable controlled substance. Utah Code 41-6a-501(2).
- a registerable sex offense, such as enticing a minor, unlawful sexual activity with minor, forcible sexual abuse. Access the full list at Utah Code 77-41-102(17).
- a registerable child abuse offense, such as child abuse, human trafficking of a child. Access the full list at Utah Code 77-43-102(2).
I have a case pending right now. Am I eligible to expunge old charges?
Maybe. If your pending case is an infraction, traffic offense, or minor regulatory offense, you are eligible. If your pending case is anything else, you must wait until your pending criminal case resolves. Utah Code 77-40-105 (2).
I still have court fines to pay off. Am I eligible to expunge the charge?
Maybe. If your court fine only involves an infraction, traffic offense, or minor regulatory offense, you are eligible. Utah Code 77-40-105 (4). If your court fine involves anything else, all your court fines must be paid in full before you can expunge the charge. Utah Code 77-40-105 (3)(a).
I am still paying off restitution. Am I eligible to expunge the charge?
No, you must fully pay off restitution before you’re eligible. Utah Code 77-40-105 (3)(b).
I have more than one charge to expunge. Am I eligible?
If your criminal history, including previously expunged convictions, includes the following, you are not eligible for an expungement. Utah Code 77-40-105 (5).
- two or more felonies (other than drug possession)
- three or more crimes (other than drug possession) of which two are class A misdemeanors
- four or more crimes (other than drug possession) of which three are class B misdemeanors
- five or more crimes of any degree (other than drug possession)
- three or more felonies for drug possession (each of which is contained in a separate criminal case)
- five or more crimes of any degree for drug possession (each of which is contained in a separate criminal case)
BUT WAIT! If at least 10 years have passed since your last conviction was closed, then the limit above increases by one. Utah Code 77-40-105 (8).
- Example 1: If you have 2 felonies (other than drug possession), you are not eligible for an expungement… until 10 years have passed since your last case closed and the previous limit of 2 increased to 3.
- Example 2: If you have 1 felony and 3 class B misdemeanors, you are not eligible for an expungement… until 10 years have passed since your last case closed and the previous limit of 4 crimes increases to 5 crimes and the previous limit of 3 class B misdemeanors increases to 4.
If I’m not eligible, is there anything I can do?
Maybe. There are legal ways around the limits, such as a reducing the level of a crime (“402 reduction”) to make it eligible for expungement. You may also qualify for a pardon from either the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole or the Governor. Both involve an application process and lots of paperwork.
I received an acquittal. When is my case eligible for expungement?
An acquittal will automatically be expunged within 60 days after the acquittal. If you were acquitted after a trial, you don’t need to file any paperwork. The court will issue the expungement order and send it to BCI and the prosecuting agency. Then BCI will notify the law enforcement agencies involved in the charge. Utah Code 77-40-116.
If your acquittal occured before May 1, 2020, the court will automatically expunge the acquittal within a year of your case being identified. You should contact the prosecuting agency in your case to notify them that your case is “clean slate eligible.” The prosecuting agency should review your case and process the automatic expungement. Utah Code 77-40-116.
My case was dismissed with prejudice. When is my case eligible for expungement?
Cases dismissed with prejudice will automatically be expunged within 180 days after the case was dismissed. If your case was dismissed with prejudice, you don’t need to file any paperwork. The court will issue the expungement order and send it to BCI and the prosecuting agency. Then BCI will notify the law enforcement agencies involved in the charge. Utah Code 77-40-116. If you believe your dismissed case is eligible but has not been automatically expunged yet, contact BCI.
If your case was dismissed with prejudice as a result of successfully completing a plea in abeyance agreement, you are not eligible for automatic expungement. You must apply for an expungement.
What is the process to get an expungement?
- Obtain fingerprints from law enforcement agency.
- File “Application of Eligibility” with Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
- Order “Certificates of Eligibility” from BCI for each conviction.
- File “Petition to Expunge Records” with the court that decided the case
- Serve “Petition to Expunge Records” with each prosecuting agency.
- Appear in court to finalize expungement.
- Respond to any responses from prosecuting agency or probation agency.
- Receive certified copies of court’s “Order of Expungement.”
- Deliver “Order of Expungement” to all government agencies in possession of records relating to the expunged matter.
- Deliver “Order of Expungement” to private background check companies.
How long does it take to receive an answer back from BCI telling me if I qualify?
Because BCI receives between 300 and 400 applications each month, it takes approximately 4 to 6 months to receive a response to your application.
Do I have to be fingerprinted even if my fingerprints are on file?
Normally, yes. Due to recommendations regarding COVID-19, fingerprints are no longer required to apply for expungement.
How much does an expungement cost?
The specifics are below, but there’s a $65 application fee to determine eligibility, and then you must pay $230 for each charge eligible for expungement. This does not include attorney’s fees.
- $65 application fee – File “Application of Eligibility” with Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
- $65 for each certificate – Order “Certificates of Eligibility”” from BCI for each conviction.
- $135 court filing fee for each petition – File “Petition to Expunge Records” with the court that decided the case.
- Serve “Petition to Expunge Records” with each prosecuting agency.
- Appear in court to finalize expungement. Respond to any responses from prosecuting agency or probation agency.
- $30 for five certified copies – Receive certified copies of court’s “Order of Expungement.”
- Postage – Deliver “Order of Expungement” to all government agencies in possession of records relating to the expunged matter.
- Postage – Deliver “Order of Expungement” to private background check companies.
If you’re expunging an acquittal, dismissal, or declination, the BCI certificates are provided at no cost. You will still need to pay the $135 court filing fee for each petition.