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Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

If you’re looking to clear your criminal record in Utah, this guide will help you understand how to do it. We’ll talk about who can get their record cleared, the steps you need to take, and how much it might cost. This process is called “expungement,” and it’s like making your criminal record invisible to the public. This can help you get a job, find a place to live, and make your life better.

What Does Expungement Mean?

Expungement is when the court hides your criminal record from almost everyone. If you get your record expunged in Utah, you can honestly say you weren’t convicted of that crime. This can really help when you’re looking for a job or a place to live.Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

Can You Get Your Record Expunged?

Navigating the path to clearing your criminal record in Utah begins with understanding the eligibility requirements for expungement. The state has specific guidelines that determine who can have their records sealed, based on the type of offense and the time that has passed since fulfilling all aspects of the sentence.

Types of Offenses and Waiting Periods

Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

  • Felonies:Second and Third Degree Felonies: A waiting period of 7 years is required after completing your sentence, including any probation or parole1.
  • Misdemeanors:Class A Misdemeanors: A 5-year waiting period is necessary before applying for expungement1.
  • Infractions:Lesser offenses than misdemeanors, such as traffic violations and some public order offenses, typically require a 3-year waiting period1.

Exceptions

Certain offenses are excluded from eligibility for expungement in Utah, which means that individuals with these types of convictions on their record cannot have them expunged:

Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

  • Violent felonies, including aggravated assault and certain weapons offenses.
  • Sexual offenses that require registration on the sex offender registry.
  • Capital felonies, such as murder or aggravated kidnapping.
  • Felony DUI and automobile homicide.

Additional Considerations

  • Prior Convictions: Your criminal history can affect eligibility. If you have two or more felony convictions from separate criminal episodes, or a combination of multiple misdemeanor convictions, you may be barred from expungement
  • Pending Cases: You cannot apply for expungement if you have a criminal case pending against you.
  • Restitution and Fines: All court-ordered fines, fees, and restitution must be fully paid before you can apply for expungement.

Steps to Expunge Your Record in Utah

Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

  1. Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility
  • Application: Begin by applying for a Certificate of Eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). This step is crucial as it officially determines your eligibility for expungement.
  • Fee: There is a $65 application fee required when submitting your application2.
  • Fingerprinting: You will need to provide fingerprints, which can be done at the BCI office or at a local law enforcement agency
  1. Filing a Petition for Expungement
  • Petition: After receiving your Certificate of Eligibility, file a petition for expungement with the district court that handled your case.
  • Court Fees: The filing fee for the petition is $135, which does not include any additional costs for certified copies of the expungement order.
  1. Prosecutor’s Review and Court Proceedings
  • Review: The prosecutor assigned to your case will review the petition and has the option to consent to the expungement or object to it.
  • Hearing: If the prosecutor objects, the court may schedule a hearing to consider the merits of the expungement.
  1. Finalizing the Expungement
  • Court Order: If the court approves the expungement, an order to seal the records will be issued.
  • Distribution: It is your responsibility to distribute copies of the expungement order to all relevant criminal justice agencies to ensure your record is sealed.

Costs Associated with Utah Expungement

Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

  • Application Fee: $65 for the Certificate of Eligibility.
  • Filing Fees: Approximately $135 for filing the petition.
  • Miscellaneous Costs: Additional costs may include fees for obtaining court documents or legal representation.

Automatic Expungement under Utah’s Clean Slate Law

Utah’s Clean Slate Law, a significant step forward in criminal justice reform, has made the expungement process more accessible and less burdensome for many individuals. Implemented on February 10, 2022, this law automates the expungement of eligible misdemeanor records, streamlining the path to a clearer record without the need for an application or fee. Understanding how this law works can provide hope and clarity for those looking to move past their criminal history.

What is the Clean Slate Law?

The Clean Slate Law in Utah is designed to automatically clear certain types of criminal records, making it easier for individuals to secure employment, housing, and other opportunities that might be hindered by a past misdemeanor conviction. This law represents a shift towards a more forgiving legal system for those who have demonstrated a commitment to lawful behavior post-conviction.

Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

Eligibility for Automatic Expungement

  • Dismissed Cases: If your case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled against you, it automatically qualifies for expungement under the Clean Slate Law.
  • Acquitted Charges: Charges for which you were found not guilty are also automatically expunged, recognizing your right to be treated as innocent.
  • Certain Misdemeanor Convictions: Misdemeanor convictions, including some drug possession charges and other non-violent misdemeanors, are eligible for automatic expungement. The law specifies waiting periods after which these records are cleared without any action required from the individual.Understanding Utah Expungement: A Complete Guide

Waiting Periods for Automatic Expungement

The Clean Slate Law stipulates specific waiting periods after the completion of your sentence, including any probation or parole, before your record can be automatically expunged:

  • Class C Misdemeanors and Infractions: A waiting period of 3 years.
  • Class B Misdemeanors: A waiting period of 4 years.
  • Class A Misdemeanors: A waiting period of 5 years.

These waiting periods are designed to ensure that individuals have demonstrated a period of law-abiding behavior before their records are cleared.

No Application or Fee Required

One of the most significant benefits of the Clean Slate Law is the elimination of the application process and associated fees for eligible expungements:

  • No Application: Individuals eligible under the Clean Slate Law do not need to file an application for expungement. The process is automatic, reducing the administrative burden on individuals seeking to clear their records.
  • No Fee: The automatic expungement process under the Clean Slate Law is free of charge, removing financial barriers that could prevent individuals from seeking expungement.

Conclusion

Expungement in Utah offers a path to clearing one’s criminal record and moving forward with life. Understanding the eligibility criteria, following the correct procedures, and being aware of the associated costs are crucial steps in achieving a successful expungement. For those eligible, taking advantage of Utah’s expungement opportunities can significantly improve one’s quality of life and open doors to new opportunities.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and is provided as is without any guarantee of accuracy. If you need a professional legal opinion, click here to send in your legal request.

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