The Utah Expungment Act

Everyone makes mistakes, but criminal mistakes may have lasting consequences that follow you for the rest of your life. Having a criminal record can prevent you from getting a job, getting into college, and, in some instances, getting a professional license.

The good news is that the State of Utah allows some records of past criminal activity to be expunged. The Utah Expungement Act defines expunge as “to seal or otherwise restrict access to the petitioner’s record held by an agency when the record includes a criminal investigation, detention, arrest, or conviction.”

Thus, the Utah law allows individuals who have been charged with a crime or convicted of a crime to, in essence, “hide” their criminal record.

Attorney for Expungements in Salt Lake City, UT

Not all criminal records are eligible for expungement.   In addition, most states, including Utah, limit the number of times that an individual may expunge a record. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about expunging your criminal record.

Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law has represented clients charged with many types of crimes, including sexual battery, dealing in material harmful to minors, drug possession charges and retail theft charges, to name a few.  These clients return to have their convictions expunged when the required time limit has passed.

Speak with an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney for more information about how to seal your criminal record before job searching or applying for a professional license.

Contact Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 to speak one-on-one with Attorney Susanne Gustin.

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Overview of Expungements in Salt Lake City, UT

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What Does Expungement Do?

The first thing to understand about an expungement is that it can only be accomplished if a judge signs an order for an expungement. Therefore, an agency such as a police department or the Bureau of Criminal Identification cannot seal their criminal records without a court order to do so.

A person who successfully expunges his or her record is allowed by law to respond on an employment application or school application that he or she has never been arrested or convicted of a crime.  And, a government agency such as a police department is required to respond to a request for information from an employer, for example, about a person’s criminal history that the person does not have an arrest or conviction.

It is also important to note that an expungement only applies to government agencies.  Therefore if a nongovernmental agency, such as a news or website has reported on the information, then a court order for expungement will not affect those entities.   However, a website will often take down any information they have gathered on a conviction or arrest, such as a mugshot, when presented with an order for expungement signed by a judge.

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When Expungement May Not Work

Some applications for employment or professional licensing agencies have found ways to circumvent the expungement issue by asking whether an individual has ever had a record sealed or expunged. In such instances, it is important to speak with an attorney about how one should answer those questions.

Professional licensing agencies such as the Utah State Bar will be allowed to obtain a sealed or expunged record. Therefore, if an individual is attempting to take the Bar to become an attorney, he or she should understand that expungements do not apply to the Utah Bar.

If a person is not a United States citizen, he or she is required to inform immigration officials of any expungements.  If you are not a United States citizen, it is advisable not to have your record expunged.  It is critical that you consult a defense attorney who understands the immigration consequences of expunging a criminal record of a non-citizen. 

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How To Obtain an Expungement

Susanne Gustin will inform you whether you qualify for an expungement and help you to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI).  The BCI will conduct a background check on your criminal history to determine whether a certificate of eligibility can be issued.

Once a certificate is issued, Susanne Gustin will file a petition for expungement in the court on conviction or arrest. Because an expungement is a civil action rather than a criminal action, there are filing and other costs associated with the process:

  • Filing Fee for Expungement Petition –$165.00
  • Cost to Obtain Expungement Certificate–$55
  • Certified Copies of Expungement Order –approximately $30.00

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Utah Code § 77-40-104 Expungement Eligibility

Utah Code § 77-40-104 outlines the eligibility requirements for expunging a criminal record in Salt Lake City, UT. An individual may file a petition to expunge his or her criminal record of arrest, investigation or detention under the following circumstances:

  • at least 30 days have passed since the arrest for which a certificate of eligibility is sought;
  • there are no present criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner; and
  • one of the followed occurred:
    • the entire case was dismissed with prejudice;
    • the charges were screened by the investigating law enforcement agency and the prosecutor made the final determination that no charges would be filed in the case;
    • the statute of limitations expired on all of the charges in the case; or
    • the person was acquitted at trial on all of the charges contained in the case.

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Utah Code § 77-40-105 Eligibility

Eligibility for expungement of an actual conviction has different requirements than expungement of an investigation, arrest, or detention. Not all crimes are eligible for expungement under Utah law.

An individual is not eligible for expungement if the conviction was any of the following:

  • a capital felony;
  • a first degree felony;
  • a violent felony as defined in Subsection 76-3-203.5(1)(c)(i);
  • a felony violation found in Subsection 41-6a-501(2);
  • a felony automobile homicide;
  • a registerable child abuse offense as defined in Subsection 77-43-102(2); or
  • a registerable sex offense as defined in Subsection 77-41-102(17)

Additionally, an individual will not be eligible for expungement if he or she has two or more felony convictions other than drug possession offenses, or any combination of three or more convictions other than drug possession offenses, that include two class A misdemeanor convictions, or any combination of four or more convictions, other than drug possession offenses that include three class B misdemeanor convictions.

An individual is rendered ineligible if he or she has five or more convictions other than for drug possession of any offenses of any degree whether misdemeanor or felony.

It is also possible to expunge a juvenile record.  Contact Susanne Gustin if you or your loved one has a juvenile record that he or she would like to have expunged.  It is not possible to expunge child sex offense in adult court.  However, in juvenile court it is possible to expunge even serious sex offenses in juvenile court if certain requirements are met.

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Additional Resources

Salt Lake City Courts – Visit the Salt Lake City Courts official website to find out more  about obtaining expungement forms and the process for filing an expungement in a Salt Lake City case.

Expunging Adult Criminal Records –Visit the official website of the Utah State Courts for more information about the criteria for expunging adult criminal records involving a class A misdemeanor and felonies. The website includes information about the requirements before a conviction or arrest can be expunged.

The Utah Expungement Act – Visit the official website of the Utah Legislature for the full statutory language associated with expunging a criminal conviction, investigation, or arrest in Salt Lake City, UT.

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Find a Lawyer for Criminal Record Expunging in Utah County, UT

If you or someone you know has a criminal record that he or she would like to have expunged, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.  The process is difficult to navigate alone.

Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law is experienced and will fight to get you the best possible result.  She takes cases throughout Salt Lake City, UT, and cities in Weber County, Tooele County, Davis County, Cache County and Summit County, UT.

Call (801) 243-2814 to schedule a no obligations consultation.