Provo Expungement Lawyer

What is Expungement?

The term “expungement” simply means to erase or strike out.  The term is usually associated with clearing someone’s criminal history.  If someone wants to erase his/her criminal history, the person needs to use the expungement process to accomplish this goal.  Each state has different laws regarding expungement.  Utah’s expungement process is governed by Utah Code § 77-40, the Utah Expungement Act.  The expungement process in Utah is somewhat misleading because one’s criminal history is never actually erased.  The expungement process in Utah results in one’s criminal record being sealed.  An expunged record cannot be viewed except in very limited circumstances.

Who is Eligible for Expungement in Utah?

Expungement eligibility can be difficult to find out.  One way to find out if someone is eligible for expungement is for him/her to submit an application for a Certificate of Expungement Eligibility to the Bureau of Criminal Identification (“BCI”).  There is a fee for the application, however, and it may take up to three months to discover if one is eligible.  Submitting an application is part of the expungement process, but a Provo Criminal Defense Lawyer can usually tell someone if he/she will qualify for expungement before wasting time and money for a Certificate of Expungement Eligibility.

Eligibility first depends on whether or not a person was convicted of a criminal charge.

Expungement Eligibility for Crimes NOT Resulting in a Conviction

Individuals that have been arrested for, or charged with committing, a criminal offense, can usually expunge the incident if there was no resulting criminal conviction.  The criteria for expunging a record without a conviction is as follows:

  • No charges were filed following an arrest, OR
  • Charges were filed, but the case was dismissed with prejudice, OR
  • A person was acquitted of charges at trial, OR
  • the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges has passed.
  • A person has no criminal cases pending;
  • 30 days have passed since arrest.

Expungement Eligibility for Crimes Resulting in a Conviction

When someone has been convicted of a crime, he/she can expunge a criminal record depending on the type of offense, the level of offense, and the number of offenses.  Some crimes can never be expunged.  These crimes include a capital felony, a first degree felony, a violent felony, a felony DUI, automobile homicide, and a registrable sex offense.

The number of criminal convictions matter.  A person cannot expunge a criminal record if the person has been convicted in separate criminal episodes of :

  • two or more felonies;
  • three or more crimes of which two are class A misdemeanors;
  • four or more crimes of which three are class B misdemeanors;
  • five or more crimes of any degree other than infractions and traffic offenses.
  • (Certain drug crimes are not included in the overall amount of convictions one may have to be eligible for expungement.  Certain drug crime convictions are counted in a separate class.)

Even if someone’s conviction is not prohibited from expungement and the person doesn’t have too many convictions, the person may still have to wait several years to be eligible for expungement.  Individuals must wait a certain amount of time from when the criminal case is closed before they become eligible for expungement. The following time requirements apply for expungement eligibility:

  • Class C misdemeanor or infraction – three years;
  • Class B misdemeanor – four years;
  • Class A misdemeanor – five years;
  • Felony – seven years;
  • Misdemeanor DUI – ten years.

Expungement Process in Utah

The expungement process begins with applying for a Certificate of Expungement Eligibility from the BCI.  It can take several months before BCI informs an applicant he/she is eligible for expungement.  After someone is informed of his/her eligibility, the person must purchase a certificate for each offense the person seeks to expunge.  Once the person has obtained the certificate(s), he/she must file a petition with the court asking the court to enter an expungement order.  Utah courts charge a filing fee to file such a petition.  The person must also serve a copy of the documents on the prosecutor.  A prosecutor can object to the expungement and request a hearing on the expungement petition.  A prosecutor can also consent to the expungement or take no action on the petition.

If the petition is granted and the court issues an expungement order, the person seeking the expungement must purchase certified copies of the expungement order.  The certified copies of the expungement order must be sent to the BCI as well as any other government agency with record of the arrest, charge, or conviction.

The Expungement Process is Simple with a Provo Criminal Defense Lawyer

Determining eligibility and undertaking the process of expungement can be very difficult for the average person.  If you are considering clearing your criminal record, make it easy on yourself and hire a Provo Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Our lawyers are experienced in the expungement process and will make the process simple for you.  We can save you time and money by giving you a good idea of your eligibility for expungement.  We serve the entire state of Utah.  Call 801.800.8246 to speak with a Provo Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

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