Can You Expunge a DUI in Utah?

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Utah law allows many old convictions to be expunged from your record.  This gives you the chance to move on with your life and block employers and other people from seeing these convictions on a criminal record search.  If the old conviction no longer reflects who you are, getting it expunged can be a great opportunity.  However, Utah does not allow expungement of all DUI charges.  The Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyers at Overson Law explain.

DUI Crimes in Utah

Any time you are caught behind the wheel driving a car while you are under the influence of alcohol, you might be charged with a DUI.  The charges and penalties you face can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the situation, such as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the arrest, whether there was an accident, and whether there was a minor in your car at the time of the DUI.

Generally, DUI charges in Utah are graded as class B misdemeanors.  This will be upgraded to a class A misdemeanor if there was a minor in your car when the event took place or anyone was injured in a DUI crash.  The crime will be upgraded to a third degree felony if there were any “serious” injuries in the crash, if this is your third DUI in 10 years, or if you have a prior conviction for automobile homicide or a felony DUI.

Expunging a Criminal Record in Utah

Utah’s expungement laws usually allow you to have the record of a conviction cleared off your record.  This can make it harder for potential employers, loan advisors, or other parties to find a criminal conviction and hold it against you.  However, Utah law does not allow every crime to be expunged, and there are steps you must take before you qualify for expungement.

Crimes that Don’t Allow Expungement in Utah

First off, some crimes cannot be expunged in Utah.  In most cases, these are serious crimes that carry high penalties or demonstrate that the perpetrator is somewhat dangerous.  The State prefers to leave these records on file so that people can see them later.  The crimes that cannot be expunged are as follows:

  • Murder
  • Felony vehicular manslaughter
  • Felony DUI
  • Sex offenses that lead to sex offender registration
  • Child abuse offenses that lead to registration

Moreover, you cannot qualify if you have multiple convictions of sufficiently high levels.  For instance, having 2 felony convictions blocks you from getting expungement, as does having 2 class A misdemeanors alongside a third conviction of any level or 3 class B misdemeanors alongside a fourth conviction of any level.  This list goes on to block expungement if you have 5 or more convictions for any level of crime.  Drug possession crimes do not count against these limits and are instead counted differently to give more room for people to seek addiction treatment and counseling and still seek expungement.

Utah’s Expungement Restrictions

Second, Utah law does not allow expungement until after the case has ended and the penalties have been completed.  You also can’t get expungement if there is evidence that you are still involved in crime, such as if you have a case pending against you or you lied on the expungement application.  Generally, you must also wait a certain amount of time after the conviction to get an expungement.  This waiting period is as follows:

  • 10 years for a misdemeanor DUI or felony drug trafficking charge
  • 7 years for a felony other than drug possession
  • 5 years for a class A misdemeanor or felony drug possession crime
  • 4 years for a class B misdemeanor
  • 3 years for another misdemeanor or infraction

Expunging DUI Convictions in Utah

As you may have noticed upon reading these rules, DUI is often put under special rules for expungement.  Utah legislators wanted to keep DUI convictions on the record for a few reasons.  First, a record of these convictions is important to companies hiring commercial drivers who may want to be able to get a record of DUI that goes back farther than the 4 or 5 years it would go back if a DUI could be expunged like other misdemeanors.  Second, DUI offenses carry increased penalties if they are committed within 10 years of a previous DUI, so the record needs to last at least 10 years.

Under Utah law, you can get a misdemeanor DUI expunged, but you have to wait 10 years before you are eligible.  A typical DUI is a class B misdemeanor, which would otherwise have a 4-year waiting period, and other DUIs are upgraded to a class A misdemeanor, which would otherwise have a 5-year waiting period.  A DUI is charged as a class A misdemeanor if it involves injury or was committed with an underage passenger in the car.

Unfortunately, if you were convicted of a felony DUI, you cannot get that expunged.  A DUI is charged as a felony if it involves “serious” injuries, if it is the third DUI conviction within 10 years, or if you have previously been convicted of vehicular manslaughter or another felony DUI.

There are some cases where a felony DUI can be reduced to a misdemeanor if the penalties would be too harsh.  Talk to a lawyer for help with your case to avoid penalties and leave the chance of expungement open in the future.

Call Our Salt Lake City DUI Expungement Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has an old DUI conviction on their record that needs to be expunged, our Salt Lake City expungement lawyers may be able to help.  Also, if you are facing felony DUI charges and want to avoid serious penalties or a criminal record that can’t be expunged, seek help from our DUI defense attorneys today.  For a free consultation on your case, call our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC today at (801) 758-2287.