Does a Plea in Abeyance Show Up on a Background Check in Utah?

A plea in abeyance may appear in your criminal record depending on multiple factors. The general rule is that the charges will appear in the criminal history. However, if expungement of the charges is obtained, the charges and the corresponding plea of abeyance will be removed from the criminal record. Expungement cannot be possible if the conditions of the plea agreement are not satisfied in full. Also, there are crimes that don’t qualify for expungement. Even if the crime qualifies for a plea of abeyance, this is not an automatic qualification for a “clean” record. For example, registrable sex offenses can never be expunged. Therefore, a plea of abeyance for charges of sexual misconduct will always appear in your record. Since a plea of abeyance different than ordinary criminal plea agreements, there are no specific provisions or situations when it doesn’t appear in the criminal record. The criminal defendant has to complete the plea agreement and also follow the steps necessary for expungement in order for the charges not to appear in criminal history background checks.

In ordinary plea agreements, the sentencing is scheduled after the plea is entered and the criminal defendant will be compelled to comply with the sentence. In a plea in abeyance, the expungement will not be possible until the charges are dismissed. Ordinarily, dismissal doesn’t occur for at least a year. If you need to talk to a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer about the timing involved in a plea of abeyance or regarding criminal records, you can contact the law office of Darwin Overson. There are many factors to take into consideration that a professional in this area can help you answer. Call (801) 515-0883 to schedule a free consultation with Darwin Overson.

What is a Plea of Abeyance?

A plea in abeyance occurs when a criminal defendant agrees to plead “guilty” or “no contest” to a crime on condition that the judge dismisses the charges if he complies with the requirements of the plea of abeyance agreement and obeys all laws for one year. Criminal defendants are typically sentenced to probation when they enter a plea in abeyance.

A “guilty” plea is when you agree that you committed the crimes charged. A “no contest” plea is when you don’t dispute the charges—but neither agree nor disagree as to your involvement in the crime. Abeyance in this instance means that the costs are held in suspension typically for one year.

Plea of Abeyance Agreement Contracts in Utah

The plea of abeyance agreement is a contract or arrangement between the criminal defendant and the government. The terms of the contract provide conditions that must be satisfied before the criminal case is dismissed. A dismissed case means that a lawsuit is closed. The judge issues a dismissal ruling typically when there is no finding of guilt and no conviction for the defendant in a criminal case. However, in a plea of abeyance, it means that once the conditions under the agreement are met, the charges will be dismissed.

The content of this agreement generally includes specific terms agreed to that are pertinent to the criminal charges at issue. In addition, there is also a waiver of nearly all constitutional protections that criminal defendants receive throughout the process. These constitutional rights include the right to counsel, the right to a jury trial, right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, right to testify and privilege against self-incrimination, Presumption of innocence.  Since you’re waiving these constitutional rights, it’s in your best interest to comply with the plea of abeyance agreement in full.

Once you enter into a plea in abeyance agreement and the court accepts your plea, you cannot withdraw it. If you decide to withdraw from the agreement, you must file a written motion within 30 days after pleading guilty or no contest and show that the plea was not made knowingly and voluntarily.

Withdrawing the plea of abeyance agreement can create severe hurdles in the expungement of the charges in a criminal record. If you do not complete the conditions of the abeyance agreement, the court will order you to show cause why the court should not find that the terms of the agreement have been violated and why the agreement should not be terminated. If the court finds that you have failed to comply with any condition substantially, it may terminate the contract, enter a judgment of conviction and impose a sentence for the crimes. There are many intricate and complex questions of constitutional law regarding the plea of abeyance agreements that an experienced criminal defense can answer depending on the situation.

What Crimes Qualify for a Plea in Abeyance?

Not all crimes qualify for a plea in abeyance. Misdemeanor and infraction offenses are common crime charges for pleas in abeyance in Utah. Moreover, the eligibility to enter this plea depends on an application submitted to the Clerk of the Court who is in entrusted with handling these applications as provided under Utah Code of Judicial Administration Rule 4-704 (“Rule 4-704”). Claims under Rule 4-704 must state the reasons why the defendant should be allowed to enter a plea of abeyance. For more information on these qualifications and the process, you should talk to an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney.

Expungement of a Criminal Record in Utah

The process of asking for expungement is different from other court processes in Utah because the process begins with the application of a Certificate of Eligibility. There are fees and costs to keep in mind. It can take several months for the eligibility determination to be made. Utah also requires a “waiting period” before someone convicted for a crime qualifies for expungement. If you have questions about the eligibility of your crime and regarding the “waiting period” for a specific crime, talk to an experienced criminal law attorney in Utah.

Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

An experienced Utah criminal defense attorney can help with the preparation and filing of the Certificate of Eligibility. For a free consultation, contact Darwin Overson at (801) 515-0883.