If you have a conviction on your criminal record, you may be wondering whether the offense will be on your record permanently. Fortunately, there are options for having a conviction removed from a criminal record in Utah. This could greatly assist a person that has difficulty finding employment or housing due to a criminal conviction. If you or a family member is interested in applying for a record expungement, contact an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. At Overson Law, PLLC, we can help you determine the appropriate way to manage any issues relating to Utah’s criminal justice system. Overson Law is here to explain how long a misdemeanor can remain on your criminal record.
How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Utah
In Utah, a misdemeanor is not simply wiped from a person’s criminal record after a certain amount of time has passed. Instead, a criminal record will remain on a person’s record until they successfully file for a criminal record expungement.
A criminal record expungement allows a person with a criminal record to remove nearly all information regarding their record from public databases. A person that was convicted of a crime can get the following information scrubbed from their record:
- The arrest records
- Records pertaining to an investigation
- Records documenting the defendant’s detention
- A conviction for a crime or a guilty plea
The expungement of a criminal record allows a person to validly claim that an arrest or a conviction did not occur. For example, if you are trying to apply for a job that requests your criminal history, an expungement means that you can tell the potential employer that you do not have a criminal record. Similarly, if a public request is made to a government agency requesting information about a conviction, the government agency must respond that the subject of the request has no criminal record.
It is important to note that just because a criminal record was expunged does not mean that your conviction will be scrubbed from news articles or similar records. Also, certain high-level government officials will still be able to view your criminal record after an expungement.
When Can You Expunge a Record?
There are different guidelines for expunging a criminal record, depending on the type of record a person wants to remove. For example, expunging an arrest record has different requirements than expunging a record of a conviction.
To expunge a record of arrest, a defendant must wait at least 30 days after an arrest and ensure they have no criminal cases pending. Additionally, the petitioner must meet one of the following requirements:
- No criminal charges were filed after the arrest
- If charges were filed, the case was dismissed with prejudice meaning it cannot be filed again
- Charges were filed, but the case was dismissed without prejudice and 180 days have passed since the case was dismissed or the prosecutor offered their consent for an expungement
- The defendant was acquitted of the charge at trial
- The statute of limitation for filing the criminal case has expired
To expunge a record of conviction, there are several steps that a person must take. For example, a person cannot begin the expungement process until they pay off all fines or restitution that were a part of their criminal conviction.
Next, you must ensure that you have waited the appropriate amount of time before requesting an expungement. For example, if you committed a felony, you would have to wait at least seven years from the date of your incarceration, probation, or parole, whichever event occurred last. To expunge other types of offenses from your record, you must wait:
- Class A misdemeanor or felony drug possession – Five years
- Class B misdemeanor – Four years
- Class C misdemeanor or infraction – Three years
It is also important to note that every crime is not eligible for a record expungement unless the defendant was pardoned for the offense:
- Capital, first degree, or violent felonies
- Felony automobile homicide
- Felony driving under the influence violation
- Registrable sex offenses
- Registrable child abuse offenses
If you need to file for a criminal record expungement but are unsure about whether you meet all the necessary requirements, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Even having a misdemeanor on your record could result in serious issues in obtaining gainful employment or even housing.
Work with an Experienced Utah Criminal Record Expungement Lawyer Today
If you or a family member need a criminal record expungement, consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal expungement attorney today. Criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson is devoted to providing residents of Utah with the legal representation they deserve to deal with their criminal case. Overson Law recognizes the stress that accompanies a criminal proceeding, and we can help alleviate your concerns. To schedule a free legal case evaluation, contact Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online.