Criminal convictions have a nasty habit of lingering around long after a defendant has served their sentence. A criminal conviction is reflected in your record forever. Former defendants often face difficulty getting jobs, housing, or being approved for security clearances because their convictions show up in background checks. However, there may be a way to remove your conviction from your record.
The expungement process allows former defendants to remove their convictions and information related to the conviction from their records. This information is sealed by the courts and treated as if it does not exist. An expunged conviction would not show up in a background check by a potential employer or landlord. Defendants are not required to disclose the existence of an expunged conviction if asked.
The expungement process does not guarantee success, and some defendants are denied in the end. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you get your conviction expunged so you can get on with your life. Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review about your potential expungement.
When Am I Allowed to Expunge a Criminal Conviction from My Record in Utah?
Expungements involve more than just sealing the record of your convictions. Information about your arrest, investigation, and detention is also sealed. In situations where a former defendant is required to disclose any prior criminal convictions, the former defendant may deny the existence of any expunged convictions. There are specific conditions that must be met to be eligible for an expungement. Not all defendants are eligible. Our Utah expungement attorneys can review your case and determine if you can petition for an expungement.
According to Utah Code § 77-40-105(4)(c), very specific conditions must be met for a petitioner to be eligible for an expungement. First, the petitioner must have fully paid all fines and any restitution ordered by the court as part of their conviction. Second, a certain amount of time must have passed since the end of your sentence, including any probation or parole time. If you wish to expunge certain drug-related misdemeanors or felonies, 10 years must have passed. In cases of most other felonies, 7 years must have elapsed. For Class A, B, and other misdemeanors, 5, 4, and 3 years, respectively, must have passed.
Generally, a petitioner must have remained free from crime or legal trouble in the time since the end of their sentence. Being rearrested, charged, and convicted of another crime may render you ineligible for expungement.
Convictions in Utah That Cannot Be Expunged
Not all petitioners are eligible for expungement. Just as there are criteria for eligibility, there are also criteria for ineligibility. Even if you meet all the eligibility criteria, you will be barred from expungement if you meet any of the conditions that would make you ineligible. When expunging a criminal conviction, the conviction must not be any of the following as they are prohibited from expungement unless officially pardoned:
- Capital felony
- First-degree felony
- Violent felony
- Felony automobile homicide
- Felony DUI
- Registerable sex offense
- Registerable child abuse offense
Additionally, you are not eligible to be pardoned if you have a criminal proceeding pending against you or if you provide false information in your application for a certificate of eligibility for expungement.
Your criminal history is considered when determining whether you can get an expungement. If you have 2 or more felonies from different criminal incidents, other than for drug possession, you may not be eligible. Also, having 3 or more drug possession convictions that include 2 Class A misdemeanors from different incidents will bar you from expungement. Having 4 drug possession convictions with at least 3 Class B misdemeanors or 5 convictions for anything other than drug possession of any degree will also preclude you from expungement.
There are a wide variety of conditions that may cost you an opportunity for expungement. Some conditions are hard rules, while others are more flexible. Contact our Park City criminal defense lawyers for help with your expungement petition.
How Do I Start the Process of Expunging My Criminal Record in Utah?
The expungement process can take time and requires forms and paperwork to be filed with the appropriate courts and agencies. Getting an expungement does not happen overnight, and you must be prepared to defend yourself against objections. Our Utah expungement attorneys can help you get the process started.
Your first step will be to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). Getting this certificate may take up to several months from the time the BCI receives your request. Once the certificate is issued, you have 90 days to file it along with your petition for expungement. If you allow the certificate to expire, you must request a new one, which will take even more time.
Your next step is to file the petition for expungement with the appropriate court. You must file your petition along with your Certificate of Eligibility along with several other forms. Our Riverton criminal defense attorneys can help you obtain all the necessary documents, fill them out, and submit them on time.
When you file your petition, you must also notify the prosecutor’s office of your upcoming expungement proceedings. The prosecutor will be given the opportunity to object, and you must be prepared to defend yourself.
Finally, you must submit copies of the official court order to the BCI and other government agencies if your petition is granted. Without copies of this order, other agencies will not seal their records of your conviction. It is crucial that you send copies of the order to all necessary agencies.
How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Criminal Record in Utah?
It can take quite some time to get an expungement in Utah. Getting a Certificate of Eligibility to start this process may take several months. Even after filing your petition, courts tend to move slowly due to heavy caseloads and limited personnel. Be prepared to wait several more weeks or months after filing your petition before getting a final decision. If you have a complicated criminal history, a prosecutor is more likely to object. The more a prosecutor fights your petition, the longer it could take to get your expungement.
With an attorney’s help, your expungement process may be much smoother and go a bit faster. Our South Jordan criminal defense lawyers are experienced at handling expungement petitions and know how to move your case through the courts as fast as possible.
Contact Our Utah Expungement Attorneys
If you have a criminal conviction in your record that continues to haunt you years after you completed your sentence, call our Logan criminal defense lawyers for help. Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review to get your expungement started.