What Crimes Qualify for Expungement in Utah?
“Expungement” is the process of clearing a crime off your record. This is available in many situations, especially after enough time has passed that your criminal record does not really reflect who you are today. Expungement is a perfect opportunity for people with mistakes in their past to move forward. However, not all crimes can be expunged. The Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers at Overson Law explain.
What Convictions are Eligible for Expungement in Salt Lake City?
Having a criminal record can make it harder to get a job, a loan, or other things that people without a record take for granted. Some believe that this is the price to pay for committing a crime, but often low-level crimes and mistakes made in your youth can really hurt your future. Because of this, expungement is available for many offenses to remove your public criminal record and help you move on with your life. However, the rules are different for different offenses, and some offenses are not eligible for expungement at all.
Crimes in Utah are broken down into “felonies” and “misdemeanors,” with felonies carrying the potential of more than a year in prison and misdemeanors usually carrying up to a year as the maximum penalty. Misdemeanors have 3 classes, called class A, class B, and class C, which have varying penalties and fines.
Below these crimes are simple “infractions” for low-level offenses. These are like traffic tickets, but for non-traffic offenses.
You can expunge most offenses from any of these levels, but you must wait a longer amount of time for more serious offenses. Before you’re eligible for expungement, you must wait…
- 7 years for a felony
- 5 years for a class A misdemeanor
- 4 years for a class B misdemeanor
- 3 years for any other misdemeanor or infraction.
There are also special rules for a few offenses:
- Any felony drug possession felony has a reduced waiting period of 5 years.
- Drug and alcohol DUI convictions have a waiting period of 10 years.
The waiting period may be long for many of these crimes, but it is still possible to expunge even some of the highest-level crimes. However, certain crimes are so serious that the government does not allow them to be expunged. These include the following offenses:
- Automobile homicide
- Felony DUI
- Sex offenses that can lead to offender registration
- Child abuse that can lead to offender registration
Besides these crimes, you should be able to expunge any other offense if you wait the required period and meet all other requirements.
If you were arrested, but charges were dismissed or never filed, you can have the arrest expunged after 30 days in many cases, regardless of the crime you were charged with.
Expungement Eligibility in Salt Lake City
Aside from waiting the required period and selecting a qualifying crime, there are other conditions you must meet to be eligible for expungement. If you do not meet the requirements, you cannot get your record expunged. Some requirements can be met at a later date, allowing later expungement, but other eligibility requirements can never be met once you fail to qualify.
You cannot qualify for expungement if you still have another case pending against you or if you have not finished paying fines and serving time for the offense you seek to expunge. These conditions can be met later if you wait until your pending case is over or finish paying all fines and penalties associated with your offense. The waiting period is often enough time to allow you to finish any fines or requirements to qualify for expungement.
You also cannot qualify for expungement if your record has too many offenses on it. Utah breaks this down by the seriousness of the offense, such that having two or more felony convictions makes you ineligible for expungement, but so does any four convictions if three of them are as high as class B misdemeanors. If you have 5 or more convictions, you will not qualify for expungement no matter what level of crime they were. This requirement cannot be met later since these crimes will not leave your record and make you eligible at a later date.
When looking at your criminal record to see whether you qualify for expungement, crimes that you have previously had expunged still count. Expungement does not destroy your criminal record in Utah. Instead, expungement merely “seals” your record to keep it from the public. Utah police, courts, prosecutors, and others may still be able to access your record, especially if it is relevant to sentencing or investigation for other crimes. This means there is a still a record of those convictions that can be used to prevent expungement for career criminals. However, employers, loan advisors, and others should not be able to access your records once they are sealed.
Expungement Lawyer Offering Free Consultations in Salt Lake City
If you or a loved one was arrested or convicted for a crime, talk to an attorney about getting your criminal record expunged. Overson Law’s Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers offer free consultations to examine your case and see how our attorneys can help with fighting charges and filing for expungement to keep your record clean. To schedule your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.