Expungement is the process of sealing or destroying a criminal record, including arrests and convictions. Depending on the type of criminal conviction, and other factors, Utah law provides for the expungement of events in an individual’s criminal history. Expungement is available for several types of criminal convictions; however, there are a few convictions for which an expungement is not available. The court may not expunge the following convictions:
- Capital Felony;
- First Degree Felony;
- Second Degree Forcible Felony;
- Any Sexual Act Against a Minor; and
- Offenses to which a Certificate of Eligibility may not be issued.
Expungements are not available if your criminal history includes the following:
- Two or more felony convictions, each of which is contained in a separate criminal episode;
- Three or more convictions, of which two are Class A Misdemeanors, each of which is contained in a separate criminal episode;
- Four or ore convictions, of which three are Class B Misdemeanors, each of which is contained in a separate criminal episode; or
- Five or more convictions regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor, excluding infranctions, each of which is contained in a separate criminal episode.
Utah law also requires that a certain amount of time pass between the time of conviction or arrest and the application for an order of expungement. The following chart will demonstrate the applicable time period after a conviction before an expungement may be sought for various criminal convictions.
TIME PERIOD TYPE OF CONVICTION
- 10 Years Misdemeanor convictions under Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-501(2) and Felony convictions under Utah Code Ann 58-37-8-(2)(g);
- 7 Years Second and Third Degree Felonies;
- 5 Years Class A Misdemeanor;
- 4 Years Class B Misdemeanor;
- 3 Years Other Misdemeanors and Infractions
- 30 Days Arrests without filing charges, court proceedings that were commenced and dismissed, and acquittals.
Obtaining an expungement involves obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigations and filing a Petition and Order for Expungement. After the appropriate parties are served with the Petition, the court may or may not require a written evaluation from the Department of Corrections. If there have been no objections to the Petition, the court may grant the expungement without a hearing just based on the written documents provided to the court. However, the court may require appearance at a hearing.
Once an Order of Expungement has been issued by the court, the individual whose records were expunged may now act as though the conviction or arrest never happened. The individual can now tell employers or potential employers that they have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Having your record expunged may also assist in obtaining professional licenses or other certificates. It may also assist in obtaining student loans and other government assistance.
Have questions about a specific case? Don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
Kevin M. Bischoff