Expungement / Pardons of an Adult Criminal Record

Under the Utah Expungement Act in Title 77, Chapter 40, certain records of an arrest or conviction in Utah can be expunged. The expunction means that the court orders that the records of the arrest, investigation, detention, and conviction in the criminal case are sealed. When the record is sealed, the public cannot view or copy the record.

After the record is expunged, the person may legally deny or fail to acknowledge that they were arrested, prosecuted or convicted. In other words, with a few exceptions, the expunction allows a person to respond to an inquiry as though the arrest or conviction did not occur. 

If an agency receives the expungement order, then the agency is required to seal their records. Thereafter, if the government agency is asked to respond to an inquiry about the record, the agency will respond as through that arrest or conviction did not occur. The order to seal records applies only to government agencies.

It is important to keep in mind that an expunged record is not destroyed. Instead, the sealed record can still be viewed and copied by some government officials. Also, the court can order the records unsealed in some limited circumstances.

Expunged records are not necessarily destroyed. Expunged court records are placed in an envelope which is securely sealed. The clerk records the case number and record classification on the envelope and inscribes across the sealed part of the envelope the words "Not to be opened except upon permission of the court."

Attorneys for Expungement of Adult Records in Salt Lake City

Call us if you believe you are eligible to expunge your criminal record. Our attorneys can help you through the process so that the record is expunged correctly the first time and the process if completed as quickly as possible.  

The attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP help clients seal and expunge a criminal record at the Salt Lake City Justice Court and other courtrooms throughout the State of Utah. Different rules apply depending on whether there was a dismissal or acquittal, conviction, drug possession conviction, or charges never filed.

For expunctions in Salt Lake City, we also serve a copy of the petition on the Prosecutor's Office in Salt Lake City located at 349 South 200 East, 5th Floor. We stand with you during the hearing. Don't face the judge alone. Call (801) 532-5297 to discuss your case today.


Eligibility to Expunge an Adult Criminal Record without a Conviction

Under Section 77-40-104, a person is qualified to expunge records of arrest, investigation, and detention for a crime for which there has been no conviction if:

  • at least 30 days have passed since the arrest;
  • there are no criminal cases pending; and
  • one of the following occurred:
    • charges were filed, but the person was acquitted at trial;
    • charges were filed, but the case was dismissed with prejudice;
    • no charges were filed; or
    • the statute of limitations has expired.

The term conviction means a plea of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere (no contest) or verdict or finding of guilty after trial.


Eligibility for to Expunge an Adult Criminal Record with a Conviction

Under Section 77-40-105, to expunge records of crimes with conviction, the petitioner must first pay all fines, fees, restitution, and interest. Unless a person has been pardoned for the offense, records of the following crimes cannot be expunged:

  • felony driving under the influence;
  • automobile homicide;
  • a registerable sex offense (Utah Code Section 77-41-102);
  • a capital felony, first degree felony or violent felony (Utah Code Section 76-3-203.5);

Additionally, a person cannot expunge records of any conviction if:

  • there is a criminal case pending;
  • the petitioner provides false or misleading information on the application for the certificate of eligibility; (It is also a criminal offense to provide false or misleading information on the application);
  • the petitioner has been convicted in separate criminal episodes of:
    • two or more felonies;
    • three or more crimes of which two are class A misdemeanors;
    • four or more crimes of which three are class B misdemeanors; or
    • five or more crimes of any degree other than infractions and the traffic offenses identified in Section 77-40-102.

Under 76-1-401, the term “criminal episode” is defined. The following time periods must have passed from the date the petitioner was convicted or released from incarceration, probation or parole, whichever occurred last:

  • Felony conviction of Subsection 58-37-8(2)(g) - 10 years
  • Misdemeanor conviction of Subsection 41-6a-501(2) - 10 years
  • Felony - 7 years
  • Class A Misdemeanor - 5 years
  • Class B Misdemeanor - 4 years
  • Class C Misdemeanors & Infraction Convictions - 3 years from closing date
  • Other Misdemeanor or Infraction - 3 years
  • Arrests without filing of charges - 30 days from arrest
  • Proceedings commenced & dismissed - 30 days from closing date
  • Acquittals - 30 days from closing date

If a person is not eligible for an expungement, the person can apply for a pardon by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. The Board has authority to pardon actual convictions but has no authority to pardon arrests or case dismissals that did not result in convictions. After that, a person is entitled to expunge records of all crimes for which the person has been pardoned by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

An expungement is allowed after the closed date of your court case, depending upon the charges. 


The Certificate of Eligibility to Expunge Record in Utah

For a fee, you can apply for a certificate of eligibility which is issued by the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) of the Utah Department of Public Safety. The BCI performs a records check to determine whether a petitioner is eligible to expunge criminal records. After determining eligibility, BCI will issue the certificate of eligibility. 

The petition to expunge should be filed immediately after receiving the Certificate of Eligibility because the certificate is valid for only 90 days from the date it is issued. Once you obtain the certificate of eligibility, you can petition the court to expunge the record. 

The petitioner must serve the petition and certificate of eligibility on the office of the prosecutor who handled the criminal case. If no criminal case was filed, the petitioner must serve the petition and certificate on the county attorney or district attorney of the county in which the petitioner was arrested.

The prosecutor then notifies the victim of the crime that a Petition to Expunge Records has been filed. The prosecutor and the victim may file a statement objecting to the petition or making a recommendation within 30 days after they have received the petition. If the prosecutor or victim files a statement, they must serve the documents on the petitioner. The petitioner may file a reply within 15 days after receiving the statement. If the crime had no victim, only the prosecutor has the opportunity to file a statement.

The court may order the Division of Adult Probation and Parole (AP&P) to prepare a written response to the petition. AP&P will file the response. The response may include the reasons probation was terminated, and whether the petitioner has completed all requirements of sentencing, probation or parole. AP&P will serve the response on the petitioner, the prosecuting attorney, and the victim. The petitioner may file a reply to the AP&P response within 15 days after receiving it.


Hearing to Expunge the Criminal Record in Utah

If the prosecutor or victim files a statement, the court will hold a hearing at which all parties will have an opportunity to present information and arguments. If neither the prosecutor nor the victim files a statement, the court may conduct a hearing on its motion or may grant the petition without a hearing.

If the court is to enter an order without a hearing, the court must wait at least 60 days from the date the petition was filed to allow the prosecutor and victim time to file their statements.

The court will expunge the record it if determines by by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • the statutory requirements have been met;
  • the petition and certificate of eligibility are sufficient; and
  • expunging the records is not contrary to public interest. 

If the court grants the petition, it will enter an order to expunge the petitioner's records of arrest, investigation, detention, or conviction held by any state, county, or local government entity.


Limitations for the Expungement Order

It is important to keep in mind that the expungement order does not:

  • remove any evidence relating to the petitioner which the administrative body has used or may use;
  • affect the enforcement of an order issued by an administrative body before issuance of the expungement order; or
  • affect any administrative proceedings of which the petitioner had notice before issuance of the order. 

Additional Resources

Expungement of Adult Criminal Records in Utah - Visit the website of the Utah Courts to learn more about expunging an adult criminal record under the Utah Expungement Act. Find the criteria and eligibility requirements for different types of criminal cases including felonies, class A misdemeanors, class B misdemeanors, other misdemeanors or infractions.

FAQ about How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged - Visit the website of the Utah Department of Public Safety to learn more about criminal identification (BCI) in Utah and the $50 application fee. BCI receives approximately 700 applications a month. Find information about getting your criminal record expunged. Learn more about why it takes approximately 10 weeks to get a response to your application.

Salt Lake City Courts on Expungement - Visit the website of Salt Lake City to learn more from the courts about the Utah Expungement Act. Find information on how to get an expungement, obtaining a certificate of eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI), and filing a petition to expunge records. The article explains the BCI background check based upon the total criminal history and what is reported to the Bureau of Criminal Identification. Find out more about special procedures at the Salt Lake City Justice Court and serving the Prosecutor's Office in Salt Lake City located at 349 South 200 East, 5th Floor, before the hearing. 


Finding an Attorney for Expungement in Salt Lake City, Utah

If you need to expunge an adult criminal record in Salt Lake City or anywhere else in the State of Utah, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP to discuss your case. We also help people expunge a juvenile record in Utah.

Call us to find out whether you are eligible and how long it might take. We can help you at each stage of the expunction process from obtaining the certificate of eligibility, filing the petition for expungement, and attending the hearing. Call us today at (801) 532-5297 to discuss your case. 


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