How to Expunge Your Adult Criminal Record in Utah: Part 1

While there may be some hoops to jump through, getting your adult criminal record expunged is a sought after process by many in Utah. Here are a few things you should know about how to expunge your adult criminal record.

What Exactly Does “Expunge” Mean?

“Expunge” means the court orders that the records of your arrest, investigation, detention, or conviction in a criminal case are sealed. When the record is *sealed, the public cannot view or copy the record. That means that you may legally deny or fail to acknowledge things such as your arrest, prosecution, or conviction. 

*Sealed means the court records are placed into an envelope that is securely sealed. An inscription across the sealed part reads: “Not to be opened except upon permission of the court.” 

However, sealed records are not destroyed. Some government officials may be able to view or copy your records. And in some limited circumstances, the court may also unseal them. 

When a record is being considered for sealing or expungement, the process will follow one of two sets of rules depending on if the record has a conviction or no conviction.

How Do I Expunge A Criminal Record Without a Conviction?

Expunging a record without a conviction, as you would expect, has fewer rules and complications than expunging a record with a *conviction. This type of expungement applies if your record includes arrest, investigation, or detention for a crime with no conviction. 

*Conviction is defined as a plea of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere (no contest), or verdict or finding of guilt after trial.

The following three things must be true in order to file for expungement of a record without a conviction:

  1. At least 30 days have passed since the arrest
  2. There are no criminal cases pending
  3. One of the following occurred:

How Do I Expunge A Criminal Record With a Conviction?

There are quite a few more criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to expunge your record if you have a conviction. 

  1. A criminal case pending
  2. 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)
  3. The petitioner has been convicted in separate criminal episodes of:
  4. Two or more felonies
  5. Three or more crimes of which two are class A misdemeanors
  6. Four or more crimes of which three are class B misdemeanors
  7. Five or more crimes of any degree other than infractions and certain traffic offenses. 
  1. Felony conviction of Subsection 58-37-8(2)(g) - 10 years
  2. Misdemeanor conviction of Subsection 41-6a-501(2) - 10 years
  3. Felony - 7 years
  4. Class A Misdemeanor - 5 years
  5. Class B Misdemeanor - 4 years
  6. Class C Misdemeanors and Infraction Convictions - 3 years from closing date
  7. Other Misdemeanor or Infraction - 3 years
  8. Arrests without filing of charges - 30 days from arrest
  9. Proceedings commenced and dismissed - 30 days from closing date
  10. Acquittals - 30 days from closing date

If you are not currently eligible for expungement of your record, you still have one more option: you may apply for a pardon by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. If you have been pardoned, you are eligible to expunge records of crimes for which you have been pardoned.

Read Part 2 of this article next week. 

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