Expungements

An expungement of a criminal record takes place when a judge seals one’s criminal record. This makes the record no longer public.

Utah Legal Clinic can assist you in having an eligible criminal record expunged. We offer a one half-hour (1/2 hour) free consultation to discuss expungement eligibility. Please contact our office to set up your expungement eligibility consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit of having a criminal case expunged?

Record expungement will often make obtaining a job easier because future employers can no longer search an applicant’s past criminal record and the job applicant does not have to report to future employers that he or she was convicted of a past crime. In essence, an expungement wipes a person’s slate clean, allowing him or her to start over without the looming previous record.

What records can be expunged?

The court will usually allow for any records associated with a criminal file to be expunged. This would include arrest reports, police reports, investigation reports, and other reports leading up to the conviction. All records of the detention or correctional facility and court documents related to the case can also be expunged.

Can I file for an expungement before all terms of my sentence and/or probation have been completed?

No. A judge will not grant an expungement until the case has been fully resolved. All terms of the sentence and probation must have been successfully completed and all fines and all restitution must have been paid.

How long must I wait after resolution of my criminal case to file for an expungement?

A person may apply to have his or her record expunged after a specific period of time has passed after the completion of the sentence. The crucial date is when the sentence is completed, probation is done, all restitution is paid and all fines are paid; this is not the date he or she was arrested, the charges were issued, or the conviction date.

Are all expungements granted?

Not necessarily. However, an expungement is likely to be granted if the person requesting it has fully completed the required sentence and not had any criminal problems since the conviction. Courts are very strict on the completion of these items.

Is there anyway to expedite an expungement if my waiting period has not yet passed?

If a person’s eligibility period is not completed but the sentence has been completed and all fines and restitution have been paid, some courts may allow for the defendant to file and ask for a sentence modification. A sentence modification will allow a judge to determine if the defendant has displayed outstanding performance since sentencing and thus merits a modification to a lesser conviction. For instance, a 3rd Degree Felony conviction could be retroactively reduced to a Class A misdemeanor conviction, a lesser criminal charge, which would allow an expungement at an earlier date, if all terms of the sentence have been completed.

This would need to be done through a criminal attorney. Our office would not be able to assist you in modifying your sentence and/or conviction.

How do I know when I am eligible for an expungement for my criminal case?

The necessary period of time you must wait before being eligible for an expungement varies by crime. The State of Utah has three (3) categories it separates criminal matters into, based on severity: Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions. Felonies and Misdemeanors are further categorized into different classes.

Are there any specific types of criminal cases that can never be expunged?

Yes. A Capital Felony, First Degree Felony, Forcible Second Degree Felony, and/or any sexual offense against a minor conviction(s) can never be expunged.

What are the different classes of Felonies?

The State of Utah has four (4) different classes of Felony offenses:

Capital Felony: The most severe felony is the capital felony offense. An individual will be charged with this offense for the crimes of rape, aggravated murder, arson, or kidnaping. Capital felony offenses can earn sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole, imprisonment sentences of 20 years or more, and the possibility of death sentencing. Capital felonies can not be expunged.
First Degree Felony: A first-degree felony can include the same offenses as a capital felony, but are less severe and are based on the circumstances of the crime. Criminal charges for first degree felonies include kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, and drug crimes including marijuana possession and distribution. First degree felonies can earn up to 50 years of incarceration with or without a maximum fine of $10,000. First degree felonies cannot be expunged.
Second Degree Felony: Second degree felonies include sexual crimes, burglary, theft, driving under the influence, felonious crimes, robbery, white collar crimes, aggravated crimes, and minor enticement with intentions to commit a felony in the first degree. A second degree felony is punishable by 1 – 15 years of incarceration and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Third Degree Felony: The final category of Utah felonies is the third degree felony class. Crimes considered third degree felonies include the practice of medicine without the proper licensing, theft, forgery, and domestic crimes. Felonies in the third degree can earn several months to 5 years of incarceration, with or without a maximum fine of $5,000.

What are the different categories of Misdemeanors?

A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by less than 365 days imprisonment in a county jail. A sentence of more than 365 days will normally be served in a prison rather than a jail and will be classified as a felony, not a misdemeanor. Utah has three (3) categories of misdemeanors:

Class A Misdemeanor: Punishable by no more than one (1) year imprisonment in a county jail and a fine up to $2,500.
Class B Misdemeanor: Punishable by no more than six (6) months imprisonment in a county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Class C Misdemeanor: Punishable by no more than ninety (90) days imprisonment in a county jail and a fine of up to $750.

What is an Infraction?

An infraction is lesser crime than a Misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine of up to $750. A person cannot be imprisoned for committing an infraction.

What are the time periods before a criminal conviction is eligible for expungement in Utah?

TIME IS CALCULATED FROM COMPLETION OF SENTENCE
Capital felony, 1st Degree Felony, or Forcible Felony 2nd Degree: Never
Any sexual offense against a minor: Never
2nd and 3rd Degree Felony: 7 years
Alcohol-related traffic offense (Title 41): 10 years
Class A misdemeanor: 5 years
Class B misdemeanor: 4 years
Class C misdemeanor and infraction: 3 years
Arrests without filing of charges: 30 days
Criminal proceedings commenced & dismissed: 30 days
Acquittals/ Found Not Guilty: 30 days

What other circumstances could prevent me from getting an expungement?

Convictions may not be expunged if, in your criminal history, you have:

  • Two or more prior felony convictions;
  • Three or more prior convictions that include at least two Class A misdemeanors;
  • Four or more prior convictions that include at least three Class B misdemeanors;
  • or Five or more prior convictions of any degree (not including infractions).

These rules apply even if the prior convictions have been expunged.