Home > Uncategorized > The Actual Clean Slate: Expunging a Criminal Record (UTAH specific)

The Actual Clean Slate: Expunging a Criminal Record (UTAH specific)


(Note:  This is a UTAH specific article, but there are processes in other states for expunging your criminal record as well.  Go to your state’s courts website for more information, or contact an attorney.)

While I’m not in private practice anymore, I still do some private representation on the side.  Little things, ya know?  Like pro bono misdemeanor defense in justice courts.  For people’s Wayward Children who aren’t technically children as far as the legal age of majority is concerned.  The occasional possession of drug paraphernalia, drug possession, speeding way too fast in a construction zone in the middle of the night…you know, things that are done by young adults before their frontal lobes fully develop, and before they have the capacity to use a little better judgment (and remember not to talk to cops!)

These kinds of things can really mess up your life if they’re not handled properly, which is why I do pro bono representation.  But I also know that these sorts of crimes don’t have to stick with you for the rest of your life, especially once you’ve grown up, are using better judgment, and don’t keep getting in trouble.  You can wipe this sort of thing away, by getting an expungement.  This is a legal way of getting your past criminal/arrest history sealed, so that it can’t come up against you when you’re looking for a job, trying to get financial aid at a college or tech school, etc.

The process is described at Title 77, Chapter 40 of the Utah Code, called the Utah Expungement Act.  The statute says who can get one, and what the process is, but it’s a little hard to follow.  The Utah courts website, however, has instructions on how to get it done, what you need to do, and links to the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) websites with more info and forms, AND it’s written in plain English (but use this link above to the BCI website, because it goes directly to the expungements info page with links and instructions).

You CANNOT expunge everything, and the BCI page and Utah courts website spell out what all you can’t.  You CAN, however, expunge some sex offenses, just not ones that are “registerable” offenses (a list is found at U.C.A. 77-4-106).  Check the statute you were convicted under; if it wasn’t one in the list, or if you don’t have to register as a sex offender, you may be able to get that expunged as well.  Definitely worth a look.

A lot of us have done dumb things at different times in our lives.  That Dumb Thing need not define YOUR life.  Look into it; BCI was even nice enough to put together a pamphlet with basics on getting an expungement.

And by the way, you don’t need a lawyer to do this, but I’m always happy to answer questions of you have them.

Yesterday is History

Do it Today.

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