What Is an Expungement and What Are the Benefits?
“Expungement” is the legal term for having a criminal record sealed from public view. Utah law allows many people with criminal records a chance for a “clean slate” through the Utah Expungement Act.
Benefits of an Expungement:
Removes the incident from your official public criminal record.
Allows you to tell potential employers and landlords that you have not been convicted of a crime, expanding your housing and career opportunities.*
Forces employees at the court or law enforcement agency to pretend your record doesn’t exist when the public makes an inquiry.
May restore certain rights which are restricted by a criminal record.
*It’s worth noting, though, that certain government agencies do still have access to expunged records, like the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
Am I Eligible?
This one is pretty complicated, so I’ve created a separate page for it: Expungement Eligibility
How Does It Work?
There are multiple steps to expunging a criminal conviction in Utah. None of these steps is especially hard, but they can be somewhat complicated.
Doing the Expungement Yourself
- Determine if you are eligible.
- Review the guidelines in the Utah Expungement Act
- Apply for a certificate of eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
- Get Fingerprinted by a Local Law Enforcement Agent
- Pay the Application fee of $65
- Receive your certificate.
- Pay the Certificate issuance fee of $56 (unless the case was dismissed or you were acquitted).
- Draft the Petition for Expungement.
- File the petition in the appropriate court.
- Pay the Filing Fee of $150
- Serve the appropriate prosecutor’s office with the required paperwork.
- If the prosecutor or victim files an objection, respond to that objection.
- If the court schedules a Hearing, attend the hearing to argue your case.
- Request the court issue on Order of Expungement
- Get Certified Copies of the Order of Expugement.
- Pay the Certified Copy Fees (varies)
- Send copies of the Order of Expungement to the required agencies.
Hiring SMOLAND LAW to Do Your Expungement
- Contact us and we can help you determine if you are eligible.
- You file the Application for Eligibility and a Third Party Release (which we’ll send you)
- Get fingerprinted by a local law enforcement agency
- Pay the $65 application fee to BCI
- We handle it from there.*
*If a hearing is required, I can request that your attendance be excused (unless you really want to go).
What Does It Cost and How Much do You Charge?
It depends on what you are trying to expunge and what court it’s in, but the total cost is usually around $775 ($500 for our fee and about $275 in expenses). In some cases, I will include a hearing fee in the retainer agreement, which only kicks in if there is an objection to your expungement either from the prosecutor or the victim. The fee covers writing a response to the objection and appearing in Court to argue for your expungement in person. I only ask for a hearing fee contingency in certain cases and I only charge the hearing fee if a hearing actually takes place. (Hearings are held in less than 10% of the expungements we handle. Most cases get expunged without a hearing at all.) Please click on your situation below for a complete breakdown of the costs associated with expungement:
Can You Help Me Even If I’m Not In Utah Anymore?
Sure. We can help you apply for your Utah Expungement no-matter where you are. We have an online case-management system which allows you to see and download the documents in your case and pay your bill using a secure server.
How does Expungement affect the pictures on those private Mug-Shot websites?
The court can only order that government agencies seal your record, so getting an expungement does not guarantee that your picture will be removed from a private “Mug-Shot” website, but it will probably help. Most of the sites which I’ve examined will remove your picture if you show that you’ve had the record expunged.
I’ve posted what I know about private Mug-Shot websites here. Take a look if this is of interest to you.
What If I Already Have My Certificate of Eligibility?
Great, the process will just go that much quicker. Also, since you’re already paid for the application, fingerprints, and certificate, the only required fee you have left is the filing fee and the certified copies.
If you’re interested in filing for your expungement with my help, contact us. We can help you determine whether or not you’re eligible and I’ll give you an exact quote for my fee.Content by Dain Smoland (Google+)