Types of Offenses Not Eligible for Expungement in Utah (which can only be removed from your record with a pardon):
What is a Pardon in Utah?
For people who are not eligible for a Utah expungement, either because of the number of offenses on their record or because of the type of offense, the last option to try and have their record cleaned up is to apply for a pardon through the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
We’ve helped many people through the pardon process at Smoland Law. We gather the necessary records, complete the pardon application, help you draft the letter, and represent you at the pardon hearing before the Board. And then, as long as we’re successful, we’ll also submit the completed pardon to the Utah BCI with the required application, to complete the process of cleaning your official public record.
Types of offenses not eligible for expungement in Utah (which can only be removed from your record with a pardon):
- Any capital felony
- Any first degree felony
- A “violent felony” as defined by Utah code, which includes:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Arson
- Aggravated Child Abuse
- DV in the presence of a child
- Homicide (Manslaughter, Murder, etc.)
- Forcible Sexual Abuse
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Burglary
- Aggravated Robbery
- Tampering with a Witness
- Felony-level DUI
- Any sex offense that required registration, even if you’re no longer required to register currently
- Any child abuse offense that required registration, even if you’re no longer required to register currently
Who is eligible for a Pardon in Utah?
Technically, anyone can apply for a pardon. However, the Board has made clear that they want to see “a significant period of time of exemplary citizenship and demonstrable evidence of rehabilitation,” and that generally requires “at least five (5) years have passed since the termination or expiration of all criminal offenses, sentences, and supervision on probation or parole.” They also want you to have paid off all your fines and restitution.
Beyond those basic guidelines–5 years since any cases were open, and no money owing to victims or the State–it’s pretty subjective. Just because you meet those guidelines does not mean your pardon will be granted. Please see the section below for our thoughts on what makes a “good candidate.”
What makes a good candidate for a Pardon in Utah?
As described above, the Board requires you to show “exemplary citizenship” over a period of at least five years, as well as “demonstrable evidence of rehabilitation.”
What is “exemplary citizenship” and “demonstrable evidence of rehabilitation”? Of course, it will look different for different people. It does not mean that you have to have become Mother Teresa, or the Buddha. But it does mean that the Board wants to see your story: they want to understand why you committed a crime, what has happened since then, and what your life is like now. This is one of the things we help our clients with: framing their story, gathering the right kinds of “evidence” and presenting it all to the Board in the best light and honestly.
Since we have helped many people successfully have their criminal cases pardoned over the last several years, I think we have a pretty good idea of what a good candidate looks like. Of course, no attorney can guarantee you a certain result up front, and we can’t either, but if you get in touch we’d be glad to discuss the specifics of your situation and talk about whether it’s a good time for you to try and get your pardon. We are not interested in wasting your money or our time if you don’t have a decent shot, so you’ll get an honest opinion.
How much does a Utah Pardon cost?
It doesn’t cost anything to apply for a pardon in Utah. However, you do need to provide an updated copy of your current criminal history (which costs about $15) and, if you’re successful, you must apply to the BCI to have them process your pardon and remove all the pardoned cases from your criminal record (which costs about $65). So the cost is low, if you do everything yourself.
To have my firm help you through the whole process: including gathering all the records from the police agencies, filling out your pardon application, drafting (or helping you draft) the accompanying letter, gathering evidence of rehabilitation, and representing you in person at a pardon hearing before the Board; we typically charge between $3,000 and $3,500. It just depends on the complexity and the number of cases that you want to apply to pardon. If you’re interested, please reach out and we’ll discuss it with you–without any upfront cost or obligation to hire us.