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Posted by Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard - All personal client information has been omitted to maintain confidentiality.

One of the best things I get to do as an attorney is helping people find the simple solutions to their problems. Sometimes the necessary solution is complex, time-consuming, and costly. But in many situations, consultation with an experienced attorney can reveal an easier way to solve the problem.

I recently received a call from a concerned father who was very confused about why BCI had denied his adult daughter's application for a certificate of eligibility for expungement. He believed that she had met all of the requirements necessary for the issuance of a certificate of eligibility. But BCI had denied her application. He was seeking advice on how to appeal BCI's decision denying the application for a certificate of eligibility.

As we discussed the history of the case and reviewed the docket, it became apparent that there was a much simpler solution to the problem.

Basis for BCI Denial of a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement

The rules governing BCI's decision to issue or deny a certificate of eligibility for expungement are relatively straightforward. BCI does not have authority to grant exceptions to the rules. If a person meets the basic eligibility requirements, then BCI is required to issue a certificate of eligibility. If the person does not meet those requirements, then BCI cannot issue a certificate. In making this determination, BCI is not permitted to consider extenuating circumstances or the unique situation of the applicant. Instead, the decision to issue the certificate is based on the number of convictions, the level of any convictions, and the length of time since the case was closed or any periods of probation or incarceration have been completed.

The father in question had contacted me to begin the appeal process to attempt reverse a determination of ineligibility by BCI that he believed to be incorrect. In reviewing the court records, the problem quickly became apparent. Although the conviction had originally been entered as a felony, the level of the charge had been subsequently reduced to a misdemeanor based on a 402 reduction motion. It the court docket had never been updated by the court clerk to reflect the new misdemeanor level conviction. Instead, it was still being reported in the State's computer databases as a felony conviction.

The solution to the problem? A formal appeal was not necessary. All that was required was a quick phone call to the court clerk, who reviewed the records and updated the computer docket. Problem solved.

In situations where BCI has incorrectly interpreted the statutes governing expungement eligibility or otherwise made a legal mistake, a formal appeal or district court review of BCI's decision may be required. But in some circumstances, a much simple solution may be available.

Finding a Utah Criminal Attorney

Salt Lake Criminal Defense LawyerWhether you are facing new felony or misdemeanor criminal charges, or are looking to clear your record with a 402 reduction, expungement, or pardon, the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer is vital. Contact us not to arrange for an initial confidential consultation with Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard.


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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

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In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

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