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Do I need a lawyer for an expungement in Utah?

It is technically true that you do not need a lawyer to handle an expungement in the Utah court system. But representing yourself in a petititon for expungement may not be the best choice. The expungement process requires strict compliance with rules and processes. Some people are successful in handling their own expungements. But many people run into problems that could have been avoided with the assistance of an experienced criminal attorney.

As a Utah criminal lawyer based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard offers expungement services to clients throughout the state. He has assisted clients in obtaining expungements in a variety of circumstances, ranging from serious felony charges to repeat offenders. Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.

Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement

The expungement process begins with a formal request for the issuance of a certificate of eligibility. This is perhaps the most straightforward step. It involves a fill-in-the-blank form, fingerprints, and payment of a small fee to the Utah BCI. Some people mistakenly believe that obtaining the certificate of eligibility completes the expungement process. It is, in fact, just the beginning.

Restoring Eligibility for Expungement

A request for a certificate of eligibility is sometimes denied for relatively simple reasons. Perhaps a fine or restitution is still owing. Maybe you miscalculated the required waiting period for eligilibty. These problems can be remedied rather easily, by either paying off the outstanding balance on the case or waiting a little longer.

But in other circumstances, the expungement certificate of eligibility is denied because you have too many convictions, or the severity of the crimes is too high. In such cases, expungement eligibility can often be restored through a process often referred to as a "402 reduction" in the level of the offense. The 402 reduction process can also be used in some cases to speed up the eligibility time frame.

Petititon for Expungement

Once a certificate of eligibility has been issued, a formal petition for expungement must be filed in the court where the charge was originally filed. (If no case was ever filed, a petition to expunge records of the investigation or arrest should be filed in the district court for the county where the incident occurred.)

Under prior Utah law, getting a petition granted was relatively easy. The previous expungement law provided that if a certificate of eligibility had been issued, your expungement petition should be granted unless the prosecutor could prove that the expungment was contrary to the public interest.

Changes in Utah law have shifted the burden of proof for an expungement on to the petitioner. The newer revisions to Utah's expugement statute now place the burden of proof on the petitioner to demonstrate that the expungement is not contrary to the public interest. The petitioner is required to meet this standard by "clear and convincing evidence."

Following Through on the Expungement

Simply filing the petition for expungement is not the end of the process. Prosecutors or victims may object to the expungement. You have the right to request a formal hearing, where you have the right to present evidence and argument to the court in support of your expungement petition.whemust be prepared to present your case to the court at a hearin

Even after the court has ruled in your favor, the expungement process is not complete. You must present a proposed expungement order to the court. After this order is signed, the court records will be expunged. But in order to have the matter cleared from your criminal history report and from other government agencies, certified copies of the order must be delivered to each of the necessary agencies.

Failure to comply with all statutory requirements or to correctly follow each of the necessary steps of the expungement process can result in failure. In some cases, people representing themselves have mistakenly believed that they correctly followed the required expungement procedures, only to find out later that their charges were still showing in official government records.

Finding an Expungement Attorney in Utah

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerIf you believe you may be eligible for an expungement in Utah, contact our Salt Lake City offices to arrange for an initial consultation. We can often tell you over the phone whether or not you are eligible to start the expungement process. We can also help you determine whether avenues are available for restoring your expungement eligibility.

With offices based in Salt Lake City, we have handled expungements for clients throughout Utah. We have also handled Utah expungement for clients who are now living outside of Utah - often completing the process without requiring the client to return to Utah for any hearings.

Whether you handle your expungement yourself or hire a criminal attorney, getting an expungement is well worth the effort. Having your criminal records sealed, being able to report to potential employers that you have no criminal convictions, and the restoration of rights that may have been lost due to prior criminal convictions - these are some of the benefits of having your Utah criminal record expunged.

Contact us today to start the expungement process.

RELATED QUESTIONS:
What are the eligibility requirements for an expungement in Utah?
Who has the burden of proof in a Utah expungement petition?
Is there a way to speed up the expungement process in Utah?


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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

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

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

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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