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How soon can a dismissed case be expunged in Utah?

The length of time necessary to be eligible for expungement of a dismissed case in Utah will depend on the circumstances under which the case was dismissed. For some dismissed cases, the waiting period for expungement eligibility is only thirty days. For others, it may take several years before the arrest and dismissal can be expunged. In rare cases, it is even possible that a dismissed case will never be eligible for expungement.

For assistance in determining your expungement eligibility or in filing an expungment petition in court, contact us today. We can often tell you over the phone whether you are a good candidate for expungement. As an experienced Utah criminal attorney based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has assisted clients in obtaining criminal record expungements in a wide variety of cases.

Minimum 30-Day Waiting Period and Conditions

For any expungement of a dismissed case in Utah, the petitioner (defendant) must wait a minimum of 30 days. To qualify for a certificate of eligibility, BCI must also determine that there are no current criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner.

Additional Conditions for Expunging a Dismissed or Unfiled Case

In addition to meeting the basic requirements for a certificate of eligibility (30 days and no pending criminal cases), at least one of the following conditions must be met:

Dismissal with Prejudice - A dismissal order can be entered either with or without prejudice. A dismissal with prejudice means that the prosecutor cannot re-file the charges. If the dismissal is without prejudice, then a prosecutor has the option of re-filing charges (so long as the statute of limitations period has not expired). The most common grounds for dismissal with prejudice are the completion of a plea-in-abeyance agreement. In some circumstances, a case may dismissed with prejudice following a successful motion to suppress.

Expiration of Statute of Limitations Period - The statute of limitations for criminal cases sets a deadline by which time a criminal case must be filed. If a court case is not formally filed within this time period, the prosecution of the case will be barred. Utah law provides a two-year statute of limitations for most misdemeanors and a four-year statute of limitations for most felonies. If a case is dismissed without prejudice, it may be re-filed within the statute of limitations period. Exceptions exist for certain homicide crimes, kidnapping crimes, sex-related crimes, fraud crimes, and a variety of other less-common offenses. For these offenses with no statute of limitations, expungement may not be possible without a formal determination made by the prosecuting agency that charges will not be filed.

Screening by Prosecutor and Decision not to Prosecute - There are some criminal charges in Utah that have no statute of limitations. For these crimes, or in cases where expungement is sought prior to the running of the statute of limitations period, a formal decision not to prosecute must be made before expungement of a never-filed criminal case will be permitted. This requires a formal screening by the prosecutor with jurisdiction over the matter and the issuance of a formal final determination that charges will not be filed. If the prosecutor refuses to make this formal final determination, then a person may be required to wait for the statute of limitations period to run out. In some cases, that can take several years. For some charges, there is no statute of limitations - which may mean that the case can never be expunged.

Not-Guilty Verdict at Trial - A person may have a certificate of eligibility issued for a dismissed case thirty days following a verdict of not guilty (or an acquittal) at trial. But the person must be found not guilty of all charges. A certificate of eligibility cannot be issued for only the not-guilty counts if the defendant was found guilty of other counts.

Not Contrary to the Public Interest

If the requirements for the issuance of a certificate of eligibility are met, a successful expungement petition must also demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the expungement is not contrary to the interests of the public. This burden of proof is placed on the petitioner (defendant), and represents a shift in Utah expungement law - which previously employed a presumption that the expungement petition should be granted and placed the burden of proof on the prosecutor to convince the court otherwise.

Finding an Expungement Attorney in Utah

Utah Criminal Attorney Salt LakeStephen Howard is an experienced criminal defense lawyer based in Salt Lake City, serving clients throughout Utah. He has successfully obtained expungements for clients in cases including serious felony charges as well as multiple misdemeanor cases across multiple jurisdictions.

For help with your expungement, contact us for an initial consultation.

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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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