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Utah Criminal Defense - Expungements and Dismissals

Even if a criminal case has been dismissed, it may still show on your criminal history report. Petitioning the court for expungement can help give you a clean criminal record.

Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has assisted clients in expunging a variety of felony and misdemeanor cases. He can also assist you in restoring expungement eligibility, filing for a 402 reduction, or preparing an application for pardon. Contact us now for an initial consultation.

Do I need to expunge a criminal charge if the case was dismissed?

Posted by Stephen W. Howard

Over the years, I have heard people make statements that indicate a mistaken belief that once a case is dismissed, their criminal record is clear. I even heard a justice court judge recently make a similar statement from the bench, incorrectly informing a defendant (not my client) that the plea in abeyance would essentially disappear from his record if he complied with the conditions imposed by the court. This is not accurate.

Whether the case was dismissed following a not guilty verdict at trial, a successful motion to suppress evidence, completion of the terms of a plea in abeyance, or any other reason, a petition for formal expungement is still necessary to have the case records sealed and your criminal history cleared. There may be circumstances where a dismissed case will not show up on a criminal history report. But there are plenty of circumstances where the existence of the dismissed case can still show up and cause problems.

I recently worked with an individual who had no prior "convictions" on his record - but he did have two prior charges where he had entered into an agreement where pleas were held in abeyance and the two cases were ultimately dismissed. Unfortunately, a couple of years later, he was arrested and found himself facing new criminal charges.

If he had taken the time previously to get his dismissed cases expunged, odds are very good that the prosecutor never would have known that he had a prior criminal history. From what the prosecutor would have likely seen, this person would have looked like a first-time offender.

The prior charges were not of a nature that the prosecutor could have used the charges against the person in trial. But they certainly factored into the prosecutor's decision-making process as we went through the negotiation process to see if the case could be resolved.

In short, if you are eligible to get a criminal case expunged, DO IT - even if it is "just" a dismissed case. Give yourself a clean record and a fresh start.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerUtah criminal attorney Stephen Howard can help you understand your options for clearing your record - including expungements, 402 reductions, and pardons. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

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  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • Utah Expungement Lawyer Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
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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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