Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

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.

Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.