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


Plea in Abeyance - Utah Criminal Background Check

Will a plea in abeyance show up on my criminal background check?

It is commonly believed that when a plea has been held in abeyance in a criminal case, and the charges are ultimately dismissed, that the case will not appear on a criminal background check. This is incorrect. An expungement is needed to more thoroughly clear your criminal history and allow you to have a clean criminal background check. We can help you obtain an expungement and clear your criminal record.

Contact us today to see how we can help expunge your criminal record.

What will appear on my pre-employment criminal background check?

What shows up on a criminal background check can depend both on the status of your case as well as what information is being sought. Understanding the processes involved in a plea in abeyance can help you know what will appear on your background check.

Many employers request a criminal background check that only looks for convictions. If a plea has been held in abeyance, it should not appear on a criminal history report as a conviction - even before the case has been dismissed. Although a plea in abeyance does involve the acceptance of a plea (either guilty or no contest) by the court, the court does not take the next step of entering the plea as a conviction. Instead the plea is held "in abeyance" pursuant to the terms of an agreement entered into by the defense and prosecution. So although the case may still be a matter of public record, it should not show up on a criminal background check that is only looking for convictions.

Some employers are interested in learning as much as possible about a prospective employee. Such employers may conduct a criminal background check that looks for arrests, court cases, or active arrest warrants. Where a plea has been held in abeyance, even after the case has been dismissed, it can still show up on this kind of background check.

How do I clear my record after a plea in abeyance is dismissed?

Expungement provides the most direct avenue for clearing your record following a successful plea in abeyance. Once the case has been dismissed, a thirty-day waiting period is required before a defendant can apply for a certificate of eligibility. (This is much shorter than the three-to-ten year period required to be eligible to have most convictions expunged.)

The expungement process begins with an application to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) for a certificate of eligibility for expungement. But this is only the beginning of the process. A formal petition to expunge records must be filed with the court, along with other documents required for the prosecutor. Following through on all aspects of the process is necessary to complete the expungement and obtain a clear criminal history report.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerIf you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, a plea in abeyance may provide a good alternative to resolving the case without a full jury trial. But even after a case has dismissed, an expungement is necessary to complete the process of clearing your official criminal history report. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Stephen Howard has assisted clients and defended their rights from initial police investigations through dismissals and expungements of their records.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation, and see what we can do to help you.


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 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.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis 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 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.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

Successfully defending against criminal prosecution requires more than just an 'aggressive' defense. The best defense attorneys understand that a sophisticated defense requires a thorough understanding of a variety of nuanced legal issues, real experience in the courtroom, good negotiation skills, and much more. Fighting hard is good. Fighting smart is better....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

With decades of combined experience, our criminal defense team attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you achieve the results you need. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. Choosing the best attorney to defend your case may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

In Utah, even a "minor" misdemeanor conviction carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. A felony conviction carries the potential of lengthy prison terms and the various consequences that come with being labeled as a convicted felon. Never plead guilty without first finding out....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

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.