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Does a Utah plea in abeyance show on your record?

A plea in abeyance in a Utah criminal case can give you an opportunity to avoid having a criminal conviction on your record. But even after a plea in abeyance has been dismissed, an expungement must be pursued to clear your record.

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help give you the best chance of successfully defending your case. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

How does a plea in abeyance work?

In most criminal cases, when a guilty plea or no contest plea is received by the court, the plea is entered as a conviction and the court can proceed to impose sentence. In cases involving a plea in abeyance, an agreement is reached with the prosecutor under which the plea is not entered as a conviction. Instead the plea is held in abeyance (given a suspended status), conditioned on successful compliance with the terms imposed by the court.

A plea in abeyance is a negotiated resolution that must be agreed upon by both the prosecutor and the defense. A judge cannot hold a plea in abeyance without the consent and agreement of the prosecutor.

It is important to remember that a plea in abeyance can still show up on your record - not as a conviction, but as a pending case. Most court records are considered public. While a plea in abeyance is not reported to BCI as a conviction. Court records will still show what criminal charges were filed, what plea was entered, and the status of that plea.

Once the abeyance period has passed and the terms of the abeyance agreement have been fulfilled, the case can be dismissed. It is important to follow up with the court to ensure that the dismissal order has been entered and recorded by the court. In some courts, the clerks will automatically process the dismissal. Other courts will require that a formal motion to dismiss be filed with the court along with a proposed order.

Does expunging a plea in abeyance clear your record?

As noted above, court records will show the charges, plea, and status of a plea in abeyance. Even after the case has been dismissed, court records will continue to show the original proceedings along with the dismissed status of the case.

Some people are only concerned with having the criminal charges dismissed. Others want to clear their record so that not even the dismissed case status appears. An expungement can be an important part of this process.

Under Utah's expungement laws, a person is eligible to begin the expungement process 30 days after the dismissal order has been entered by the court. This waiting period is much longer than the period required to expunge convictions, which can be as long as ten years.

An expungement order, after it has been properly entered and delivered to government agencies possessing records of the criminal arrest or court case, generally requires those agencies to respond to records requests as though the records in question did not exist. The expungement order further allows a person whose record has been expunged to "respond to any inquiry as though the arrest or conviction did not occur."

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerDuring his career, Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully protected his clients' rights in thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases. Whether you have been recently charged with a new offense or are seeking to clear your record with an expungement or 402 reduction, Mr. Howard has the skill, knowledge, and determination to help you achieve the results you need.

Contact us now to arrange for an initial legal consultation.

Related Criminal Defense Topics
How can I get a plea in abeyance?
What is a 402 reduction in Utah?
How do I get a 402 reduction?


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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
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, 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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