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Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake

An expungement order can give a person with a criminal history a clean slate. If you are considering begining the expungement petition process in Utah, consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is highly recommended. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation with Salt Lake criminal lawyer Stephen Howard.

What is the intended purpose of the Utah Expungement Act?

Utah's Expungement Act does not contain an explicit statement of the legislature's intended purpose or goal in allowing a person to have his or her criminal record expunged. However, the language of the act provides strong support for the idea that an expungement is intended to allow a person to be freed from the legal restrictions and social stigma that can accompany a criminal conviction or arrest.

Utah courts follow the principle that “[t]he best evidence of the Legislature’s intention is the statute’s plain language.”  State v. LeBeau, 2014 UT 39, 20 (citation omitted). Thus, the language of the Expungement Act itself provides the best evidence of its own purpose.

The Utah Expugnement Act provides that a person whose criminal records have been expunged may “respond to any inquiry as though the arrest or conviction did not occur.” Utah Code 77-40-108(2). This suggests a legislative intent to allow the expungement petitioner to move forward in life “as though the arrest or conviction did not occur.”

For most purposes, a person who has had his or her criminal record expunged is freed from the legal restrictions that accompany a criminal conviction. For example, a person convicted of a felony or of a domestic violence-related misdemeanor charge can be prohibited from owning, possessing, or using a firearm. Obtaining an expungement of that conviction may remove that restriction. A person convicted of a felony may be excluded from potential employment, or may find housing rental applications rejected simply because of the felony conviction. An expungement will allow that person to respond to pre-employment questions or rental applications as though there had never been a felony conviction. There are, however, certain exceptions to this general rule, where a person's criminal history may still be accessed.

In enacting an expungement statute that allows a petitioner to move on “as though the arrest or conviction did not occur,” it appears that the legislature considered how the public interest may be affected by allowing such an expungement. Before an expungement may be granted, the person petitioning for expungement bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the requested expungement is “not contrary to the interests of the public. . . .” Utah Code 77-40-107(8)(d). While the expungement allows a person to be freed from the consequences of a criminal record, the court must first be convinced that in doing so, public safety will not be compromised.

Finding a Criminal Lawyer for Expungements in Utah

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerClearing your record through the expungement process can provide significant benefits. The expungement process can be complex. Having an experienced criminal attorney on your side can help ensure the process goes smoothly.

Contact us today for an initial confidential consultation. We can often tell you over the phone whether you are eligible for an expungement. And if you are not immediately eligibile, we can talk about ways to restore expungement eligibility or alternate methods of clearing your criminal record.

RELATED UTAH EXPUNGEMENT QUESTIONS
Are there exceptions that allow the use of expunged criminal records in Utah?
Is an order under the Utah Expungement Act considered a "complete" expungement?
Which party has the burden of proof in a Utah expungement petition?


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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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