The Utah Expungement Act governs how to expunge records of an arrest or conviction in Utah, regardless of when a person was arrested or convicted.
Expunging a criminal record does not change history; expunging a record means that the court orders the records of the arrest, investigation, detention and conviction in the criminal case sealed. Sealing a record means that the public cannot view or copy the record. Conviction includes a verdict or finding of guilty after trial, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere (no contest).
If an agency does not receive the expungement order, they are not required to seal their records. A government agency that has received an expungement order will respond to an inquiry as though that arrest or conviction did not occur. A person who has had records expunged may respond to an inquiry as though that arrest or conviction did not occur. The order to seal records applies only to government agencies. Other records, such as news accounts of an arrest or conviction, are not affected.
After a record is expunged, an agency’s sealed records can still be viewed and copied by some government officials, and the court can order the records unsealed under some conditions.
Although the records being expunged are criminal records, the petition to expunge is a civil case. In proceedings to expunge a record, the defendant in the criminal case is the petitioner in the expungement case.
402 reductions: 76-3-402: A 402 reduction can reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor conviction. A 402 reduction may also help to improve eligibility for an expungement. There are several conditions that must be met before a 402 motion can be filed.
The court may enter a judgment of conviction for the next lower degree of offense:
- after the defendant has been successfully discharged from probation;
- upon motion and notice to the prosecuting attorney;
- after reasonable effort has been made by the prosecuting attorney to provide notice to any victims;
- after a hearing if requested by either party under Subsection (2)(c); and
- if the court finds entering a judgment of conviction for the next lower degree of offense is in the interest of justice.
There are circumstances in which a 402 motion cannot be filed.