If you have a criminal record, you're not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 4 Utahns have some type of criminal record, preventing them from accessing jobs, housing, education, loans, and other opportunities.
In 2019, Utah passed a new law that requires the government to automatically expunge certain types of misdemeanor criminal records. This means that if you have not been convicted of a crime in the last 5 to 7 years, all or part of your criminal record might be automatically expunged. When your record is expunged, it will no longer show up on background checks and you can answer questions about your criminal record as if the criminal activity never occurred.
Click on the links below to learn more about Utah's Clean Slate Law and to find out if your record qualifies.
On March 28, 2019, Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 431 into law, making Utah the second state in the nation to enact a “Clean Slate” law. Utah’s Clean Slate law requires the government to use technology to identify and automatically expunge minor criminal records for qualifying individuals who have remained crime free for a set period of time.
This law went into effect on May 1, 2020, but implementation has been delayed due to COVID-19. State agencies are back on track, and working through the final steps needed to start the automated clearing of records. We anticipate that automatic record clearing will begin by the end of 2021.
As a result of this law, all clean slate eligible records will be expunged, meaning they will be removed from public view. These records will not show up in the Utah State Court XChange database and will no longer appear on a person’s criminal history. Impacted individuals will be able to legally respond to questions about criminal history as if that activity never occurred.
To receive an email or text notification when automatic record-clearing begins, sign up here.
The first thing that people should know about Utah's Clean Slate law is that it applies only to misdemeanor records. If you have a felony record, you may still be eligible for expungement under Utah law, but will have to get your felony record cleared through the petition-based process. For more information about that process, click here.
Individuals who were acquitted of charges, have cases dismissed with prejudice, or have conviction records that are “clean slate” eligible, will benefit from automatic expungement under the new law. Clean Slate eligible cases include Class A misdemeanor drug possession offenses, most class B and C misdemeanor offenses, minor regulatory offenses, and infractions. The following chart generally outlines eligibility and waiting periods:
*The “waiting period” refers to the amount of time an individual must be conviction free in order to be eligible for Clean Slate. In other words, if an individual had a Class A drug possession conviction on January 1, 2015, he or she may become eligible for relief as early as January 1, 2022, so long as during that time period, the individual has no new criminal convictions in the state of Utah.
Exclusions: certain conviction types are not eligible for automatic expungement under the new law. These offense types include registrable sex offenses, domestic violence related offenses, certain weapons-related offenses, simple assault and DUIs.
For more information on obtaining a copy of your record to see if you might qualify, see here.
To sign up to receive updates about the law, join our mailing list.
Automatic record clearing hasn't started yet, but it will soon! Click here to receive email or text updates when record clearing begins.
After the new year, Clean Slate Utah will have access to computer software that will help individuals determine whether their records were automatically expunged. To receive email or text updates when this new service is available, sign up here.
It is well established by several studies that helping people with criminal records access safe housing, employment, education, and other opportunities reduces crime and makes our communities safer.
Utah’s Clean Slate law was supported by the Law Enforcement Legislative Committee and the Statewide Association of Prosecutors because it is focused on the right offenses and positively impacts public safety.
Due to cost, complexity, and lack of legal assistance, over 90% of individuals eligible to expunge their criminal records under Utah law never make it through the process. As a result, thousands of individuals across our state are shut out of housing and work opportunities due to their criminal records. This comes at a great cost to individuals, families, and taxpayers.
The Salt Lake Chamber was a huge proponent of Utah's Clean Slate law, and more and more employers across the country are speaking out in support of Clean Slate policies. This is because Clean Slate is good for the economy.
Eliminating the barrier of a criminal record makes it more likely that someone will get an interview or a job offer. Our economy needs more workers and getting talented individuals back into our tax base is good for us all.
Interested in being a corporate supporter or want to spread the word about Clean Slate across your company? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss corporate giving or download a copy of our business toolkit here.
If you have a criminal record and are not a United States Citizen, you may want to learn more about how Utah’s Clean Slate law impacts your legal situation. Click here to download our FAQ on this topic.