Utah Court Records
Are Criminal Records Public In Utah?
The Government Records Access and Management (GRAMA) governs the accessibility of documents classified as public records in Utah. Although the Utah Department of Public Safety allows criminal record searches by name on public databases, only a record’s subject is permitted to obtain a certified criminal record. The Bureau of Criminal Identification division of the Utah DPS collates and maintains criminal records for all individuals in the state. The division is tasked with responding to personal requests for inspection or copying of criminal records from Utah citizens.
Note, expunged convictions are not accessible on criminal records as well as juvenile criminal records. In line with the Utah Code § 78A–6–209(2), juvenile criminal records in Utah are only accessible to:
- Parents or guardian of the juvenile
- Other parties involved in the juvenile case
- Attorneys involved in the case
- Agencies to which custody of the juvenile has been transferred
- The Division of Criminal Investigations and Technical Services
- The Division of Child and Family Services
- The Office of Licensing
- The Department of Health under certain conditions
What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Utah?
Utah criminal records are documents providing details on the criminal activities of an individual within the state. It comprises non-expunged convictions, dispositions, and all other information relating to a person’s criminal history. The information contained in criminal records is created by local and state law enforcement agencies in Utah.
Generally, a Utah criminal record includes:
- The subject’s full name and known aliases
- Personal information such as age, sex, race, and nationality
- Physical descriptors such as hair color, eye color, and tattoos
- A full set of fingerprints
- Criminal offenses and consequent charges
- Details of past and recent warrants
- Arrest history
- Convictions and dispositions
- Incarceration information
- Details of bails and bonds
- Probation details
How To Look Up My Criminal Record In Utah?
Individuals that seek to look up their criminal records may find them at the Utah Department of Public Safety. Criminal history information in Utah is centrally maintained and provided by the Utah DPS through its Bureau of Criminal Identification. The Utah DPS guides obtaining criminal records and applications for criminal history checks. Criminal records from local law enforcement agencies, including sheriffs’ offices, are submitted to the BCI’s central repository.
The BCI accepts in-person and mail requests from persons seeking to obtain Utah criminal records. To obtain a criminal record in person, visit:
Bureau of Criminal Identification
3888 West 5400 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84129
Phone: (801) 965–4445
The BCI office is open Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and state holidays. A processing fee of $15 is applicable and payable in cash, personal check, VISA or MasterCard, money order, or cashier’s check. Requestors must bring along a valid form of government-issued picture identification. Utah Driving Privilege Cards are not accepted as a valid means of identification.
To request criminal records by mail, complete the Criminal History Record Application Form. Also, provide a photocopy of the valid government-issued ID. Acceptable forms of ID include state ID card, passport, border-crossing card, permanent resident alien card, federal government personal identity verification card, military card, consulate ID card, or a driver’s license. Include a check or money order for the processing fee of $15 made payable to the “Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification.” To make payment by credit card, indicate so on the form and select one from the acceptable credit card options; VISA, MasterCard, or AMEX. Applicants are advised not to send cash in the mail.
Mail complete application and fee to:
Utah Bureau Of Criminal Identification
3888 West 5400 South
Taylorsville, Utah 84129
Forms may also be electronically mailed to email@example.com. Requestors are advised to ensure the e-mail is encrypted. Note that the BCI will not send reports by fax or e-mail. Fingerprints may not always be required to obtain a criminal record from the BCI. In cases where fingerprints are required, they may be obtained at a local law enforcement agency at a fee. Reports will be sent to the mailing address indicated in the application form. If the criminal record must be sent to a third party, requestors must complete the Third-Party Release Form and submit along with the original application form. The BCI does not maintain juvenile criminal records. Requests to obtain juvenile criminal records must be made directly to the Juvenile Court.
Certain agencies dubbed the Utah Right of Access Agencies are authorized to provide Utah citizens copies of their Utah criminal records. Utah ROA approved agencies only provide individuals with their criminal records and not criminal histories of other individuals. Contact the various Utah ROAs for policies, procedures, fees, and work hours.
How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Utah?
There are no provisions for obtaining Utah criminal records for free. Criminal records may be obtained from the Bureau of Criminal Identification Division of the Utah Department of Public Safety at the cost of $15. Requestors can also obtain specific criminal records from Utah Right of Access Agencies. In cases where fingerprinting is required, fees will apply.
How To Search Criminal Records Online In Utah?
Law enforcement agencies in Utah do not provide online access to certified Utah criminal records. However, requestors may be able to access unofficial criminal records from some online portal available through local law enforcement agencies. For several Utah courts that maintain electronic forms of court records, records of criminal proceedings may be accessed through the public access terminals in the clerk’s offices in those courthouses. Records can be copied or printed from the public access terminals for a fee.
The Department of Corrections in Utah maintains a Sex and Kidnap Offender Notification and Registration (SONAR) database, which is accessible online. Utah Code Ann. § 77–41 mandates the Department to allow public access to the registry for free. The Offender Search tool of the registry allows the public to find records of sex offenders in Utah. To find records, requestors have to provide the offender’s name or city of residence. Records obtained from the local courthouses and SONAR database may not be considered official criminal records and may not suffice in place of certified criminal records.
Criminal records from some of Utah courts are available via the State Courts Xchange portal. The portal provides a database of statewide District Court criminal misdemeanor and felony cases from the past 12–14 years. Criminal records from Justice Court filings may also be accessed on the portal.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Utah?
Under the Utah Expungement Act, eligible persons in the state are granted the right to appeal to have their criminal records expunged from public view. Expungement in Utah does not mean a criminal record has been destroyed; it is a process of having a criminal record sealed from public view. The record still exists but is no longer accessible to the general public in a background check. Note that there is a limit to the number of times an individual may expunge records in Utah. Similarly, not all criminal records are eligible to be expunged.
According to the Utah expungement act, convictions for the following offenses do not qualify for expunction:
- Capital felony
- Automobile homicide
- Felony DUI
- First-degree felony
- Violent felonies as indicated in Utah Code 76–3–203.5(c)
- Any offense that requires an individual to register as a sex offender
- Providing falsified information on an expungement petition or application for expungement eligibility
The first step of petitioning for an expungement in Utah is to ascertain eligibility and adherence to the guidelines. Whether the offense for which persons were charged resulted in convictions or not, expungement remains possible for Utah citizens as long as other criteria are met. For charges that did not result in convictions, expungement may be obtained if one of the following occurred:
- No charges were filed.
- The case was dismissed with prejudice.
- The individual entered a plea and completed the terms of a “plea in abeyance.”
- The defendant was acquitted at trial.
- The applicable statute of limitations has expired
Persons with convictions for offenses eligible to be expunged in Utah may petition for expungement if all fines, fees, and court-ordered restitution have been paid. The statute of limitations also applies to the offense. The waiting period varies depending on the category of crime and is counted from the date on which conviction, release from custody, or completion of parole or probation occurred, whichever happened last. Typical statutes of limitations are:
- Five years for Class A misdemeanor
- Four years for Class B misdemeanor
- Three years for infractions and all other misdemeanors
- Seven years for Felony offenses
- Ten years for felonies involving controlled substances
- Thirty days for cases in which proceedings commenced but was later dismissed
- Thirty days for acquittals
Note that persons seeking expungement must not have a criminal case pending and must not have have been convicted in isolated cases of:
- Two or more felony offenses
- Three or more offenses of which two are Class A misdemeanor
- Four or more offenses of which three are Class B misdemeanors
- Five or more offenses of any degree except the infractions and traffic offenses listed in section 77–40–102 of the Utah Expungement Act.
Utah makes a provision for persons with multiple charges above the required state limit to still qualify for expungement under Section 402 of the state criminal code. The conviction reduction statutes allow citizens to reduce the level of conviction by up to two degrees, thereby qualifying for expungement. For example, a Utah citizen with two Class A misdemeanors is not eligible for expungement unless the individual can reduce the offenses to Class B misdemeanors through the Utah 402 reduction motion.
After determining eligibility for expungement, the next step is for the applicant to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). To obtain a certificate of eligibility, submit completed Application for Certificate of Eligibility accompanied with the $65 application fee to Utah Department of Public Safety at 3888 West 5400 South, Taylorsville. The application fee may be paid in the form of a check, money order, cashier’s check made payable to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, or by credit card. There is an additional $20 service charge for any returned check.
To obtain the certificate, the applicant pays an issuance fee of $56. This fee is only waived if the case was dismissed or the applicant was acquitted. Applicants are advised to file an expungement petition not too long after receiving the certificate of eligibility because the certificate is only valid for 90 days after the issuance date. Subsequently, the applicant is required to draft a petition for expungement. Some counties make the petition forms available online. For example, in Salt Lake County, the Petition to Expunge Records (Dismissal or Acquittal) and the Petition to Expunge Records (Conviction) forms are accessible online.
There is an expungement filing fee of $135, payable at the court where the petition is filed. Note that the expungement petition must be filed at the court where the conviction occurred. Serve copies of the paperwork to the prosecutor’s office. In circumstances where the prosecutor or the victim files an objection, the applicant must respond to the objection. Otherwise, the judge notifies successful applicants after the final review to pick up the Order of Expungement. Make certified copies of the Order for distribution to relevant agencies. The expungement process in Utah may take between six to twelve months to conclude.
Who Can See My Expunged Records In Utah?
Although expungement removes a petitioner’s record of conviction from any state, county, and local government public database, Utah law mandates the BCI to index and maintain all expunged records of convictions. Therefore, after obtaining an expungement, if an individual is charged with a felony, the state may petition the court to open an expunged record.
Note that after government agencies have expunged a criminal record, there is no guarantee that criminal records will be immediately removed from private websites that archive criminal records. However, when applying for a job, persons who have received an expungement may legally answer “no” when asked about previous convictions. An exception to this privilege happens when a person is seeking to obtain a state license. Then, a prior conviction is required to be disclosed. As a general rule, expunged records can only be accessed by law enforcement agencies. They may only be accessible to a public entity if authorized by court order in limited circumstances.