Syrita Bowen News, Press, Utah

House Bill 431 Provides Automatic Expungement For Individuals with Misdemeanor Convictions After Remaining Crime Free for a Certain Number of Years

Legislation Heads to Governor Gary R. Herbert for Signature

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Today, Utah legislators passed “The Expungement Act” of 2019 with a unanimous vote of 69-0 in the House, and a unanimous vote of 27-0 in the Senate. Championed by chief sponsor Representative Eric K. Hutchings (R-38) and Senator Daniel W. Thatcher (R-12), House Bill 431 creates a mechanism for automatic expungement of certain criminal records, making Utah the second state in the country to offer this opportunity for low-level records, next to Pennsylvania. This bill, if signed into law, will provide individuals with low-level criminal records a meaningful second chance by expanding opportunities to gain employment, find housing, and live productive lives. 

Key provisions of the legislation include:

  • Automatic expungement or deletion of charges for which an individual is acquitted or charges are dismissed with prejudice;
  • Automatic expungement for individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses after a certain period of time;
  • A requirement that the courts identify cases that may be eligible for automatic expungement and facilitate the process. 

“Today, Utah became just the second state in the country to pass automatic expungement legislation, and in the process, cemented its reputation as a national criminal justice reform leader, while reducing barriers for the formerly incarcerated to successfully reenter society,” said Holly Harris, Executive Director of the Justice Action Network. “This legislation will go a long way towards getting people back to work and away from crime, while saving taxpayer dollars and enhancing public safety. I’d like to thank Representative Hutchings, Senator Thatcher and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for their hard work in delivering second chances for the people of Utah, and look forward to seeing Governor Herbert sign this bill into law.” 

The bill now goes to Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert for signature.