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Deleting a public record means destroying the information about the individual named on such a record such that it is no longer accessible to the public. Most public records in Utah are publicly available for inspection and copying. Individuals may attempt to conceal their public records for various personal reasons. Some of the benefits of deleting a public record in Utah include:
- Preventing colleges from accessing and acting on negative information about a young person who has a juvenile record
- Enabling convicted individuals to avoid employment barriers
- Eliminating negative information that a landlord would otherwise have accessed through a background check on a prospective tenant
It is important to note, however, that deleting a public record in Utah is technically not possible. This is because a court's directive to restrict records from public disclosure only applies to government agencies.
What is a Public Record in Utah?
According to the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, public records are records created by public agencies in the state. These records are publicly available irrespective of their physical form. They exist in electronic, written, typed, video, photo, and audio formats.
Public records in Utah include:
- Criminal records
- Vital records (birth, death, marriage, and divorce)
- Arrest records
- Court records
- Financial records
Third-party information brokers in Utah use the information in public records to compile profiles on unsuspecting persons for commercial purposes. Government agencies also use public records for various purposes. These include:
- Child support payments
- Paying retired employees pension benefits
- Helping credit bureaus to keep accurate information
- Records containing information about an individual's eligibility for welfare benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, social services, and other determination of benefits eligibility within the state
- An individual's medical history, condition, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, or other medical data
- Records which if released to the subject may be detrimental to their mental health
- Records, which if disclosed, may constitute a violation of medical ethics, and standard professional practice
- Records of libraries which, if examined, can identify a patron
- Trade secrets, as stated in Section 13-24-2
It is possible, however, for an individual to restrict public access to their public records. To do so, they may apply for record expungement or sealing.
Does Utah allow Expungement?
Yes. Title 77, Chapter 40 of the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure permits an individual to expunge their public record. Such records include criminal investigations, arrests, detentions, or convictions.
How do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Utah?
For Utah criminal record expungement, the petitioner must complete the Application for Certificate of Eligibility and submit it to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). The BCI accepts both mail-in and in-person requests. The petitionerâ€™s proof of payment must be enclosed for a mail-in request, while cash is allowed for in-person applications. Individuals who are unable to pay the filing fee may apply for a waiver.
The BCI will issue the certificate of eligibility to a petitioner who satisfies the requirements. If a court has previously convicted the petitioner of a crime, the bureau may require another fee to issue the certificate. Typically, it takes several months for the BCI to process a certificate of eligibility. Once obtained, the petitioner must attach the certificate with a request for criminal record expungement within a period of 90 days at the District Court. It must be filed at the District Court where the criminal case proceedings occurred. However, if the certificate of eligibility expires before filing for expungement, the petitioner may apply to obtain a new certificate. A person who wants the certificate delivered to a third party must complete the BCI Third Party Release Form. The petitioner should then mail the following documents to the prosecutor:
- A copy of the petition to expunge the record
- A copy of the certificate of eligibility
- Original copies of the Acceptance of Service and Consent and Waiver of Hearing forms
When sending these documents by mail, the petitioner should include their mailing address. The prosecutor will mail the approved Consent and Waiver of Hearing and the Acceptance of Service forms to the petitioner via the provided mailing address. If the prosecutor signs the documents, the petitioner may file them with the court along with any other required documents. However, if the prosecutor files an objection to the request, the court may schedule a hearing. It is also possible for the prosecutor to sign only an Acceptance of Service form. In such a case, the court will wait up to 60 days from the filing date, during which the petitioner and the prosecutor may file their statements. Â
When the court schedules a hearing, the petitioner must present to the court convincing evidence that:
- The certificate of eligibility and the petition are sufficient
- The statutory and other requirements have been satisfied
- It is not against the public interest to expunge the records
If the court grants the request, it will issue an order to expunge the petitionerâ€™s criminal record held by any public agency within the state. The petitioner may then deliver the expungement order to any public agency maintaining such a record. The order to expunge a Utah criminal record does not bind on any agency not served with the expungement order. However, note that Utah criminal expungement does not:
- Nullify the enforcement of an order previously issued by an administrative body
- Affect any prior administrative proceedings
- Clear any previous driving record
- Remove any evidence that the administrative body may use against the petitioner
Will My Expungement Record Show Up on a Background Check in Utah?
Expunged records in Utah do not show up on background checks. When records are expunged, they are removed from public view, and access to them becomes restricted. According to the Utah Expungement Act, a public agency with an expungement order must respond to a background check as though the event that birthed the record never occurred. Employers are prohibited from conducting non-FCRA compliant background checks for recruitment purposes. An individual who has had a record expunged may also deny ever having such a record.
How to Seal a Record in Utah
When a record is sealed, it is not completely erased or deleted, but it is hidden from the public view. In Utah, an agency receiving the order to seal a record in its custody must do so provided the person named on such a record has met the required conditions.
To qualify for Utah arrest record sealing, at least 30 days must have passed since the arrest occurred. Also, the individual must not have pending criminal cases. The person named on the record should submit a certified copy of a sealing order which must be obtained from the court to the following agencies:
- The arresting agency
- The prosecutor's office
- The booking agency
- The Bureau of Criminal Investigation
- The Department of Corrections
- The Driver License Division
Upon receipt of the sealing order, these agencies will immediately restrict public access to such records, and the issuing court will also seal all related court documents. However, the following public agencies in Utah access sealed records for varying official purposes:
Who Can See My Sealed Record in Utah?
In Utah, section 109 of the Utah Expungement Act grants some agencies access to sealed records upon request. They include:
- The Board of Pardons and Parole
- The Department of Commerce
- The State Board of Education
- The Department of Insurance
- The Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice
- Peace Officer Standards and Training
- Other federal authorities, as required by law
An individual or agency authorized to view sealed records must not release the information contained in such records to unauthorized parties.
How to Delete Bankruptcy Records in Utah
It is impossible to delete a legitimate bankruptcy record from an individual's credit report in Utah. However, a person can seek to delete an erroneous bankruptcy record in their credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) makes provision for individuals to challenge the following items on their credit reports:
- Inaccurate reports
- Items that have remained on a credit report beyond the maximum time allowed by law
- Unverifiable items by the creditor
In Utah, an individual can request the deletion of a bankruptcy record if:
- Previously settled debts still show up in the balance
- A chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the credit history for more than seven years from the filing date
- A chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on the credit history for more than ten years from the filing date
- The record contains errors such as wrong names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates
If a bankruptcy record is a result of mistaken identity or identity theft, the credit bureau may delete such a record. The first step to deleting an erroneous bankruptcy record in Utah is to file a report with the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee's office located at:
United States Bankruptcy Court
350 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: (801) 524-6687
Such a case is typically referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), after which the court reopens it. The petitioner will then have to defend their claim in court with proof of fraud regarding the bankruptcy record.
What are Consumer Protection Laws in Utah
Consumer protection laws protect consumers from deceptive and unfair business practices. Â The Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) enforces consumer protection laws in Utah. It educates consumers and encourages fair business practices among service providers. Some of the state consumer laws enforced by the DCP include:
- Consumer Sales Practices Act
- Business Opportunity Disclosure Act
- Charitable Solicitations Act
- Credit Service Organizations Act
- Child Protection Registry
- Health Spa Services Protection Act
- Music Licensing Act
- Immigration Consultants Registration Act
- New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act
- Price Controls During Emergencies Act
- Pawnshop & Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act
To ensure consumer protection, Utah enacted the Protection of Personal Information Act (PPIA). Per this Act, businesses in Utah must maintain and implement reasonable procedures to prevent the disclosure and unlawful use of personal information that they collect. According to the Act, personal information refers to:
- An individual's name
- Social security number
- Financial information
- Credit or Debit Card number
- Driver's license number
- Any access code, security code, or password that would grant access to the person's account
Any violation of the provisions of the PPIA may require a business to pay fines up to $2,500 for each violation and up to $100,000 for multiple violations.
How to Delete Lien Records in Utah
In Utah, an individual may delete a lien record by fulfilling the requirements of the lien and filing a lien release form with the court. Creditors place a lien on real properties to secure a debt. However, filing a lien release form with the court can delete the lien and any claim the creditor has on the property.
For a lien to be valid, it must be authorized by:
- A federal or state statute
- The debtor or owner of the property via a signed document
- A court order
To delete a valid lien record in Utah, the debtor must first pay off the debt, after which they may obtain a copy of the lien release form from the court clerk. The release form should include:
- The debtor's name
- The creditorâ€™s name
- The amount of debt paid and proof of payment
- The address and description of the property
The lienholder must sign the release form in the presence of a notary public, after which the debtor may file it.
Other ways to delete a lien record in Utah include:
- Applying the statute of limitation: The law limits the time duration of a lien. For instance, a judgment lien in Utah is only valid for eight years.
- Private negotiations: it is possible to work out a lien settlement in an informal negotiation and apply it to law.
- Court order: In the case of a wrongful lien, it is possible to delete the record by a court order.
Lien records are open for public inspection, and interested parties may search for them at the County Recorder's Offices in Utah. The County Recorderâ€™s Offices maintains documents that relate to properties and cross-reference index on the records.
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