Expunging Juvenile Records
Expunging a juvenile record does not change history; expunging a record means that the court orders the records of the juvenile court and related records of state, county and local government agencies to be sealed. Sealing a record means that the public cannot view or copy the record. The order to seal records applies only to government agencies. Other records, such as news accounts of an arrest or conviction, are not affected.
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 incident did not occur. A person who has had records expunged may respond to an inquiry as though that incident did not occur. The juvenile in the original case is the petitioner in the expungement case.
Criteria for Expungement of Juvenile Records
A person may petition the court for the expungement of their juvenile record, including any related records in the custody of a state or local government agency, if the person is at least 18 and one year has passed from the date of:
- termination of juvenile court jurisdiction; or
- the person's unconditional release from the custody of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services.
The court may waive the above requirements if the court finds that waiver is appropriate.
The court cannot expunge the petitioner's juvenile record if:
- the record contains an adjudication for murder or aggravated murder; or
- the petitioner has been convicted as an adult of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; or
- an adult felony or misdemeanor case against the petitioner is pending or is being started; or
- restitution has not been paid.
A petitioner who has been convicted as an adult may have their juvenile records expunged after expunging their adult criminal records.
If a person's juvenile court record consists only of non-judicial adjustments, the court may expunge the records without a hearing, but the person must follow the other procedures for a Petition to Expunge Records.
Criminal History Report
Before filing a Petition to Expunge Records, the petitioner must first obtain their adult Criminal History Report (publicsafety.utah.gov) from the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI - publicsafety.utah.gov) of the Utah Department of Public Safety. The petitioner requests the report from BCI. There is a fee for the report. The judge might require that you file a criminal history report from the other communities in which you have lived.
Petition to Expunge Records
The petitioner must file the petition in the juvenile court that handled the original juvenile court case. The petitioner must attach to the petition the original Criminal History Report from the Bureau of Criminal Identification.
The petitioner must identify any agencies known or thought to have records related to the offense for which expungement is being sought. There is a fee to file the petition, unless it is waived by the court.
Serving the Petition
The petitioner must send the petition on the office of the prosecutor who handled the original juvenile court case.
The court schedules a hearing and notifies the petitioner, the county attorney or district attorney, the juvenile court's probation department, and the government agencies named by the petitioner as having custody of related records. The court will also notify the victim if the victim has requested notice. The notice to the victim includes a copy of the petition and the statutes and rules that apply. At the hearing, the petitioner, the prosecutor, the victim, and any other person who has relevant information may testify. If a person's juvenile court record consists only of non-judicial adjustments, the court may expunge the records without a hearing.
Order to Expunge Records
If the court finds that:
- the petitioner is 18 or older;
- it has been at least one year since termination of the court’s jurisdiction (or one year since the person's unconditional release from the custody of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services);
- the petitioner has not been convicted as an adult of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
- there is no adult felony or misdemeanor case against the petitioner pending or being started;
- restitution has been paid; and
- the petitioner has been rehabilitated, taking into consideration the petitioner's response to programs and treatment, the petitioner's behavior after adjudication, and the nature and seriousness of the conduct,
then the court will grant the petition and enter an order to expunge the petitioner's juvenile records held by any state, county, or local government entity.
Once the expungement order has been entered, the petitioner's earlier juvenile court proceedings are considered never to have occurred, and the petitioner may respond to an inquiry as though that incident did not occur.
Certified Copies of the Order
If an agency does not receive the expungement order, they are not required to seal their records. Petitioner must deliver the order to any agencies with relevant records. Petitioner should get as many certified copies of the order as there are agencies with records. Petitioner should get the certified copies as soon as the order is entered and before the case is sealed. Petitioner can get copies of the order after the case is sealed only by a petition to unseal the record. There is a fee for each certified copy, unless it is waived by the court.
Petitioner may pick up certified copies of the expungement order at the courthouse or have them mailed. To have certified copies mailed, send a request for a specific number of copies to the clerk of the court and include a 9" x 12" self-addressed envelope with sufficient return postage. (Note that large envelopes and multiple copies require additional postage.)
Expunged records are not necessarily destroyed. Expunged court records are placed in an envelope which is securely sealed. The clerk records the case number and record classification on the envelope and inscribes across the sealed part of the envelope the words "Not to be opened except upon permission of the court." The court record might eventually be destroyed in accordance with the court's Record Retention Schedule. An agency receiving the expungement order must seal or otherwise restrict public access to the relevant records in its possession or expunge all references to the petitioner's name in the records. The court cannot control destruction of agency records.
The court in which the order is entered will automatically seal all related court records. If anyone inquires about the expunged record, the clerk will respond as though the incident did not occur. To have the records of a government agency sealed, the petitioner must deliver a certified copy of the expungement order on the agency. These might include:
- the arresting agency
- prosecutor's office
- Division of Juvenile Justice Services
- Division of Child and Family Services, including their Management Information System and Licensing Information System;
- schools; or
- Driver License Division.
There may be other agencies with records. If an agency does not receive the expungement order, they are not required to seal their records. If requested, the clerk will provide addresses for agencies within the jurisdiction of the court. For other agencies, the petitioner must find the correct address. Some agencies that might have records are listed in the next section.
If you traveled across state lines or had supervision in another state while under Utah court jurisdiction, on probation, or while in JJS custody or DCFS custody, you likely have a record with the Juvenile Interstate Data System. In addition, if you ran away from the State of Utah and were placed in another State's detention/holding facility, you likely have a record with the Juvenile Interstate Data System. If the Judge grants your request for expungement you may submit a copy of the order to the Utah Interstate Compact Office. (Contact the office by calling 801-233-9666 or email email@example.com.) The Utah Interstate Compact Office will delete the records that are under their control. If you had interactions with other States, you will have to contact those States directly to ask about expungement of your records.
A government agency or official who has received an expungement order will respond to an inquiry as though that incident did not occur. A government agency or official who has received an expungement order may not divulge information identifying the petitioner.
Agency Contact Information
To have the records of any other agency sealed, the petitioner must deliver a certified copy of the expungement order on the agency. The following links are to webpages that list some agencies which may have records.
- Utah County and City Government (utah.gov)
- County Attorneys (upc.state.ut.us)
- Utah Law Enforcement Agencies (the911site.com)
- Utah State Agencies (utah.gov)
- Utah Courts
- Utah Interstate Compact office 801-233-9666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Continued use of Sealed Records
After the records have been sealed, they may be inspected only with a court order. Only the petitioner may petition the court to permit the records to be inspected.
Juvenile Court Forms
- Checklist - PDF | Word
- Application for Criminal History Report from BCI (bci.utah.gov)
- Coversheet - PDF
- Petition to Expunge Records - PDF | Word
- Proof of Service
- Expunging Adult Criminal Records
- Fee Waiver
- Filing Procedures
- Finding an Attorney
- Free Legal Clinics
- Going to Court
- Juvenile Justice Information
- Rule of Juvenile Procedure 56. Expungement
- Rules of Juvenile Procedure
- Serving Papers
- Statutes: Section 78A-6-1105, Expungement of juvenile court record
The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.