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Cost to expunge criminal history soon going up in Utah as pilot program ends

Posted at 6:33 AM, Jun 27, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of Utahns have a criminal history and starting July 1, expungement costs are going up.

But for those who are eligible, if they can get their paperwork filed by Friday, they can still take advantage of a Utah pilot program that keeps costs manageable.

Having a criminal record can be a major roadblock to employment, education and housing. Brock Smith has firsthand experience with those barriers.

Even though he did the time for his crimes, paid court costs and restitution, Smith said his past kept interrupting his future.

“You have to check that box off that says; ‘hey, I have this criminal record,'” he explained.

Finally, Smith was able to get his record expunged and since then, his life has turned around for the better.

He is now wrapping up a master's degree at the University of Utah and planning to become a clinical social worker.

Last year Utah lawmakers made things easier by waiving government fees for one year as part of a pilot program. Those who were eligible could begin the process of clearing their criminal history for just $65.

The program ends July 1, meaning costs will go up with additional certificate and filing fees. Depending on how many cases need to be resolved, that could wind up costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

It may seem like a daunting task to get an expungement but there are services available to help.

RASA Legal tries to streamline the process and make it easier to clean up criminal records.

"Getting an expungement can really be transformative in someone’s life, particularly when it comes to employment,” explained Noella Sudbury, CEO of RASA Legal.

Sudbury said there's no time to waste with a Friday deadline to get paperwork filed.

“If people have a criminal record, now is the time to apply, get your applications in by Friday and you’ll save yourself a lot of money," she said.

Smith agrees and also encourages people to take advantage of the last few days of the pilot program.

“Right now it’s easy, it’s accessible and it’s affordable," he said. "So, take advantage of it.”

To learn more about RASA Legal and get started on expunging a record, click here.