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Plan aims to help Utahns with criminal pasts start anew
Expungement » Lawmakers want to streamline the process for the people leaving behind their criminal past.

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Linker hit a financial wall at the courthouse, where she learned she would be charged $179 for each expungement. Linker, who works as a medical biller, applied for a fee waiver, but a judge turned her down.

"At that point I hung my head in defeat," said Linker, who estimates her expenses from start to finish topped $1,500.

At a glance

No expungement option

Utah law says expungement is prohibited for the following crimes or situations:

Capital felonies, first-degree felonies and violent felonies

Automobile homicide

Felony DUI alcohol/drugs

Registerable sex offenses

Crimes that are pending or being investigated

Statute of limitations has not been met

Waiting period not met

Fines, interest and restitution has not been paid

When there are two or more felony criminal episodes

Any combination of three or more convictions that include two class A misdemeanors

Any combination of four or more convictions that include three or more class B misdemeanors

Five or more misdemeanors or felony episodes

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She still has not been able to complete the process because she can’t afford the court fees.

Aaron Bryant’s effort to clear his record was even more costly. Bryant, 30, racked up five criminal cases with multiple charges in each case, most associated with his substance abuse. After spending nearly eight months in jail in 2005, he turned his life around.

Bryant got a job and enrolled in college. He finished an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree in social work and is now working on a master’s degree in social work at the University of Utah, which he will complete in August. He also is working on a master’s degree in public policy at the U.

Bryant, who wrote a memoir about his life called A Synchronous Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, works full time for the Assessment and Referral Services in the U.’s Department of Psychiatry.

But like Linker, Bryant has found his criminal background hinders his ability to get certain jobs. He turned to the parole board after learning he could not get his record expunged.

"It was my understanding it was kind of a long shot, but I still submitted the application and they agreed to hear my case," he said.

The board granted Bryant a pardon in January. It took him another eight months — and $3,500 — to finish the expungement process.

"It ends up being you are granted a pardon, but then it really doesn’t boil down to that," Bryant said. "It is quite a bit more complicated than that. A lot of people weren’t even aware that when they gave a pardon there was still so much that had to happen. They kind of assumed that if you were pardoned, you wouldn’t have to have judges and prosecutors sign off on them."

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