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Fees to expunge a criminal record in Utah will cost more than four times higher beginning July 1.
Removing one’s criminal history from their government record began to cost just $65 per application starting in 2022 because of a pilot program designed by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville. The program eliminated costly fees for receiving a certificate from the Bureau of Criminal Identification, a mandatory part of the process.
But that program was only scheduled to last a year. Dunnigan sponsored a measure to reinstate the program for five more years during this year’s legislative session, but withdrew his bill to avoid competing with another bill filed by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield. Hers would have established criteria for having fees waived. However, Lisonbee also ended up withdrawing her bill too.
Now, with certificate and court filing fees going back into practice, expungement costs will surge to $280 a case starting July 1.
“This is a devastating loss for people with records,” said Noella Sudbury, founder and CEO of Rasa, a company that helps people find out if they are eligible for expungement, and works to make expungement more accessible.
One in four Utahns has a criminal record, and over a fifth of previously incarcerated people are unemployed, according to Rasa. Expunging a record can improve the chances of someone getting a job and hopefully avoid returning to prison, Sudbury said.
“It’s a policy discussion about how much punishment is enough,” Sudbury said. “How much should people pay after they’ve paid their debt to society? How much should they pay to move on with their lives?”
After fees were lessened in 2022, the amount of expungement applications tripled in the past year, Sudbury said. She’s afraid that number will drop considerably when prices go up Saturday.
She said she’s spoken to representatives who seem optimistic about finding a solution during an interim session. But if you were thinking about expunging your record, do it now, as soon as possible, Sudbury said.
To get started, you can visit rasa-legal.com to check your eligibility.
“This is going to be a tragic blow,” she said. “We’re really disappointed.”