What You Need to Know About Expungement Process?
Interviewer: I wanted to clarify about a situation where, let’s say, the individual may have had a DUI a few years back. It’s one of those situations where it was a client that you had not worked with previously, and they worked with a public defender or something. It was something pretty minor, but they had it on the record and learned to live. Now, they say, “Hey, I didn’t know about this whole expungement thing. Let me look into it.”Can they call you up?
Matthew Nebeker: Yeah. That situation happens quite a bit. A lot of times people do use other attorneys or they use the public defenders. Attorneys sometimes change the nature of their practice. A lot of things can happen in 10 years. The public defender might not be there anymore and the public defender wouldn’t help with the expungement process anyway. They only are hired to help them with the initial charges. A lot of times the attorneys that helped them with the initial charge will have retired or he will have moved out of state or started working for a government agency or something and he can’t deal with an expungement.
Under any of those circumstances, at any time in the process, the individual could contact me. I could help them establish the timeframes to see when they would qualify, help them a little bit about the cost and the procedures that are involved – kind of like we’re doing here today. I would be more than willing to help them and could help them get pointed in the right direction and get them in the process of getting this behind them.
Interviewer: Just for the record, if someone doesn’t know about their case, could they consult you? Is there a chance that they can have actually something that may benefit them as far as an expungement goes?
Matthew Nebeker: Yes. I have access to a computer system. It’s the State Court XChange Database. If someone came to me that had this conviction seven or eight years ago, I could have them come to my office or sometimes even over the phone. They can give me their full name and their date of birth and I can do a search through the Utah State Court Database System and pull up their court docket and see when their conviction was entered. If there was a successful completion of probation when the court terminated the jurisdiction, because that’s what gets the clock ticking, I can see all of those things and fairly quickly be able to tell them, “Well, call me back in a year,” or, “Let’s get you in here as soon as we can and let’s get this taken care of.”
While we’re on that subject, that’s a thing that I tell everyone that I see who qualifies or is ready for an expungement: take advantage of it. If you’re qualified, the law says that you can get the expungement done, so do it because you never know. A year from now, or two years from now, the law could change. They may enact something that extends the time requirement or they may say, “Well, this offense is no longer expugnable.”It’s important to go ahead and go through the process once you qualify. That’s always my advice.