Expungement is the most common process for clearing or sealing a criminal record in Utah. A 402 motion is another tool that may be used to reduce the level of a conviction. For those who may not qualify for relief through the expungement or 402 reduction processes, a pardon application may be worth considering.
Preparing for the Pardon Application
The pardon process can take between nine (9) months to more than a year. In researching and compiling records for a pardon application, we must gather and submit police reports, court dockets, and pre-sentence investigation reports relating to the convictions for which a pardon is sought. While we are waiting for BCI to process his certificate of eligibility application, we can work on gathering and compiling these reports. Ideally, we can have everything ready to submit to the Board as soon as a final response is received from BCI.
Requirements for Consideration
The Utah Board of Pardons only considers applications after an individual demonstrates exemplary citizenship and evidence of rehabilitation for a significant amount of time. This generally requires that at least five (5) to seven (7) years have passed since the termination or expiration of all criminal offenses, sentences, and supervision on probation or parole. The Board will also require that all restitution, fines, and fees be paid for any conviction for which a pardon is sought.
Written Application & In-Person Hearing
Submitting a Pardon Application does not necessarily result in the Board granting a pardon. The Board will consider the application, any input received from victims, police agencies, prosecutors, or judges regarding his cases, and all available information that the Board determines is relevant to the pardon. The Board may deny an application for pardon without a hearing, or they may schedule a pardon hearing. If scheduled, a pardon hearing will usually take place 45 to 60 days following the Board’s decision to grant a hearing.
After a pardon hearing, the Board will take the application and all matters relating to the pardon request under advisement, including information received during the hearing. The Board has options that include granting a full and unconditional pardon, granting only a partial pardon or pardon with conditions, granting commutation, or denying the entire request.