Utah’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) is responsible for making an initial determination on expungement eligibility. If BCI determines that a person is in fact eligible for expungement, then a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement may be issued to that person. If BCI denies the application, an appeal or request for administrative review must be filed within 30 days of the date the denial was issued.
Appeal and Administrative Review of Expungement Eligibility
In most cases, BCI accurately assesses criminal history records and correctly determines legal eligibility. But from time to time, mistakes are made. Most mistaken denials will involve either factual errors in court records or criminal history reports or errors in legal interpretation.
When BCI denies an application for a certificate of eligibility, an appeal or written request for administrative review must be filed within 30 days of the original denial decision. The request for review must explain why the original BCI decision was incorrect, and must also include documentation to support any claim of factual error.
Most factual errors come from court records or from BCI’s own criminal history reports. Errors found in court records could include a delayed termination of probation or a docket entry showing the wrong offense level for a conviction.
Errors in BCI’s criminal history reports sometimes occur when BCI’s computer systems fail to accurately sync data from the Utah court’s computer systems. It is not uncommon for computer records to be incomplete for cases filed before the mid-1990’s. Some factual errors in a BCI criminal history report arise when one person has used another person’s name when arrested.
Determining the reason for the error is generally less important than finding the evidence or correct information that shows that the information in the BCI report or court docket is wrong. This could include a copy of the original court sentencing order, copies of booking photos from the original arrest, or records from the Department of Corrections showing that the person actually convicted of the crime is still in prison`.
Errors in Legal Analysis
Most legal rules regarding expungement eligibility are fairly clear. But it is not uncommon for the legislature to make changes (some small, some big) to the statutes governing eligibility.
When these changes occur, the statutory language will not have yet been fully interpreted by the appellate courts. When there are gray areas in these changes, it is not uncommon for multiple interpretations to arise as the new statutes are applied to specific case scenarios.
Finding an Attorney for Appeals of Expungement Eligibility
Regardless of the reasons, factual mistakes and legal errors do sometimes occur in BCI’s eligibility determination process. If you believe that you have been incorrectly denied a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement by BCI, there is a 30-day window in which to file an appeal or request for administrative review. Consulting with an experienced expungement attorney can be the best way to understand you options in moving forward.