2021 Bills

HB 329: Clearing Civil Records

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

In 2019, the Utah legislature paved the way for automatic expungements for low-level offenses by passing House Bill 431. The intent of this bill was to clear the criminal records of those with misdemeanors and below after a number of years (depending on the offense) of complying with court orders. This bill was an excellent step in allowing individuals to move on with their lives after completing their sentence and waiting the statutorily required amount of time to clear their name.

But one thing the law doesn’t cover is civil cases, such as a petition for a protective order or stalking injunction. If a person files one of these, and the judge denies their request, it still may remain tied to the person’s record. Or, if a judge signs the order, but then later dismisses the case, it’s still tied to the person.

Representative Candace Pierucci is sponsoring House Bill 329 to fix this issue. Her bill would allow an individual to have their name removed, or unlinked, from any publicly searchable database with their civil order information – and not just criminal cases. This would allow law enforcement to still maintain a record of the case without compromising the privacy of the individual.

We support this bill as a common-sense quick fix to address those cases where a person’s situation doesn’t quite fit the mold of traditional expungement, so they can move on without fear of being labeled for a case that was ultimately dismissed.