Utah, New Mexico Enact Legislation Facilitating Expungement for Low-Level Crimes

Governors in two western states have signed legislation into law to facilitate the process of permitting those past criminal convictions to have their records expunged.

In Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed House Bill 431: The Clean Slate Act into law. The measure creates a process for the automatic expungement and deletion of certain criminal convictions, including misdemeanor convictions for the possession of a controlled substance.

To be eligible for automatic expungement, one must have completed their sentence and possess no subsequent convictions for a period of five years. According to reporting by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah will become only the second state in the nation to enact such a broad automatic expungement policy.

The new law takes effect on May 1, 2020.

In New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law House Bill 370, The Criminal Record Expungement Act. The Act permits those convicted of certain violations, misdemeanors, or felonies – following the completion of their sentence and payment of applicable fines – to petition the court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction.

Those seeking to vacate misdemeanor convictions must wait two years following the completion of their sentence, and have no subsequent convictions, prior to seeking expungement. Those with felony convictions must wait six-years prior to petitioning the court.

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

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