Salt Lake City, UT – On July 1, 2023, the fees for getting a certificate of eligibility from the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI)–a mandatory part of the criminal record expungement process–are about to increase substantially, and Rasa is urging those who are considering expungement to get started right away to avoid them.
“Increased government fees will make expungement cost-prohibitive for many people with records,” said Noella Sudbury, Founder and CEO of Rasa. “Our mission is to make expungement more accessible for everyone, so whether you are seeking expungement on your own or with the assistance of a lawyer, we want to help you get started before fees increase.”
Expungement fees were reduced in 2022 as part of HB 392’s one-year pilot program that eliminates all BCI certificate fees. This bill can save justice-involved people hundreds of dollars each. Until June 30, the only government fee still imposed in Utah is the $65 fee to apply.
However, the pilot program created by HB 392 will expire on June 30, 2023, and the bill to continue the program, HB 323, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R), failed to pass in the last legislative session. That means fees are going to increase substantially for those who wait.
“This is a devastating loss for people with records,” said Sudbury. “Rasa will continue to be at the table fighting for affordable pathways for people to move forward with their lives. But in the meantime, we are urging all people with records to apply now and all people who have applied and have a determination letter from BCI to apply before court filing fees are reinstated.”
After June 30, individuals trying to expunge their records will pay a $65 application fee, plus approximately $200 in additional fees for every case they wanted to expunge. For a person with 4 cases, this would be over $800.
More than 800,000, or one in four Utahns, have a criminal record, and the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is 27%. Record expungement can clear a path for access to housing and jobs, higher wages, and a better quality of life for those who have been held back by background checks.
“Clearing criminal records is good for public safety, increases housing stability, and strengthens our local economy,” said Sudbury. “Helping crime-free, law-abiding citizens move beyond their criminal record, rent apartments, and find jobs, reduces the likelihood of individuals returning back to the justice system. It can also lead to more successful recovery from substance use disorder.”
Data from Clean Slate Utah shows that 77% of people who worked with their organization make more than $11 per hour, but not enough to pay the steep government fees that as of July 1, 2023, will now be back in place.
To get started with criminal record expungement, justice-involved people can visit Rasa-Legal.com to check their eligibility. Rasa also provides affordable legal services throughout the expungement process.