Thursday, February 07, 2013

Email to Sen. Urquhart -- Utah Reports Traffic Citations on the Criminal Database

Dear Steve U (my favorite legislator),

I can't find your blog anymore, and although I have stopped blogging regularly I miss your insights into state politics.

I have an issue that I recently discovered with the state's criminal records database. 

Apparently, Utah traffic violations (which are classified as misdemeanors) are now being included in the state's criminal database, which has not been made common knowledge. When an employer (or a graduate school, in the case of my wife) does a background check, the background check comes back with criminal convictions marked as yes. The description of the misdemeanor is accurate, but it includes any ugly additional item for  "bail forfeiture" even with no jail time and the individual paid the fine without warrants being issued.

This started when SB-201 passed in the 2012 General Session. This bill appears to have been passed with the intent of allowing drivers the opportunity to expunge their traffic violations through the state's criminal database and removing the traffic violation records from the state DMV. Unfortunately, the DMV is still planning on maintaining it's records of traffic violations. Now there is a traffic violation record on the state's crimnal database, and with the Driver's License division. This was obviously not considered during the passage of SB 201.

In the case of my wife, she had no idea that this would show as a misdemeanor or that this would be on the state's criminal database (and she claimed no misdemeanors on her grad school application) and the background check caused the graduate school to call (nearly revoke acceptance in her Master's program) and to accuse her of lying on her application. All this for a "fix-it" ticket where she missed the deadline to repair a burned out brake lamp. She paid the fine timely without any warrant being issued.

The reporting of traffic violations to the state's criminal database nearly cost my wife her admittance to graduate school, and I am sure it will cost many citizens jobs and untold hassles if this is not remedied. Please look into this issue.


Phillip Bell

1 comment:

Verna said...

This is cool!