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What can I do to clean my record in Utah?

There are several ways of clearing your criminal record in Utah. Expungements, 402 reductions, and pardons can all play a part in clearing your record and getting a fresh start. Choosing the best method can depend on your goals and on the nature of your criminal record.

Assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard provides services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.


The Utah Expungement Act provides one method of clearing your record. Under Utah law, once records of a criminal conviction, arrest, or investigation are expunged, you are allowed to answer most questions regarding your criminal history as though the arrest or conviction never occurred.

Obtaining an expungement requires strict compliance with eligibility requirements and waiting periods. In addition to the basic statutory eligibility requirements, you must also demonstrate by "clear and convincing evidence" that granting the expungement is not contrary to the public interest.

While the standards for obtaining an expungement can be high, the benefits are significant. If you are eligible for an expungement, this may be the best way to clear your Utah criminal record.

402 Reductions

Under Utah law, if you have successfully completed probation you may be able to reduce the level of your conviction by one or two steps. This process, often called a "402 reduction" (referring to Utah Code Ann. 76-3-402), is commonly used to reduce a felony conviction to the misdemeanor level.

In some circumstances, a 402 reduction can be used to shorten the waiting period for an expungement or can be used to restore eligibility for expungement.

There is no minimum waiting period for eligibility for a 402 reduction. The motion can be filed immediately upon successful completion of probation. So for some people, a 402 reduction can be the quickest way remove a felony conviction from their record.


Some people simply have too many convictions on their record to be eligible for an expungement, even after 402 reductions. If you find yourself in such a circumstance, you may still be able to clear your Utah criminal record by obtaining a pardon. While the expungement process is governed by strict statutory requirements, the Utah Board of Pardons has broad discretion to grant a pardon in appropriate cases.

Under former Utah law, a pardon restored your eligibility for expungement. Under changes to the law made by the Utah legislature, a pardon now has essentially the same effect as an expungement order issued by a court. Whereas under the former law a person who had been pardoned was still required to petition the court for an expungement, the pardon itself now acts as the expungement order.

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah

Utah Criminal DefenseWhether you are facing new criminal charges in Utah, or trying to clear your record of old mistakes, having the right criminal attorney for your case can give you the best chance of success. To learn more about the legal processes involved, contact us now to schedule an initial consultation with Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.

How do I get a 402 reduction in Utah?
Do I need a lawyer to get an expungement?
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  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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