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Salt Lake 402 Reduction Lawyer - Getting Your Charges Reduced

Having a felony on your record can cause problems in many areas of your life. But you may be able to have your felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors using what is commonly called a "402 reduction" even before you are eligible to have them expunged. Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard can help.

Beginning the 402 Reduction Process

A reduction in the level of a conviction under Utah Code 76-3-402 is not automatic. To initiate the reduction process, a formal motion must be filed demonstrating succesful completion of probation and showing that "interests of justice" will be served by the reduction. A hearing with the court may be required, where both sides will be given the opportunity to present their positions to the court.

A 402 reduction is not guaranteed - there is no right to a reduction. Instead, the court has discretion to either grant or deny the requested reduction.

Stipulated 402 Reduction Motions

If you are seeking a 402 reduction of only one step, a stipulation from the prosecutor is not necessary. But without a stipulation, you may be required to appear for a hearing with the court.

If you are seeking to have your convictions reduced by two steps, the statute requires that you obtain the prosecutor's stipulation to the motion. Even if the court is inclined to grant a two-step reduction, the prosecutor's consent is required.

Benefits of a 402 Reduction

One of the most common benefits of getting a 402 reduction is the removal of a "felony" conviction from a defendant's criminal record. Even though the case may still show on a criminal history report, the charge may now be considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony conviction.

In some cases, a 402 reduction may be beneficial even if the original conviction is already a misdemeanor. A 402 reduction is sometimes used to to speed up the expungement process. For example, a felony conviction has a 7 year waiting period before you may be eligible to have the conviction expunged. But a class A misdemeanor has only a 5 year waiting period. So if your felony conviction is reduced just one step, you may be eligible for an expungement 2 years earlier. A reduction from a class A to a class B misdemeanor can shave an additional year off the expungement waiting period.

In some cases, a 402 reduction can be used to restore eligibility for expungement. Expungement eligibility is based not only on the length of time that has passed since a conviction, but also on the total number of felony or misdemeanor convictions on a person's criminal history. If a 402 reduction is used to reduce a misdemeanor conviction to the infraction level, the conviction will no longer count against expungement eligibility.

Contacting a Utah Criminal Attorney for 402 Reductions

By cleaning your record, getting rid of felony convictions, and speeding up the expungement process, you can open doors for yourself that have been closed for too long. Stephen Howard is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has obtained reductions for many clients during his career.

Contact us now for help in getting your convictions reduced or getting your record expunged.