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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Clearing Your Utah Criminal Record

Can I get a 402 reduction if probation was terminated unsuccessfully?

Under Utah Code 76-3-402, a court can reduce the level of conviction by one or two steps if the court finds that the reduction is "in the interest of justice." As a preliminary requirement for obtaining a 402 reduction, a defendant must first complete probation "successfully."

But even in cases where probation was terminated unsuccessfully or a defendant was sent to prison, there may be alternative methods of clearing your record. An expungement order or pardon can seal court records and clear your criminal history report. An experienced criminal attorney can help you determine the best strategy for clearing your criminal record and help you navigate the complex process that can be involved.

Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has assisted clients in clearing their records in a variety of circumstances, including clients with serious felony convictions and numerous misdemeanor or felony convictions. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Successful Completion of Probation

Under prior versions of Utah Code 76-3-402, a reduction in the level of conviction required completion of probation "without violation." The legislature has since relaxed the statutory requirement to include cases where a defendant may have had problems early on in the probation period, but ultimately completed probation successfully. But even with this relaxed requirement, a defendant who is sentenced to prison without the opportunity of probation or a defendant who has had probation revoked or terminated unsuccessfully will not be able to obtain a 402 reduction.

In cases in which a defendant is sentenced to serve a prison term, successful completion of parole does not satisfy the successful probation requirement. Regardless of how well a defendant may perform on parole, the statute specifically requires successful completion of probation.

Clearing Your Record with an Expungement

The expungement process is more lengthy and complex than the 402 reduction process. But it also provides a more complete clearing of a person's criminal record. While a 402 reduction can be a relatively quick way to reduce a felony conviction to the misdemeanor level, an expungement will seal court records, police reports, and prosecutor files, and will allow a person to answer most questions as though the arrest and conviction had never occurred.

Contact us now and we can help you determine your eligibility for expungement, or discuss other alternatives for clearing your record.

Using a Pardon to Clear Your Record

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has jurisdiction and authority to grant a pardon in many cases where a person is otherwise not eligible for expungement. A common misconception is that a pardon must be granted by the governor. But under Utah law, the Board of Pardons and parole has pardon authority.

Utah law previously provided that a pardon restored eligibility for expungement. But under more recent changes to the law governing expungements, a pardon granted by the Board has the same effect as an expungement. The Board can order BCI, the courts, and other government agencies in possession of criminal records to seal those records.

Finding a Utah Attorney to Help Clear Your Record

Salt Lake Criminal Defense AttorneyA criminal conviction can have serious consequences that last long after the court case has been formally closed. Utah criminal attorney Stephen Howard has helped clients through the processes involved in obtaining a 402 reduction, expungement, or pardon in a variety of cases. If you have a criminal record that is limiting your opportunities or otherwise adversely affecting your life, contact us to see how we can help you.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
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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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