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Can a violent felony conviction be expunged in Utah?

The short answer to this question is misleading. While it is true that a violent felony is not eligible for expungement, it may be possible to circumvent this rule through a process commonly called a "402 reduction."

To learn more or for assistance in reducing or expunging your Utah criminal record, contact us now to arrange for an initial consultation with Utah criminal attorney Stephen Howard. We can often tell you over the phone whether you may be able to restore your expungement eligibility.

Mr. Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah and to out-of-state clients with Utah criminal cases. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help clear your record.

Utah's Rule on Felony Expungement

Utah Expungements in Salt LakeUtah Code 77-40-105 establishes the expungement eligibility requirements for criminal cases involving a conviction. Under this law, an ordinary felony requires at least a seven-year waiting period before the felony conviction can be eligible for expungement. But this law also prohibits the expungement of any violent felony conviction. The term "violent felony" for purposes of the expungement statute is defined by Utah Code 76-3-203.5 and covers a wide variety of felony offenses including (but not limited to) convictions for arson, aggravated assault, stalking, child abuse, domestic violence, homicide, kidnapping, rape or other sex offenses, burglary, robbery, witness tampering, and various weapons offenses.

While Utah law prohibits the expungement of any violent felony, a distinction is made between a conviction for a violent felony and a violent felony charge that has been dismissed or reduced. Utah Code 76-3-402 provides procedures whereby a person may be able to obtain a court order reducing the level of their conviction. This reduction is commonly referred to as a "402 reduction" and in many cases can turn a felony conviction into a misdemeanor. A 402 reduction may restore a person's eligibility for expungement.

When is You may be able to restore your eligibility to obtain an expungement if your violent felony conviction can be reduced by court order. Utah expungement laws prohibit the expungement of a criminal conviction for any violent felony, even if a person meets all other requirements for expungement. But if the felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor by court order, a person's expungement eligibility can be restored. Utah criminal attorney

402 Reductions in Utah

To qualify for a post-conviction 402 reduction, a person must first complete probation successfully. Upon successful completion of probation, a person may file a formal motion with the court requesting that the level of the offense be reduced. In order to obtain the reduction, the defendant bears the burden of proving that the requested reduction in the level of conviction is "in the interest of justice."

For a one-step reduction (reducing a third-degree felony to a class A misdemeanor), only the judge must be convinced that the reduction should be granted. But in order to obtain a two-step reduction (reducing a second-degree felony to the misdemeanor level), both the judge and the prosecutor must consent to the reduction.

Finding a Criminal Expungement Attorney in Utah

Salt Lake Criminal Defense Lawyer UtahIf you have been convicted of a violent felony or if you believe you are not eligible for expungement in Utah for other reasons, it is important to talk to an experienced criminal attorney. There may be ways to restore your expungement eligibility.

If you have a criminal record, it can affect your ability to find employment, rent an apartment, and more. Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard can help determine the best strategy for restoring your expungement eligibility and clearing your record. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.


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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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