Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Utah 402 Reduction Attorney Salt Lake

If you have completed probation successfully, Utah Code 76-3-402 provides an avenue to have the level of your conviction reduced. In some cases, this will reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor. In other cases, a 402 reduction can be used to restore expungement eligibility.

If your 402 reduction motion has been previously denied, consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney may help you understand other options for clearing your record, or for submitting a second 402 reduction.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation with Utah criminal lawyer Stephen Howard.

Does Res Judicata Prevent a Second 402 Reduction Motion?

The Latin phrase "res judicata" is sometimes used to refer to a "thing that has been adjudicated." The purpose behind the principle of res judicata is to prevent the relitigation of an issue that has already been  fully and finally determined on its merits.

Some lawyers have hesitated to file a second motion to reduce the level of a conviction under Utah Code 76-3-402, based on a belief that res judicata prevents the issue from being relitigated. This hesitation is based on a misunderstanding of the principle of res judicata, and also a misunderstanding of the nature of a 402 reduction motion.

A 402 reduction decision is different from many decisions made by a court - in that it constitutes a determination of the interest of justice based on the current circumstances, rather than a determination of legal rights as they existed at a particular point in the past or a finding of facts regarding events that occurred in the past. Many matters presented to a court involve questions of fault, determinations of legal rights, factual determinations, etc. as they relate to a particular point in the past. But a 402 reduction motion asks the court to make a determination of whether the current circumstances justify a reduction in the level of charges (i.e., whether the requested reduction is "in the interest of justice").

Consider the following hypothetical:

Assume that John completes felony probation successfully on January 1, 2000. The following week, January 8, 2000, he files a 402 reduction motion asking that his felony conviction be reduced to the class A misdemeanor level. At the hearing, the judge congratulates John for his successful completion of probation, but expresses concern over his ability to maintain a crime-free lifestyle now that he is no longer being supervised by a probation officer. Based on that concern, the judge denies the 402 reduction motion.

District court and justice court judges are given wide latitude in deciding whether to grant or deny a 402 reduction. In the circumstances above, the court may be justified in its concern. An appellate court would likely not overturn the decision. But this decision is based only on the defendant's current circumstances. Imagine that ten years have passed, and John files a second motion to reduce the level of his conviction.

Ten years later, John has graduated from college and has held down a steady job both while he was going to school and in the years since graduating. He has gotten married, and has three children that he is raising. He helps coach the local soccer team. He volunteers at the soup kitchen. He hasn't even had a speeding ticket since he got off probation.

In this second motion, the judge is being asked a very different question. In the first motion the judge was asked to decide whether the interest of justice would be served by granting a reduction to a person who had only been off probation for a week. But in the second motion, the judge is being asked whether a person with a ten-year track record of positive accomplishments is deserving of a reduction. The two questions are very different; and the second motion should not be barred by res judicata.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerA Utah 402 reduction motion can be used to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor and to help restore expungement eligibility. If you have had a 402 reduction motion denied previously, or if you want to file for the first time, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help give you the best chance of success.

Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.
RELATED CRIMINAL DEFENSE QUESTIONS
Does a prosecutor's stipulation guarantee that the judge will grant a 402 reduction?
Will a 402 reduction let me restore eligibility to expunge a violent felony?
How do I choose the best criminal attorney for my case?


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • 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.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
  • Recent Posts
  • What Constitutes Drug Parpahernalia in Utah How is drug paraphernalia defined in Utah? - The definition of drug paraphernalia under the Utah criminal code looks at both the nature of the object and also the intended use of the object in question. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

With decades of combined experience, our criminal defense team attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you achieve the results you need. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. Choosing the best attorney to defend your case may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Even a single misdemeanor conviction in Utah can result in extended jail time and substantial fines. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can last a lifetime. Whether you are facing misdemeanor prosecution in a justice court or more serious felony charges in the district court, obtaining advice and assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney is....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Hope

Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are reasons to remain hopeful, and there are things you can do right now that can help increase the odds of a successful outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the various options you have, and can help you....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.