The 402 reduction process gets its name from the the statute that authorizes the reduction – Utah Code section 76-3-402. This statute allows courts to reduce the level of a conviction by either one step or two steps after the case has been closed if parole or probation are successfully completed.
Historically, the 402 reduction was only available specifically after successful completion of probation. Prison and parole were disqualifying events. More recently, however, Utah’s legislature has amended the statute, expanding eligibility to also include those who successfully complete parole..
Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor: A felony conviction can make life difficult. It makes finding a job or a place to live harder and impacts many other areas of your life. But if you have completed probation or parole successfully, under Utah Code section 76-3-402, you may be eligible to reduce felony convictions to misdemeanors.
402 Reduction & Expungement: In determining whether a certificate of eligibility can be issued, Utah’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) looks at the age of your convictions, the number of convictions, and the level or degree of those convictions. Reducing the level of your convictions could be a way to restore your eligibility for expungement.
Expungement Waiting Period: The waiting period for expungement eligibility is based in part on the degree of the conviction. 402 reductions can also shorten the waiting period for expungement eligibility. To be eligible to expunge a criminal conviction in Utah, you must wait a certain period following the closure of your case. The greater the level of the felony or misdemeanor, the longer you must wait to be eligible for expungement. Using a 402 reduction can shorten the waiting by years, and you can seek an expungement much more quickly.
Restoring Expungement Eligibility: For example, having two felony convictions may disqualify you from expungement eligibility. However, a 402 reduction would turn those felony convictions into misdemeanors which could restore expungement eligibility.
Similarly, a “violent” felony cannot be expunged. But if that felony conviction is reduced, under Utah Code 76-3-402, to a misdemeanor, your expungement eligibility may be restored.
Too many misdemeanor convictions can also disqualify you from expungement eligibility. In some situations, a misdemeanor can be reduced to the infraction level – which would no longer count against your eligibility.
Getting Help on a 402 Reduction Motion
The criminal defense team at Canyons Law Group has assisted clients in obtaining 402 reductions throughout the state of Utah. If you have completed probation or parole successfully, there are significant benefits to having the level of your conviction reduced – losing the “convicted felon” label, restoring your expungement eligibility, or reaching some other goal; the impacts of a successful 402 reduction can be substantial.
For those who now live outside of Utah but are looking to reduce the level of a Utah conviction, we can often present your 402 reduction motion to the court and have your charges reduced without requiring your appearance in court.