Reducing Your Criminal History (402 Reduction)

Utah law provides a way to reduce your criminal history under Utah Code Section 76-3-402 (402 Reduction). There are several benefits to lowering your criminal conviction. The purpose of the law is to allow people who have made mistakes to reduce the stigma and burden associated with having a criminal history, by lowering or reducing their criminal history.

The Process

Contact one of our experienced attorneys to help you through the process. Section 402 allows anyone with a criminal history to petition the court to reduce the level of their criminal history by one degree with court approval and by two degrees with approval of both the court and the prosecutor. For example, if you were convicted or plead guilty to a second-degree felony, the court could grant a one-level reduction to a third-degree felony. With court approval and permission from the prosecutor, the court could reduce your criminal history from a second-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

The process involves filing a motion with the court and serving notice to the prosecuting agency of your criminal case. You cannot file a petition to reduce your criminal history unless your probation has ended and your case closed. If there was a victim involved, the prosecutor will notify them of the request and give them the opportunity to provide their input. If the prosecutor objects to your petition, the court will set a hearing on your motion.

At the hearing on your motion, the court may reduce your criminal history if they find that doing so is in the interests of justice. The court may reduce your criminal history one level even if the prosecutor objects. However, in order to obtain a two-step reduction, the prosecutor and the court must both agree.

A key benefit to hiring one of our attorneys to assist you with your 402 reduction is that they can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf in an effort to convince them to agree to a two-step reduction.

There are limitations to reducing your criminal history. The court cannot reduce your criminal history by more than two steps. There are certain types of crimes that are not eligible for reduction. If you owe any restitution as part of your criminal conviction, the court cannot reduce your conviction unless restitution has been fully paid. One of our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process and let you know if you are eligible for a reduction before you begin the process.

The Benefits

There are several benefits to seeking a 402 reduction of your criminal history. In certain situations, you can reduce felony convictions to misdemeanors, reducing the stigma that being a convicted felon has on job and housing prospects. 402 reductions are also beneficial in speeding up the waiting period for criminal history expungements. To expunge your criminal history, you must wait a certain period of time following the close of your case. The greater the severity of the conviction (level of misdemeanor or felony), the longer you must wait to motion the court for expungement. By reducing your criminal history under Section 402, you can reduce the waiting by years and seek an expungement much more quickly. See our page on criminal history expungements for more information.

No matter what mistakes you have made in the past, you should consider taking advantage of laws that allow you to reduce or expunge your criminal history. Everyone deserves a second chance.