Utah Criminal Law Attorneys


arrests If you are convicted of a crime in Utah, sometimes you can unilaterally ask the court to reduce the grade of the conviction. For example, you were convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor, you could ask the court to reduce it one grade, down to a Class B Misdemeanor. This is called a Rule 402 reduction.

Here is how it works.

Rule 402 Reductions:

The power of the trial court, or sentencing court to unilaterally reduce the grade of the conviction one offense is found at Utah Code Section 76-3-402. Chapter 76 is the Utah Criminal Code. The pertinent provisions read:

76-3-402. Conviction of lower degree of offense — Procedure and limitations.

(1) If at the time of sentencing the court, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the offense of which the defendant was found guilty and to the history and character of the defendant, and after having given any victims present at
the sentencing and the prosecuting attorney an opportunity to be heard, concludes it would be unduly harsh to record the conviction as being for that degree of offense established by statute, the court may enter a judgment of conviction for the next lower degree of offense and impose sentence accordingly.

(3) (a) An offense may be reduced only one degree under this section, whether the reduction is entered under Subsection (1) or (2), unless the prosecutor specifically agrees in writing or on the court record that the offense may be
reduced two degrees.

How to Use Rule 402 Reduction to Help You:

There are two main areas where Rule 402 reduction motions are used: (1). For a reduction in the grade of your offenses to lessen the degree of your criminal records, and (2). To reduce past criminal convictions so you can qualify for an expungement under Utah law.

Side Effects of Criminal Convictions.

Not having a Felony on your record matters. If you can reduce your Utah Second Degree Felony down two grades to a Class A Misdemeanor, that is a significant benefit. If you can reduce your Class B Misdemeanors down to Infractions, that will completely eliminate your conviction history. Having a criminal conviction history effects a person’s employability and professional licenses. If the job application asks if you have ever been convicted of crime, you can truthfully answer, “No.”
Qualifying for an Expungement.

Another way Utah Rule 402 criminal reduction motions are used is to qualify the person for a Utah expungement.

For example, you cannot have two or more Class A Misdemeanors on your record or you will not qualify for an expungement. You are barred from an expungement because you have too many Class As on your record. Your attorney should file a 402 reduction motion and reduce those Class A Misdemeanors down to a Class B. Then file for an expungement because you now qualify.
The combinations of 402 motions to qualify a person for an expungement are numerous. A good attorney can file these motions strategically, then move for an expungement later.


Receiving an expungement of your criminal record is fairly easy and the benefits are great in comparison to your effort and attorney fees to obtain one. Even if you will never be eligible for an expungement, simply filing Rule 402 reduction motions on your past convictions will help alleviate the collateral consequences of your past criminal history. Having a criminal record is not good, but if you can eliminate having to state you have a Felony, it is well worth your time.

Call Howard Lewis & Petersen, PC at (801) 373-6345 for a free consultation to see if you qualify for an expungement or Rule 402 reduction.

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