Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Change Your Felony Conviction to a Misdemeanor - 402 Motions

A felony conviction can change your life. Consequences of a felony conviction can include:

1.  Losing the right to hold public;
2.  Losing the right to vote;
3.  Losing the right to serve on a jury;
4.  Losing the ability to have a firearm;
5.  Losing the ability to hold certain licenses and certificates;
6.  Losing job opportunities;
7.  Embarrassment, loss of reputation, and more.

When someone has been convicted of a felony, there is hope of having that felony reduced to a misdemeanor.  In the State of Utah, a felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor either at the time of sentencing, or at the successful completion of probation.  The rules for obtaining this kind of reduction are found in Utah Code Annotated section 76-3-402.  A motion to reduce the offense level of a conviction is commonly referred to as a "402 motion."

In a 402 motion, a person can ask a court to reduce the offense level of a conviction by one level.  For example, someone convicted of a third degree felony could ask to have the conviction reduced to a class A misdemeanor.  With the agreement of the prosecutor, a conviction can be reduced by two levels (i.e. from a 2nd degree felony to a class A misdemeanor.)  Misdemeanor offense levels can also be reduced using this law (i.e. a class A misdemeanor can be reduced to a class B misdemeanor.)

A 402 offense level reduction has many benefits.  In addition to the benefits gained from removing an embarrassing felony from one's record, it can also pave the way for expungement qualification, to remove the conviction completely.  The more serious the conviction level, the more difficult it is to expunge a conviction, and the longer a person has to wait to qualify.  One or two offense level reductions can speed up the expungement process by years.

I have been successful in assisting clients in reducing the offense levels to their convictions using 402 motions, and in helping them expunge their convictions.  If you have questions about this process, give me a call.
(435) 654-9529

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