Recent Changes to Utah’s Drug Laws

Can I get an automatic 402 reduction for my felony conviction now that drug possession is a misdemeanor under the new laws?

Utah made several important changes to its drug laws during the 2015 legislative session. Many drug offenses that were once classified as felony level offenses have now been lowered to misdemeanor crimes as part of these recent changes to Utah drug laws. Before these changes, first time possessors of drugs like heroin or meth were automatically charged with a felony crime. To make matters worse, it used to be very easy for police and prosecutors to enhance the crime even higher because the old law created very wide drug free zones around schools, libraries, parks, churches, and many other public areas. Under the old Utah drug laws, thousands of people received serious felony convictions for possessing drugs that would only carry misdemeanor convictions under the new Utah drug laws today.

If you have been charged with criminal drug possession, or if you were previously convicted and are seeking a reduction in your conviction, please contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Utah defense attorney.

Will my felony conviction be automatically reduced to a misdemeanor?

Utah’s new drug laws went into effect on October 1, 2015, but unfortunately the new law is not retroactive. This means that a person with a felony possession conviction from 2014 will not automatically have their felony reduced to a misdemeanor conviction under the new law. Anybody with a felony possession conviction prior to October 1, 2015 will be stuck with a felony conviction on their record even though others convicted for the exact same crime would receive misdemeanor convictions today unless they qualify and take advantage of other legal avenues to reduce the level of their conviction.

If you were convicted for something that would have been a misdemeanor today, contact us today and speak with a Utah criminal attorney about reducing your conviction.

What is a 402 Reduction?

Utah’s criminal law allows criminal charges to be reduced after sentencing if a person qualifies for reduction under Section 76-3-402 of the Utah Code. The legal process for doing this is commonly referred to as a “402 Reduction.” It allows a person to receive a “conviction for the next lower degree of offense” if the person meets certain requirements laid out under the law. This is commonly referred to as a one-step reduction. In some cases, it is possible to receive a two-step reduction if the prosecution agrees to the second step reduction.

Do I qualify for a 402 Reduction?

In order to qualify for a 402 reduction of your drug offense under Utah law, a person must: 1) successfully complete probation in the case, 2) file a motion for reduction with the court and provide notice to the prosecution, 3) either obtain written agreement from the prosecution, or request a hearing in front of a judge to consider the reduction, and 4) demonstrate that the reduction is in the interest of justice.

If you have a felony conviction for a drug possession case, you should contact an attorney for help in getting your conviction reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Felony convictions carry serious ramifications that impact your life far beyond the criminal case itself. In many cases, having a felony conviction carries other negative consequences such as difficulty finding a job or home. If you have a felony drug conviction because you were prosecuted for something that is a misdemeanor today, it is in your interest, and the interest of justice and fairness, to have your conviction reduced.

Andrew McAdams has many years of experience working with 402 reductions as both a former Utah prosecutor and Utah criminal defense attorney. He regularly helps clients pursue the interests of justice through 402 reductions and will help you. To see if you qualify for a 402 reduction, please call or click to schedule a free consultation with Andrew McAdams today.


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