Although many people come to a criminal defense attorney for help when charges are first filed, a knowledgeable and skilled defense lawyer can provide other valuable services as well.
One option available in Utah that often surprises people with convictions is the option to have the level of an offense reduced, even after your sentence is completed. Utah Code 76-3-402 allows the court to reduce an offense by up to two degrees of severity. This means that if someone was convicted of a Class B Misdemeanor, they can have the charge reduced to a Class C Misdemeanor or even an Infraction. If the person was convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor, he or she can get it reduced to a Class B or C Misdemeanor. A person can even get a 2nd or 3rd Degree Felony reduced to a Class A or B Misdemeanor this way.
There are some restrictions to what you can do under 76-3-402, so consult a knowledgeable attorney to find out more.
Another option that is even better than getting charges reduced is getting them expunged. Utah Code 77-40-101 et seq. describes how expungement works. After a time, a person can have their criminal record sealed. This includes restricting access to the person’s record of arrest, investigation, detention, or conviction. Although the requirements are strict and the process is not easy, expunging a criminal record is a worthwhile goal for anyone accused of a crime.
These two processes, when combined with other criminal defense techniques, provide the accused with a clear and effective way forward through the difficulties they are facing. They are limited in what they can do, however, so speak with a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney to see how you can use these options to the best effect.