Setting Aside Your Criminal Record in Arizona
If you have been convicted of a crime in Arizona, your criminal record will follow you throughout your life. This can be harmful when you are seeking a job and it could result in the loss of your civil rights (including the right to vote or possess a firearm).
The good news is that Arizona has a process that lets you clean your record in some ways.
Note: Arizona now offers expungement. Click here to learn more if you qualify for expungement in Arizona.
This is a complicated process. It is described in ARS 13-905. Unfortunately, this law can be confusing for most people who aren’t familiar with the legal system. It is recommended that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to make sure that it is done right and your civil rights are restored. This page provides an overview of a set aside in Arizona and the process for getting your record cleared up.
Court Petition to Clear Arizona Records
ARS 13-905 provides the requirements for setting aside a conviction. The requires that a person who has been finally discharged from probation or imprisonment may apply with the court to have his judgement set aside.
If your matter is a felony, then the superior court will generally issue an order of discharge from probation. If your case is a misdemeanor handled in a justice court or a city court, the court may not issue an order discharging you from probation. In those instances, you can find out whether your probation has been discharged by contacting the court staff and confirming that you have complied with all the terms of your sentence and that you are no longer on probation.
When the court is deciding whether to grant the set aside petition, the court will consider the following factors:
- The nature of the convictions and the facts surrounding the conviction.
- How well the applicant complied with probation.
- Whether the applicant has any other prior convictions or has committed additional crimes.
- The amount of time that has passed since the completion of the applicant’s sentence.
- The applicant’s age at the time of the conviction.
- Any other relevant factors.
Benefits of a Set Aside
Having your criminal record set aside in Arizona can have various benefits for your future. These include:
- Making it easier to find a job in Arizona.
- Restoration of your civil rights, such as your right to possess a firearm and your right to vote in Arizona.
- Your criminal record will be annotated to show that your Arizona conviction has been set aside and the charges have been dismissed.
Clearing up your criminal record is one of the first step in many of our client’s lives where they begin to finally move past the harm that can be caused by a criminal record.
When your conviction is set aside, the court may also issue a “Certificate of Second Chance.”
What is a “Certificate of Second Chance”?
A Certificate of Second Chance allows someone with a criminal conviction that has been set aside to obtain some benefits that they may otherwise not have with a conviction. These benefits include:
- The opportunity to obtain an occupational license.
- Providing legal liability protection to employers who hire ex-offenders.
- Providing protections to persons who provide housing to ex-offenders.
This can open door for people who may have had difficulty receiving an occupational license because of a conviction, and it also provides a way to make finding a job and housing easier.
Can You Apply for a Set Aside in Arizona for an Out-of-State Conviction?
No. If you were convicted in another state, such as California or New Mexico, for a crime, then you must apply for that state’s version of an expungement. This process cannot be granted by an Arizona judge, because Arizona courts only have the ability to expunge an Arizona conviction.
Do You Have To Disclose a Conviction that Has Been Set Aside in a Job Interview?
A set aside in Arizona is different from an expungement because it will not entirely erase your criminal record. It will still show up on your criminal history if a background check is conducted by an employer, but what it will say is that the case has been dismissed and the conviction has been set aside.
If you are asked on a job application if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can answer yes but that you had the judgment of guilt set aside and you no longer have a conviction on your record.
A lot of employers look at that very favorably and might view it as that you won on appeal or that your crime was expunged. It certainly looks better to see this on your record than a simple statement that you were convicted of a crime.
Can Any Conviction be Set Aside in Arizona?
No. There are certain convictions that are not eligible for a set aside by law. These include the following:
- A crime where you are required to register as a sex offender.
- A crime where there was a finding of sexual motivation.
- A felony where the victim was a minor under fifteen years of age.
- A “dangerous” offense.
- A violation of driving on a suspended or canceled license.
- A violation of any local ordinance relating to stopping, standing, or operation of a vehicle.
If your crime does not fall into one of these categories, then you are eligible for an expungement. We law firm offers free consultations, and if you have any question as to whether your crime is eligible to be set aside, we will be able to speak with you and let you know if you are eligible for an expungement.
Have Salwin Law Help You Restore your Good Name
When applying for an application for an expungement, the attorneys at Salwin Law Group will be able to frame your situation to present the best argument to the court to convince the judge that the petition should be set aside. This usually includes presenting what are known as “mitigating factors” that would lessen the severity of the crime, and presenting evidence that you performed well on probation and have maintained a clean record since the conviction. We will also speak with you to get to know whether there are any other circumstances about your life situation which would help convince the judge that an expungement is justified in your situation.
Even though there are clear requirements for how to proceed with a conviction set aside or expungement, as you can see how you frame the petition requires you to present arguments to the judge and it is the in judge’s discretion whether to grant or deny the petition. This means that you have to convince the judge why to get your conviction set aside–it is not automatic. Stewart Salwin is well-versed in petitions for expungement and knows the best arguments to make to maximize your chances of success. Don’t leave your future to chance, contact Salwin Law Group today to discuss how we can get your record cleared up and restore your good name.