Many people have heard of expungement or record sealing as a means of removing or hiding a criminal record from discovery in the case of employers, background checks, and the like. While Arizona does not offer expungement or record sealing except in very specific and rare cases, Arizona does offer its own version of relief called setting aside a conviction. The applicable statute in Arizona is A.R.S. § 13-907.
Here are some facts about expungement (set aside) law in Arizona.
- If your conviction is set aside, the law does not require it to be removed from your criminal record. Instead, your record will show that your conviction was set aside, the judgement was vacated, and that the court has dismissed the charges against you.
- If your conviction was set aside, you may still be required to disclose your prior conviction to your employer depending on what questions are asked and how they are phrased. You should also note that your conviction “has been vacated (or set aside) and the charges dismissed.” This is the exact language a court often uses when setting aside your conviction.
- Having your felony conviction set aside releases you – the defendant – from all disabilities and penalties that resulted from your conviction. Exceptions to this can be found here in A.R.S. §§ 28-3304 – 3308.
- Setting aside a conviction may remove a major obstacle to employment, fingerprint clearance cards, security clearance, or other endeavors.
- You may be able to restore your civil rights, including the right to possess firearms, serve on a jury, hold public office, and to vote if your felony conviction is set aside. The timing and eligibility for restoration of firearms rights varies based on the type of crime committed, whether you were sentenced to prison, and the time that has passed since your conviction, prison sentence, and/or successful termination from probation.
- Arizona courts do not have the power to set aside convictions or restore gun rights if you were convicted in a federal court. Other civil rights may still be restored if your conviction occurs in a federal court.
Eligibility, timing, and presenting the right information and materials for setting aside a conviction in any Court in Arizona can be a complicated process whether it involves a misdemeanor or felony. Many individuals who fail to convince a court to grant such a motion to set aside on their own are later successful with the assistance of the experienced and knowledgeable Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at MayesTelles.
Call us today at (602) 428-7104, or contact us through our online form to set up your confidential case evaluation. Don’t fight for your freedom without the help you need on your side.