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Life can be hard enough, but when you add in a past conviction for a crime, it can seem almost impossible to get by. Even after serving out a sentence of probation, incarceration or parole, individuals with a conviction record can find it difficult to secure employment, approval for housing and various other necessities in life. While some states allow individuals to have their records expunged, Arizona is a bit different.  

What Exactly is Expungement?

Arizona does not have an ‘expungement’ law per se, where a court can eliminate a criminal record, but according to ARS § 13-907, the applicable statute allows the court to ‘set aside’ a conviction record. This allows individuals who have completed the court’s mandated punishment(s) to apply to have the court “set aside” the past record of conviction and order that the person exempt from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the prior conviction, other than by the Department of Transportation.

This statute allows individuals to learn from the past and move on to the future without having any lingering effects after their punishment has been served. The motivation for this is to have individuals focus on moving forward, rather than past mistakes. However, there are several crimes and misdemeanors that do not apply to this statute:

  • Dangerous offenses
  • Offenses that require an individual to register as a sex offender
  • Offenses for which there was sexual motivation
  • Offenses involving a minor-aged victim under the age of 15
  • Violations involving driving on a suspended, revoked or canceled license, any ordinance related to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle (with the exception of reckless driving)

Arizona’s ‘Expungement’ is Different

Unlike a true expungement, the original record will reflect that the judgment of conviction has been set aside, rather than destroyed. While the record shows that the judgment of guilt has been set aside and allows a fresh start for the individual, since the conviction is still present on the record, it can prevent certain types of employment, licenses, permits or certificates in the future.

The positives of this statute are that individuals can legally declare on applications that any prior criminal charges have been dismissed and that they do not have a criminal record. This is especially important for job and housing applications.

How to Get Your Judgement Set Aside?

First, you must wait at least two years. During that time, you must maintain a clean criminal record. One important aspect that is taken into consideration for this statute is the risk of being a repeat offender.

Lastly, you must have fulfilled all punishments, including prison time, fees, rehabilitation classes, and other court-mandated activities. Obtain documented proof upon completion to present in court and help your case.

Let Us Help You Get Your Life Back

If you meet these requirements, your next step should be to find an attorney who has considerable experience with filing the detailed paperwork necessary. At Sonoran Law Group, our team handles getting judgments set aside frequently and will make sure that your case has the best chance for approval. Don’t let any further mistakes hinder your future success; call us today for a free consultation.