SETTING ASIDE CONVICTIONS IN ARIZONA
You Don't Always Need To Be Looked At As Guilty
When convicted of a crime in Arizona, a criminal record is created with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Criminal History Records Division, who then forwards these records to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, making the records available in a background check
This Information Is For You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Mr. Eastman serves as the firm’s managing partner, and is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Texas.
Sam has helped thousands of clients expunge, seal, and set-aside records across the country, and has a passion for criminal justice reform. Previously, Mr. Eastman represented a number of corporate clients, focusing on tax law, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate transactions.
Mr. Eastman earned his JD and LLM from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
Can You Get Your Arizona Conviction Set-Aside?
Arizona law allows for the setting aside of both misdemeanor and felony convictions in many situations under ARS 13-907, but not every criminal record qualifies. There are certain offenses that currently cannot be set aside under Arizona law, and you must also receive a final discharge from the terms of your sentence. In addition to meeting these requirements, you must then convince a judge, justice of the peace, or magistrate that you deserve to have your conviction set aside.
- General Requirements to Set-Aside a Convictionexpand_more
One of the very first requirements of ARS 13-907 requires “…fulfillment of the conditions of probation or sentence and discharge by the court, may apply to the court to have the judgement of guilt set aside.” For purposes of setting aside a conviction or restoring your firearm rights, ARS 13-908 defines “final discharge” as the completion of probation or the receipt of an absolute discharge from the Arizona Department of Corrections or the United States Bureau of Prisons.
- 1. Complete Your Sentenceexpand_more
Simply, you must have completed all aspects of the terms of your sentencing imposed by the court. All the waiting periods relating to setting aside Arizona convictions or restoring firearm rights use this definition of final discharge as a starting point.
- 2. Factors The Court Will Considerexpand_more
The Arizona legislature recently amended ARS 13-907 to provide guidance for what factors the court shall consider when determining whether to set aside a conviction, including:
The nature and circumstances of the offense that the conviction is based on
The applicant’s compliance with the conditions of probation, the sentence imposed and any state department of corrections’ rules or regulations, if applicable
Any prior or subsequent convictions
The victim’s input and the status of victim restitution, if any
The length of time that has elapsed since the completion of the application sentence
The applicant’s age at the time of the conviction and
Any other factor relevant to the application.
As you can see from this list of factors, the judge has a lot of discretion in granting your set aside. In addition, certain counties like Maricopa County are generally more hesitant to grant set asides, particularly for those that have only been recently discharged from their sentence. For example, in the case of Maricopa County, you should probably wait at least two years from final discharge if you’ve got one conviction, and around five years if you have more than one conviction.
- 3. What Offenses are Ineligible to be Set Aside?expand_more
The following types of criminal convictions cannot be set aside under current Arizona law:
Offenses involving the infliction of serious physical injury with the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or a “Dangerous Offense”
Offenses where the person is required or ordered by the court to register as a sex offender under ARS 13-3821
Offenses where there has been a finding of sexual motivation under ARS 13-118
Offenses where the victim is a minor under the age of 15 or
Driving on a suspended, revoked, or cancelled license under ARS 28-3473, any local ordinance relating to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle, except for Reckless Driving under ARS 28-693 or any similar local ordinance.
A “Dangerous Offense” is defined as “an offense involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury on another person.” In other words, if you are convicted of using a deadly weapon to seriously injure somebody, Arizona law will never allow you to restore your right to own a firearm.
Note that if you are seeking to set aside an offense that is not deemed “Serious Offense” under ARS 13-706, setting aside your conviction will typically restore your Second Amendment rights to own and possess a firearm at both the state and federal level if it has been at least two years from final discharge of your sentence. However, if you have been convicted of a “Serious Offense” you will need to satisfy the additional requirements of ARS 13-910 that is discussed in greater detail on our Arizona Firearm Rights Restoration page.
A "Crime of Violence" means any offense involving the use, or threatened use, of force or violence against the person or property of another; OR any felony for which there is a substantial risk that force or violence may be used against the person or property of another in the commission of the felony.
Legal Effect Of Sealing Your Arizona Conviction
Setting Aside a conviction under Arizona law allows you to legally state that you were not arrested and have not been convicted of a crime, and in many cases, setting aside the conviction will restore your firearm rights as well. The two biggest issues our law firm’s client’s encounter relate to obtaining employment with a criminal record and restoring their firearm rights, so we’re going to take a little extra time to discuss each.
- How Will Setting Aside My Conviction Help Me Get a Job?expand_more
Setting aside an Arizona conviction is currently the best way to improve your chances of getting a job when you have a criminal record. Obtaining a set aside indicates that you’re no longer a “criminal” and releases you from the judgement of guilt. Unfortunately, it does not completely destroy or remove your record from the public record. Instead, when you are granted a set aside, the court vacates your conviction and dismisses the charges.
It would be preferable if the set aside completely eliminated your conviction, but setting a conviction aside releases you of a judgement of guilt and is the best thing you can do to make it easier to get a job with a criminal record. It depends on the employer, but you may have to disclose the incident, even if it has been set aside. However, it is far better when you can explain that the charge has now been dismissed and you are no longer a “criminal” under Arizona law. While setting aside a conviction in Arizona is not a perfect solution when you’re trying to get a job, it’s the best option available, and should put you in a far better position to get hired.
- Will Setting Aside My Conviction Restore My Second Amendment Rights?expand_more
Arizona law provides two different methods to restore your firearm rights. If you were not convicted of a “Serious Offense” set forth in ARS 13-706, a simple set aside should restore your right to own a firearm in most cases if it has been two years since final discharge from the terms of your sentence. A list of “Serious Offenses” can be found in the Firearm Rights Restoration section below of this page. However, if you were convicted of a “Serious Offense” you may still restore your firearm rights in many cases 10 years after final discharge from the terms of your sentence so long as your offense was not a “Dangerous Offense” under Arizona law (Dangerous Offenses are discussed in greater detail below).
Not everybody with an Arizona conviction can restore their constitutional right to own or possess firearms, but Arizona’s laws are pretty favorable when compared to the process in other states. It should be noted that you can almost never restore firearm rights based on federal convictions, and it can be very difficult if your Second Amendment rights were taken away due to a domestic violence conviction. For more information about federal firearm rights and domestic violence charges, the Department of Justice has resources you can find about domestic violence convictions.
We will go into more detail relating to restoring Second Amendment rights in Arizona below, but restoring firearm rights typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test, and then if appropriate, setting up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.Some of the Potential Benefits of Setting Aside Your Arrest Record in Arizona Include:
Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job
Restoring your Second Amendment Rights to own a firearm
Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
We Are Here to Help
Each of Arizona's methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Arizona criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Arizona criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Arizona criminal record.
You can trust thats you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Arizona state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!