Top 10 Questions about How to Expunge a Criminal Conviction.
- Can You Get Your Criminal Record Expunged in Arizona?
- What is the Difference between Post-Conviction Set Aside and Expungement?
- How Long Does a Felony Remain On Your Record in Arizona?
- How Long Does a Misdemeanor Remain on Your Record in Arizona?
- What Crimes Cannot be Removed Off Your Record?
- Can an Expungement Lawyer Restore My Civil Rights?
- What About Convictions that Occurred in a Different State?
- Can You Set Aside Federal Convictions in Arizona?
- If My Conviction has been Set Aside, Will it Still Show Up on a Background Check?
- How does a Criminal Conviction Record Affect My Life?
Where to Start: Arizona Expungement / Set Aside
Having a criminal conviction on your record can make many things in your life a little more difficult. Job and rental applications often ask if you have ever been convinced of a crime, and although they leave space to explain the conviction, it would be much nicer to be able to say that the conviction was set aside and then explain what happened in your past.
If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, misdemeanor or felony, you may be able to have your conviction set aside. Many people refer to this as an expungement off your record. However, Arizona does not expunge, or remove, a past conviction from your record like some other states. In Arizona, the courts will set aside a criminal conviction. This means that the conviction occurred, but it is no longer recognized.
If you want to set aside a criminal conviction from your record, you will need to contact a criminal defense attorney to manage your request. An expungement lawyer can make sure that everything is prepared correctly so that the court will agree to take the conviction off your record.
1. Can You Get Your Criminal Record Expunged in Arizona?
You cannot have a conviction removed from your record completely, but you can have it classified as set aside. This means that the law no longer recognizes the conviction and does not consider you a convict. Working with a set-aside lawyer can help you through this process and clean up your past conviction.
2. What is the Difference between Post-Conviction Set Aside and Expungement?
The main difference between a post-conviction set-aside and expungement is that your conviction will still show on your record when it has been set aside. Arizona law will not allow you to completely remove or expunge the record of a conviction. However, as your set aside expungement lawyer will explain when a conviction has been set aside, the law no longer recognizes the past crime.
3. How Long Does a Felony Remain On Your Record In Arizona?
Arizona law states that any felony conviction that occurs within its state, such as a felony aggravated DUI, will remain on the convicted person’s record until the age of 99. The only exception to this law is if the person was a minor and that minor was not convicted of a dangerous offense or a sexual offense. The only thing that a person can do once they have been convicted is to contact a set-aside lawyer and apply to have the conviction set aside. At that time, the conviction will be seen as something in the past, and many civil rights will be restored.
4. How Long Does A Misdemeanor Remain On Your Record In Arizona?
Arizona laws regarding the length of time that a conviction remains on your record do not distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, such as a DUI conviction, it will remain on your record until you reach the age of 99.
5. What Crimes Cannot Be Removed Off Your Record?
You cannot have a conviction set aside in Arizona if you have been convicted of any of the following crimes:
- Any crime considered dangerous or that inflicted harm on another person
- Any crime that is sexual in nature and requires the convict to register with the sexual offender’s database
- Some sexual crimes that do not require registration with the database
- Most crimes that involve a victim that is under the age of 15
- Certain driving offenses
It is very important to speak with an attorney about having your conviction set aside. Arizona law changes frequently, and many persons that were not previously eligible to have their convictions set aside may now qualify.
6. Can An Expungement Lawyer Restore My Civil Rights?
Most civil rights, such as the right to vote, hold office, and perform jury duty will be restored when your conviction has been set aside. Your attorney will explain to you what rights are automatically granted when the set aside is complete.
Gun ownership rights are different. To have gun ownership rights restored after being convicted of a felony, the applicant must:
- Wait two years or more after they have been discharged from jail and have paid all restitution.
- Persons convicted of “serious offenses” such as common felonies, sexual offenses, and crimes against children, must wait for ten years after discharge to apply for the rights to own a gun.
- Persons convicted of “dangerous crimes” or those that include using a deadly weapon or intentionally inflicting physical harm on others will not have the ability to restore gun ownership rights.
7. What About Convictions That Occurred in a Different State?
If you have been convicted of a crime in another state, you cannot file to have the conviction set aside in Arizona. Arizona law only allows people to petition to have convictions set aside for crimes that took place within the state borders.
8. Can You Set Aside Federal Convictions in Arizona?
Arizona courts do not have the authority to set aside or expunge convictions that take place in a federal court. You will have to petition the federal court system to have any federal convictions expunged from your record.
9. If My Conviction Has Been Set Aside, Will it Still Show Up on a Background Check?
If you have successfully had your conviction set aside by the court, the conviction will still appear on your background check. However, your background check will reflect the fact that the conviction has been set aside and that the court no longer recognizes the crime or conviction.
Anyone that is conducting a criminal background check must acknowledge that the conviction has been set aside and must not view your record as containing a criminal conviction.
Thankfully, many employers and rental agencies will only perform a background check for a few previous years. This means that with time, many people will not even see the conviction at all or that it was set aside. In some states, the state even limits how far back a company can research your background.
10. How Does A Criminal Conviction Record Affect My Life?
A criminal record can impact so many different areas of your life. It can affect your job or potential job, apartment rental, or other leasing options, and even have an impact on your personal life.
However, applying to have a conviction set aside can change everything. The set-aside means that the court no longer views the criminal action as valid, and therefore, it basically never occurred.
Having your criminal record cleared can help you reestablish many of your civil rights. It can help you secure better job positions and show your loved ones that you have moved on from your mistake in the past. Having a conviction set aside is also very beneficial to your mental well-being.
When the court grants you a set aside for your conviction, it is saying that you have completed all the penalties for the crime. You have served your jail sentence and made the proper restitution. In their eyes, the action no longer exists, and therefore, in your eyes, you can leave this incident in the past.
Hiring A Criminal Set Aside / Expungement Lawyer
If you have a criminal conviction in your past and you are ready to move on with your life, it is time to contact a set-aside attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you meet all of the necessary qualifications for the court to have your conviction set aside.
Set Aside attorney Arja Shah, will review your case and determine if all of the penalties attached to your case have been met, such as time served and restitution. The court no longer requires that all of your court fees or fines are paid in full before applying for a set-aside.
If all the qualifications have been met, your attorney will begin the Petition to the Court to ask for your conviction to be set aside. If you meet all criteria, it is most likely that your request will be granted, you will have a majority of your civil rights restored, and your conviction will be set aside.
The Petitions can be very complicated. The court will not award a set aside if they feel that the person has not met all the criteria for this type of proceeding or if the case cannot show that this was not a crime that is disqualified from a set-aside award.
Arizona law no longer requires that you apply for a set aside at the same court where you were convicted. Any court within the state of Arizona has the ability to set aside your conviction. This change to the law has made having your previous conviction set aside much more attainable.
If you are wondering if it is worth the effort to have a conviction set aside, especially if it was a misdemeanor, the answer is yes. Even if your conviction was for a minor crime or a misdemeanor, making an effort to have it removed from your record can improve many different areas of your life. Showing employers and insurers, and rental companies that these things are in your past and no longer valid can help you achieve the goals you have now set for yourself.
Working with attorney Arja Shah can simplify the entire set aside process. If you are ready to put the past in the past, it is time to contact a criminal conviction record set-aside attorney today.