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Up until very recently, there was no option established under Arizona state law to have any kind of criminal record formally expunged or sealed. The closest equivalent was a “set aside” order that did not fully remove the charge from an applicant’s record. However, thanks to legislative efforts in 2021, a new law will go into effect at the start of 2023 that will allow certain qualifying individuals to have case records for particular criminal offenses sealed.
However, the process for having criminal records sealed or set aside is complex. You will need assistance from a knowledgeable defense attorney to achieve a positive outcome in your case. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we believe that you have a way of life worth fighting for, and we are here to help you move forward after a criminal conviction. If you want to explore your options for cleaning up a criminal record, schedule a conversation with a Glendale expungement lawyer today.
A “set aside” order does not erase a conviction or charge from an applicant’s record. However, anyone who looks up their record—for example, an employer performing a background check—will see that the matter has been “set aside.” This is a favorable status and can help improve a person’s prospects.
Depending on the circumstances, this order may specify that a court vacated a conviction in accordance with state law, that all charges filed against the applicant were dismissed, or that the applicant has fulfilled any conditions of their criminal sentence and/or probation—and has had their civil rights restored in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes §13-907.
Importantly, though, set-aside orders are not available for any of the following types of offenses:
Furthermore, a separate petition is required for anyone convicted of a felony offense to have their right to bear arms restored, with additional criteria and restrictions applicable under A.R.S. §13-910. In a consultation, a local attorney at our firm can review options for pursuing a set aside order.
Beginning on January 1, 2023, A.R.S. §13-911 will allow certain individuals to petition for the sealing of all related case records. This is an option for convicted individuals who have completed all ensuing terms and conditions imposed by their sentence, arrested individuals who were not charged with any criminal offense, or people who faced criminal charges that were later dropped, or which resulted in a not guilty finding at trial. All offenses except Class 1 felonies and certain offenses of violent and/or sexual natures will be eligible for sealing under this law.
However, even if a petitioner has their records sealed, the offense will still be considered when enhancing potential penalties for subsequent convictions, and it will still count as admissible evidence in various other contexts. An expungement lawyer at our Glendale office can provide more specific information about how this law will work and how to begin preparing a petition in the meantime.
For a long time, Arizona lagged behind most other U.S. states in terms of options for state residents to have criminal records sealed. Fortunately, recent legal changes will soon open more options for Arizona residents to clean their records and move forward with their lives.
At Grand Canyon Law Group, we understand the difficulties that people face after run-ins with the law, and we believe in your right to a second chance. Discuss your goals with a Glendale expungement lawyer and schedule a private consultation to learn more about your options for improving a criminal record.