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Until 2021, Arizona was the only state in the country with no legal means for residents to petition for non-conviction criminal records to be hidden from public view, or “expunged.” Fortunately, legislation passed in July 2021 will establish a system for qualifying residents to seek expungement of non-conviction records. It will also expand the rights of residents to seek expungement of records from certain cases that ended with convictions.
This system goes into effect on January 1, 2023. A seasoned attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can explain how this system works and help you build an airtight petition. Anyone with questions about this type of procedure—or about the system currently in place for “setting aside” convictions under certain circumstances—should consult a New River expungement lawyer.
As of 2022, the closest thing Arizona residents have to expungement of their criminal records is the process of having convictions “set aside.” This is sometimes an option for convicted defendants who have completed all conditions of their term of imprisonment and/or probation. While this does not remove the conviction from the defendant’s record or hide it from any employers performing a background check, it does add a designation to the record that the conviction was set aside.
Notably, people convicted of certain types of offenses are ineligible to have those convictions set aside. This includes:
For those who were arrested and/or formally charged for a crime but then cleared of all charges in court, there is an option to have a note put on their record that they were cleared. A New River expungement attorney can further explain a person’s legal options in a consultation.
Starting in 2023, Arizona Revised Statutes §13-911 will allow state residents to petition a court to seal all records related to a prior conviction once they have completed all court-imposed terms and conditions, including jail or prison terms, probation requirements, restitution to people affected by the offense, and other financial obligations. With a lawyer’s assistance, expungement will also be possible for New River residents who were charged with a crime but found not guilty at trial or had their charges dismissed. People who were arrested for but never formally charged with a crime will also be able to pursue expungement.
Different time limits will apply based on the severity of the offense to be expunged. For example, people convicted of class 1 misdemeanors will need to wait three years after completing all terms of their sentence before filing their petition. Waiting periods can be as long as ten years following convictions for class 3 and class 2 felony offenses. The petitioner will also need to convince the court that having their records expunged will both serve their own best interests and protect the public’s safety.
Expungement will soon become a more powerful option in Arizona that hides applicable records from public view rather than simply adding a disclaimer to an existing record. Both now and in the future, guidance from experienced legal counsel will be essential to getting the most out of this legal proceeding.
A New River expungement lawyer can provide the custom-tailored support you need to defend your rights effectively. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today for a consultation.