Even after you serve whatever sentence is imposed upon you for a criminal offense, having a conviction on your record can be severely limiting in terms of educational opportunities, career options, and even the availability of housing. Fortunately, there are some circumstances under which your criminal conviction may be “set aside,” significantly minimizing its long-term effects on your life.
This process, commonly referred to as “expungement,” may be an option worth discussing with a skilled attorney. If you are struggling to move on from a past mistake that led to legal trouble, get support from a Phoenix expungement/set aside lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group.
The state of Arizona does not explicitly establish “expungement” as an option for people convicted of crimes under state law. Instead, the law refers to the process of clearing a convicted defendant’s record as “setting aside a conviction.” As per Arizona Revised Statutes §13-905, a convicted person who has completed all terms of imprisonment or probation and fulfilled all other requirements included in their post-conviction statute may petition for the court to “set aside” that conviction.
Notably, there are some criminal offenses that cannot be set aside in Arizona, including:
Certain traffic-related violations, such as driving with a revoked and suspended license, are also not eligible to be set aside. A local expungement attorney can provide further clarification about whether a specific offense could be set aside under current state law.
Pursuing a “set aside” in Phoenix begins with a formal written motion submitted to the court, which a knowledgeable lawyer can help accomplish effectively and efficiently. The court may consider various factors when reviewing such a petition, including the nature of the offense, whether the petitioner has provided restitution to their victim(s) and/or complied with conditions of probation, the petitioner’s age, and how much time has passed since the petitioner’s original conviction.
If the court grants the petition, they will generally provide the petitioner with a “certificate of second chance.” This specifically releases the petitioner from “barriers and disabilities” to obtaining certain occupational licenses that came with their conviction and provides the protections listed under ARS §12-558.03 to any employer or housing provider who later works with the petitioner.
Notably, a conviction that has been set aside in Arizona will remain on the petitioner’s criminal record, although that record will show that the set aside was granted. An experienced Phoenix attorney can further explain the legal details of pursuing a set aside.
For people convicted of crimes under Arizona state law, “setting aside” a conviction can be hugely beneficial to qualifying applicants. It is also possible for first-time offenders convicted of felonies to have certain civil rights restored through a similar process.
A Phoenix expungement lawyer can answer your questions and offer guidance about potential courses of action during a confidential initial meeting. The legal team at Grand Canyon Law Group is here to protect your rights and way of life. Call today to schedule a consultation.