Is your criminal record having a negative effect on your life? You may be eligible to set aside your convictions under Arizona law ARS 13-905. A conviction set aside is Arizona’s version of expungement. Although a true expungement process is not available in Arizona, there are many benefits to setting aside your felony or misdemeanor convictions, including helping you move past your criminal record and increasing your employment opportunities. It may also automatically restore your gun rights.
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime and have completed your sentence (probation or prison), then you may be qualified to have your Arizona conviction set aside. In Arizona, the closest process to expungement is ARS 13-905, which deals with setting aside a conviction. Under ARS 13-905, except for certain disqualified convictions, after you have completed your sentence, then you may file an application with a judge to have your conviction set aside. You can apply even if you have multiple felony or misdemeanor convictions on your record.
Expungement defined strictly, is not the same as a conviction set aside. The expungement definition may differ from state to state, but expungement generally means that a conviction is completely erased from a person’s record. Some states like California and Illinois allow for the expungement of criminal records.
Unfortunately, there is no pure expungement in Arizona. Setting aside a conviction is Arizona’s version of expungement, but it does not completely delete the conviction from your record like pure expungement does. Arizona law considers keeping convictions part of your record a matter of public protection. But your record will also show that your conviction has been set aside.
In Arizona, who is eligible for expungement under ARS 13-905 for a conviction set aside depends on the following:
Completing your sentence not only means that your probation term or prison term is over. It also means that you have fulfilled all other terms of your sentence such as paying any fines, fees, and restitution, or completing any required counseling or community service.
In states that have a pure expungement law, many crimes are not eligible for expungement. However, because Arizona does not have a pure expungement law, most convictions in Arizona can be set aside. The types of criminal convictions that Arizona does not allow to be set aside include:
If the court grants your application, then the judge signs an order setting aside your judgment, dismisses the charge or complaint against you, and releases you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from your conviction. However, setting aside your conviction does not apply to the Arizona Department of Transportation or the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For example, a set aside conviction does not release you from any required suspension or revocation of your driver license
As you seek to move past your criminal conviction, a court order officially vacating your judgment of guilt and dismissing the charges against you can provide personal, emotional, and psychological relief. Additionally, going through Arizona’s version of an expungement process to have a set aside conviction under ARS 13-905 can also have the following benefits:
Because the Arizona process of setting aside a conviction is not a pure expungement process, a conviction set aside under ARS 13-905 still won’t:
Also, if you are later charged with another crime and your set aside conviction meets other legal requirements, the prosecution may still be able to use a set aside conviction to try to get a tougher sentence or to use it against you if you testify.
If you are asked whether you have any prior convictions such as on an application for employment, insurance, or a loan, then you must still give information about your set aside conviction. But you should also explain that the conviction has been set aside. The language in the court order setting aside your conviction is powerful language. The order will show that the court set aside your judgment, dismissed the charge against you, and released you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from your conviction.
A felony conviction suspends your civil rights, including your right to vote, serve as a juror, and possess a gun. If you only have one felony conviction, then your civil rights (except for your gun rights) will be automatically restored after you have completed your sentence. For the restoration of gun rights, you must still apply under ARS 13-910.
Automatic Restoration of Gun Rights. However, there is some overlap in Arizona’s laws that allow you to automatically restore your gun rights through a conviction set aside without having to file a separate application to restore your gun rights.
With a conviction set aside, gun rights are automatically restored without having to wait two years after you have been discharged from probation or prison before you can normally to apply to restore gun rights.Generally, as long as your felony conviction was not for a dangerous offense (under ARS 13-704) or a serious offense (under ARS 13-706), then your gun rights are automatically restored if your conviction is set aside.
Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence. Misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence are unique in that Federal law 18 USC 922(g)(9) prohibits individuals from possessing a gun or ammunition when they have been convicted of a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in any court (federal, state, or tribal). This federal law is commonly known as the Lautenberg Amendment. However, if your Arizona misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence is set aside, then the federal prohibition against firearm possession does not apply under 18 USC 921(a)(33)(B). So, you must set aside any qualifying misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence to fully restore your gun rights.
Under A.R.S. § 13-909, if a person was convicted of a charge of prostitution and it is found that their participation was a direct result of being a victim of sex trafficking, then the conviction can be vacated entirely, which is basically expungement. In vacating the conviction:
Each year, the expungement lawyers at Feldman & Royle dedicate free legal service hours to helping those less fortunate or deserving. As a result, individuals who meet the requirements under A.R.S. § 13-909 may qualify to have their case handled by an attorney at Feldman & Royle at no cost. Feel free to call our office to obtain further information about an expungement of your case.
If you have been convicted of a crime in Arizona, there are two main reasons why hiring an expungement lawyer and having the conviction set aside can help.
If you are living under the shadow of a prior criminal conviction, speak to an experienced expungement attorney at Feldman & Royle. The initial consultation is free.
Once the set aside is granted in Arizona, the digital record will reflect the set aside normally within a few days. However, the expungement process from investigating and filing to the granting of the expungement can often take months.
The cost to hire an expungement lawyer varies widely based on the lawyer you plan to hire, and the expected time associated with the expungement. Some expungement lawyers cost much more than others and some expungement cases are far more difficult and time intensive than others.
Generally speaking, a simple misdemeanor expungement will cost significantly less than a set aside that involves multiple felonies and their associated prison and probation documents. Tips for selecting a lawyer can be found here.
It depends. Whether domestic violence charges can be expunged depends on the underlying crime that domestic violence allegation is associated with. Luckily most crimes, even those that involve domestic violence, can be set aside under Arizona law.
The length of a police investigation for leaving the scene of an accident depends on a number of factors. While some simple leaving the scene of an accident investigations are open and shut others can span weeks or months as police track down witnesses, surveillance cameras and cell phone tower information on suspects.
A dismissal is when a criminal matter is dismissed in the court system BEFORE a finding of guilt. Expungement is the process for cleaning your record AFTER a finding of guilt.
In Arizona, anyone who has completed their sentence and has not been convicted of a disqualifying crime, is eligible for expungement.
The Arizona expungement process can often be a lengthy process. Our office can normally have an application or motion submitted to the court for review within a couple of weeks, depending on what records need to be requested and submitted with the expungement motion. However, it’s not uncommon for an Arizona expungement to take an additional 90 or so days for the court to rule on the motion.
The short answer is no, a conviction set aside is not the same as expungement. Some jurisdictions like California and Illinois, have a process known as expungement. While the precise definition will vary from state to state, the term generally means that the conviction has been completely erased. Unfortunately, there is no pure expungement in Arizona. While the set aside statute works to shield people from the effects of convictions, the process does not delete the conviction from the record like pure expungement does.