Anytime someone is charged with a crime, it’s important to understand the potential repercussions that surround it. Unlike a misdemeanor, a felony conviction often has effects that last for the rest of your life. Especially for certain crimes, like violent crimes, sex crimes involving children, white-collar crimes, federal crimes, and crimes involving a deadly weapon, they might never stop affecting you. However, it’s important to speak with a qualified Phoenix criminal defense attorney before assuming that you aren’t eligible for expungement.
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we value each and every attorney client relationship, and we understand the stress you’re under. Those with criminal records or arrest records often want normal lives, free from judgment. To determine whether or not you can start the expungement process, we invite you to contact our Phoenix law firm. Call today at 602-910-4040 or fill out our online intake form.
Can Felonies Be Expunged?
Yes, but not all states allow this and not all felonies are eligible. Every state has different rules regarding one’s criminal history. Some states still allow people to have their records expunged for all or most felony criminal convictions. However, other states do not allow expungement of felonies at all. Additionally, some felonies are almost never eligible for expungement. Generally, these are crimes like murder, violent crimes, and sex crimes involving children. However, a low-level felony, such as a Class 6, may be eligible. Speak with a Class 6 felony lawyer for more information.
Many criminal offenses have a waiting period requirement before they can have the record expunged. Other criminal charges have additional requirements. Further, many states actually seal criminal records from public view if you achieve an expungement. Private parties, such as the following, won’t be able to see it on your criminal record.
- Complete strangers
- Potential or current employers
- Journalists and media outlets
What Records Can Be Expunged?
As we stated previously, each state has their own requirements for what could have an expunged record. Certain criminal records are much more likely to be eligible than others. We list these below.
- Juvenile record or offenses
- Charges that were dismissed or dropped
- Arrest records
- Traffic violations
- Non-violent crimes
- Low-level misdemeanor conviction
It’s important to note that convictions are the types of things on your criminal record that are less likely to be sealed from the public.
Who Is Not Eligible for Expungement in Arizona?
Under ARS 13-905, it’s possible to have your criminal record set aside in Arizona. Rather than having a true expungement process, Arizona has a “conviction set aside” process. There are still some major benefits that come from setting aside a misdemeanor or felony conviction. One of which is helping you to move past your criminal record or juvenile record and become more eligible for employment opportunities. It could also restore your gun rights in the state.
Those who want to set aside their conviction must meet certain requirements. ARS 13-905 clearly outlines who does and does not qualify for a conviction set aside. Eligibility depends on the following three factors.
- Whether or not you have completed your sentence
- Whether or not yours is a disqualified conviction, which is listed in ARS 13-905
- Other relevant factors that judges must consider by law
You Must Complete Your Sentence
Finishing your sentence entails more than just the end of your probation or jail sentence. It also indicates you’ve completed all other aspects of your sentence, including paying any penalties, fees, or reparations, as well as any counseling or community service requirements.
- Probation: It’s important to note that you may only file a set aside application after your probation period discharge. When you submit your set aside application, include the appropriate orders dismissing you from probation.
- Prison: You must also provide a Certificate of Absolute Discharge from the Arizona Department of Corrections with your application. This only applies if you were sentenced to mandatory jail time. The certificate verifies that you served your time in state prison, jail time, parole, or community supervision period. This document does not state whether or not you have paid your court-ordered fees, fines, or restitution.
- Financial Obligations: Lastly, you must pay all your fees, fines, and restitution before a judge will even consider your Arizona expungement application. The court generally contacts the local court clerk’s office after you file to ensure that you have made all your payments.
Must Not Be a Disqualified Conviction
Many offenses are not authorized for expungement in states with a pure expungement statute. Because Arizona does not have a complete expungement legislation, most convictions can be set aside. The following are the categories of criminal convictions that Arizona does not allow to be overturned.
- Driving with a driver’s license suspension
- Violations of ARS Title 28, Chapter 3 (criminal speeding, felony flight, exhibition of speed, hit and run, and aggressive driving)
- Important: It is possible to set aside a DUI conviction in Arizona, as it is a violation of Title 28, Chapter 4, not Chapter 3. Reckless driving can also be set aside.
- Convictions involving a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon
- Convictions involving inflictions of serious physical injury
- Those convictions for which you have to register as a sex offender (or register for offender monitoring)
- Convictions in which there is a finding of sexual motivation
- Convictions involving a victim or victims under the age of 15
Factors That a Judge Must Consider
Who is eligible for expungement under ARS 13-905 is also determined by a set of criteria that a court must evaluate while deciding whether or not to overturn your conviction. The following are some of these factors.
- How old you are at the time of the conviction
- How much time has passed since you completed your sentence
- Input from the victim and the status of restitution
- Prior or subsequent convictions
- Nature and circumstances of the offense
- How compliant you are with probation conditions, as well as the sentence imposed
- Other factors relevant to your expungement petition
What Can An Arizona Expungement Do For Me?
If the court approves your request, the judge will write an order setting aside your judgment, dismissing the charge or allegation against you, and absolving you of any fines and limitations associated with your conviction. The Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, however, are exempt from putting aside your conviction. A set aside conviction, for example, does not exempt you from any compulsory driver license suspension or revocation.
We understand that, after your criminal conviction, you just want a fresh start. An official court order that vacates your guilty judgment and dismisses your charges can bring you immense relief. Achieving positive results after applying to have your records expunged can have the following benefits.
Improves Your Career and Employment Opportunities
Whether you’re looking for a new job or a promotion within your present company, having a felony history can be a major roadblock. Your criminal record will show up in a job background check since Arizona does not allow for genuine expungement. However, a statement will appear on your record noting that your conviction was overturned. Employers are more inclined to look positively on someone who has had a conviction overturned.
Professional Licensing Requirements
A criminal conviction can have major consequences for your professional license, no matter what kind of job you have. If you hold a professional license, your licensing authority or board may request the conviction to be overturned. In other cases, the licensing agency may request that the conviction be set aside in order to guarantee that all legal criteria have been met in order to get a professional license. Switching your conviction to a set aside for a licensed professional is required in Arizona since there is no true expungement.
Expand Your Housing Opportunities
Criminal convictions can make it difficult for a person to rent or buy a home in many cases. When leasing or buying a home, landlords and banks are increasingly doing criminal background checks. In order to acquire housing or loans, HOAs and insurance companies frequently ask that a conviction be set aside. Your conviction would not even turn up in a background check if Arizona had a proper expungement legislation. However, even if you don’t get your conviction expunged, a set aside conviction might assist you in getting housing.
Improve Your Child Custody Situation
When coping with child custody difficulties, it would be excellent if you could have a felony conviction expunged from your record. You can, luckily, diminish the power of a conviction on your record by having the conviction overturned. A vacated conviction demonstrates to the court that you have been reformed and that a judge has recognized this.
Restore Your Civil Rights
When a conviction is eligible for set aside, any civil rights that were lost due to the conviction are reinstated after the conviction is overturned. A second application is only necessary in rare circumstances to restore gun rights.
Increase Your Chances of Getting a Fingerprint Clearance Card
Many occupations in Arizona are required by law to have a valid fingerprint clearance card prior to licensing, certification, or employment. Setting aside the relevant conviction can assist those with an existing or revoked Arizona Fingerprint Card acquiring a card by filing for a Good Cause Exception.
Read Also: Can a Felon Get a Passport?
Does Expungement Completely Hide a Criminal Record?
A set aside in Arizona is not the same thing as a pure expungement in other states. Therefore, there are a few things that a set aside won’t do, which we list below.
- Completely erase the conviction
- Purge your arrest record
- Seal or destroy the court files
- Remove the conviction from your DMV records
- Prevent certain agencies from considering a conviction for fingerprint clearance cards
Furthermore, if you are later arrested for another crime and your set aside conviction fits other legal standards, prosecutors may still be allowed to use it against you if you testify or to attempt to seek a harsher punishment.
You must still provide details about your set aside convictions if you are asked about past convictions on applications for jobs, insurance, or loans. However, you should also mention that the conviction has been overturned. The wording in the court judgment vacating your conviction is quite significant. The order will state that the court overturned your verdict, annulled the case against you, and absolved you of any fines and restrictions imposed as a result of your conviction.
How Long Does It Take for Your Record to Reflect an Expungement?
Within a few days after the set aside is issued in Arizona, the digital record will show the set aside. However, the expungement procedure might take months to complete, from investigation to filing to approval.
How Much Does It Cost to Have Charges Expunged?
The cost of hiring a Phoenix expungement lawyer varies greatly depending on the lawyer you choose and the length of time you estimate the expungement to take. Some expungement lawyers are significantly more expensive than others, and some expungement cases are far more complex and time-consuming. In general, a minor misdemeanor expungement will be less expensive than a set aside including several crimes and their related prison and probation records.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Expunged?
It is debatable. The underlying offense with which the domestic violence accusation is related determines whether the charges can be erased. Fortunately, most crimes, including those involving domestic violence, can be dismissed under Arizona law. Speak with your trusted attorney to see if you qualify.
How Long Does Expungement Take?
The expungement procedure in Arizona might take a long time. Depending on what documents need to be acquired and filed with the expungement petition, you may usually have a petition or motion submitted to the court for consideration within a couple of weeks. However, it’s not unusual for the court to take another 90 days or more to rule on an Arizona expungement request.
Contact Ybarra Maldonado Law Group Today
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and skills you need for your criminal record expungement. Not only will we fight aggressively on your behalf, we’ll also exercise compassion for your situation. We understand that you just want a fresh start, and we’re here to help you achieve that. To schedule a consultation with us, please call 602-910-4040 or fill out our online intake form.