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Can Misdemeanors Be Removed From Your Record in Arizona?
Unfortunately, Arizona does not offer expungements like many other states. However, it is possible to set aside your conviction. Both felony and misdemeanor convictions are eligible for the set aside. While this does not remove the charge or conviction from your record, it does give others some important information. For example, if a potential employer runs a background check before hiring you, they will still see the charge or conviction on your record. However, they also see the set aside order.
This order tells the potential employer that you met all the conditions and requirements for your sentence or probation. The court vacated the conviction, and dismissed your charges. Certain convictions, however, do not allow for set aside orders.
Below, we list the situations in which a set aside is not available:
- Dangerous offenses
- Crimes which require you to register as a sex offender
- Offenses involving sexual motivation
- Crimes in which the victim/s are under 15 years old
- Certain driving offenses
- Offenses involving serious bodily injury
- Driving offenses while possessing a canceled or suspended license
How to Get a Misdemeanor Expunged in Arizona?
To petition your court for a set aside, you must meet and complete all the terms and conditions of your sentence. This includes jail time, parole, probation, and fines. From felonies to misdemeanors, you can petition to set aside these offenses. However, with a conviction of two or more felonies or a prison sentence, you must wait two years before petitioning for the set aside. In order to jumpstart the set aside process, we recommend two things. First, get an attorney. The process can be complicated, and having an experienced criminal lawyer on your side helps immensely. Second, visit the Arizona courts help website. This useful tool includes a form finder, court finder, and even self-help resources.
Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record?
Technically, yes. Set aside orders have notable limitations, and we always recommend understanding what they cannot do.
Below, we list out the limitations of set aside orders:
- Set aside orders do not erase the conviction from your criminal record. If someone performs a background check on you, they still see the convictions. However, it also indicates that the court dismissed your charges. It stresses that the court vacated judgment and dismissed the charges.
- In cases of employment background checks, the potential employer still sees arrests. While some do ask about arrests, most employers are more concerned with convictions.
- Additionally, the state also has the authority to use set aside convictions for future prosecutions against you. Also, a set aside order does not affect or lessen the Department of Transportation’s penalties. For example, if the DOT imposed a license revocation as your penalty, a set aside order does not change this.
- Lastly, set aside orders do not automatically restore civil rights. The right to vote or own a handgun as a convicted felon is a separate petitioning process.
How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in Arizona?
As a result of Arizona’s strict sentencing laws, most misdemeanor and felony convictions will remain on your record until you turn 99. The state does allow for the courts to set aside qualifying offenses, but this only means that they are not in effect – it doesn’t remove them from your criminal record. Anyone who runs a full background check would still see these past crimes documented as having been committed with an annotation next to each conviction stating when it was “set aside.”
What Happens If the Court Declines My Application to Set Aside a Conviction?
Have you been denied your request to set aside a conviction? If so, it’s important that you know how to file for reconsideration. The process varies depending on the reason why the Court originally denied your request. There are instructions available online from the appropriate Arizona courts to help you. Visit the website of the Arizona Judicial Branch to find the necessary forms and applications for all criminal forms. The post-conviction set-aside form is absolutely essential, though you may find other helpful resources as well.
If My Conviction Is Set Aside, Will It Still Show Up on a Background Check?
Yes. If you’re convicted of a crime that is set aside by the judge, this doesn’t remove it from your criminal record. Should someone run a full background check on you, they will still see any convictions that have been set aside. They show up with an attachment noting the set aside order. So, when filling out job applications, it is a good rule of thumb to list all past crimes, regardless of whether or not you received a set aside order.
Also, some employers still frown on a criminal record, but it is easier to get a job with the “set aside” status. In order for your application to be considered by many businesses, they will want proof that your conviction has been set aside. This means turning in all of the necessary paperwork and filling out another background check form.
Let’s say that you were arrested for something in the past, and you’re worried about how that arrest will affect your future. You never received a conviction and the charges were dropped, but the arrest still shows up. Luckily, it is possible to request that your public record state that you were cleared of your charges. Below, we explain how ARS 13-4051 helps those who have an arrest on their record.
- Those who received wrongful charges, indictments, or arrests have the right to petition the superior courts of Arizona to show on all public records that they are cleared.
- The court holds a hearing on the petition. If the judge feels that the individual is innocent, they issue an order to clear the record. Then, a copy of the order is sent to all law enforcement agencies and courts. The court order states that no law enforcement agency or court may release copies of or access to the records to anyone other than those approved by the court.
- Those who receive this court order and fail to comply with it risk liability for damages to the person involved.
Phoenix, Arizona Expungement Lawyer
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we commit ourselves each and every day to protecting the communities of Arizona. We fight on behalf of our clients with aggressive, compassionate representation. Those facing criminal charges, arrests, and convictions deserve to have their voices heard.
Our knowledgeable attorneys have years of combined experience litigating on behalf of our clients. As a client-centered firm with exceptional legal service, we’re here to help with your Arizona expungement (set aside order), DUI charges in Arizona, and even drug possession cases. To schedule a consultation with qualified representation, please call our Phoenix office at 602-910-4040 today.