Arizona Expungement Laws
It is possible for most people to expunge their criminal record in Arizona— even if the sentence resulted in prison time. The legal process is called setting aside. The process takes about 3 months in most counties. Take our free online eligibility test to see if your eligible. The test is confidential and only takes a few minutes.
Setting aside the conviction does not destroy the court records. It changes them from saying guilty and convicted to finding of guilt set-aside and case dismissed. So, as most background checks only report convictions, the set-aside conviction will not appear on most background checks. And for the those few background checks that show all cases, even dismissed ones, it looks better to have a set-aside conviction than an actual conviction.
Most lawyers charge around $800 to set-aside (expunge) a criminal record in Arizona. Prices might be higher in Maricopa county as the courts in Maricopa are generally more difficult to deal with. However, some attorneys offer payment plans and even money back guarantees in case your set aside gets denied by the judge.
There are a lot of things that follow us around in life. Our education degrees and job experiences become part of our working resume. Our family history and relatives will always be with us in some form or another. One item that you don't want following you around is an arrest record.
The result of a bad decision like driving while intoxicated or vandalizing some property can lead to an arrest. Even a silly Halloween prank gone wrong can land you in trouble. If you are arrested in Arizona for a minor offense, there is a good chance you can have your criminal record expunged. In Arizona this is called setting aside a judgment. If this is granted, then your arrest record will be effectively wiped out as if it never happened. That's how to make a fresh start.
Once your Arizona arrest record is expunged, you may be able to own a gun, vote and find it easier to apply for a job. As with everything in the law there are exceptions. You won't be able to get an expungement in Arizona if the crime you were involved in caused serious physical injury or a deadly weapon was used.
Additionally, your request for expungement will be automatically denied if your crime involved anything of a sexual nature or put a child under the age of 15 in harm's way. Also, if the crime you are seeking to expunge was a driving violation and you were driving with a suspended license, you won't get your expungement.
Obviously, if the matter you were arrested for is later dismissed or you were found not guilty, you will be able to obtain an expungement in Arizona a lot quicker. Even if you were found guilty of a criminal offense you can still petition for an expungement if you have completed your jail sentence, probation or any substance abuse programs ordered by the court. These programs could also include anger management courses. You also can have any additional criminal offenses for up to six years from the original offense.
Getting an expungement in Arizona means going before the court again. You will have to present all the appropriate documentation and proof of the completion of your sentence. To prepare yourself for an expungement hearing, you should be working with an experience Arizona attorney. They will be able to guide you through the paperwork and help you understand all your options. No one should face a judge alone; especially when their personal record is at stake.
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