The drug charges occurred 6 yrs ago and I need a level 1 fingerprint clearance card for my internship. I thought that once the conviction charges were set aside they could no longer be held against you. Thank you for your time in answering my question.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The fingerprint clearance card statute says two things about convictions. Number one, if you commit certain crimes (they list dozens of them) then you absolutely are prohibited from obtaining a fingerprint clearance card. None of these offenses are drug offenses. Number two, if you commit other certain crimes (again, dozens are listed) you are "precluded" from getting a fingerprint clearance card, whether the conviction was set aside or not. Some of these include drug convictions. Having said that, although you will be automatically denied when you apply for the card if you committed one of these offense, you can apply for a good cause exception. There is a packet that you can obtain on their website for how to apply for the exception, and in your letter explaining why you should get the exception it would be relevant to mention you have all your civil rights back and the conviction was set aside. At first they conduct an "expedited" review within 45 days and either grant you your card or they set a "good cause exception hearing." At that point you go before a board of people (yes there is a fingerprint clearance card board) in Phoenix and you can try proving to them why you should get the good cause exception. If you don't get the card after the expedited review I suggest hiring an attorney for an actual hearing.
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