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How long does a misdemeanor shoplifting charge stay on your record if you reside in Arizona? How can it be removed from record?

Safford, AZ |

I had court today in which I was hoping for a diversion for this offense. The city attorney gave me two options: to plead guilty and pay fine or for this to go to trial in which he advised me that I would loose, badly. So of course I chose to plead guilty and endure the fines/criminal record. Now I am wondering about how this will effect my ability to get a decent job, how long it will stay on my record, and if so, can it be removed from my record once all fines are paid. I did not get any probation or jail time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Attorney Answers 3


It is permanent. Arizona law does not allow you to remove it from your record. The best you can do is get it "set aside." However, on background checks it will still show up on your record. When you answer job applications you must still say you were convicted of a crime, but you can add that the conviction was set aside.

How will it effect you ability to get a decent job? I'm not sure. That depends on a lot of factors and the kind of job you are looking for.

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As my colleague mentioned, Arizona does not expunge or seal criminal convictions, irrespective of how much time has elapsed.

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It is good advice to request that your conviction be "set aside" because it sets aside the conviction. It does not reverse the conviction but it does in a sense make it inactive. In most misdemeanor/lower courts, judges will set aside a conviction once all of the sentencing requirements have been completed. Once you pay the fines, you can file a motion to set aside the conviction. Many courts even have a short form that you can fill out, sign and file. No fee is required in criminal cases. This is something you should be able to do on your own.

I have filed dozens of requests and have never had one denied. It won't make a difference in all background checks but I have had clients pass back ground checks after getting a conviction set aside. It may allow you to get a fingerprint card that you could not get with the conviction on your record.

If you can't do it yourself, hire an attorney that regularly takes misdemeanors that way you are less likely to be overcharged.

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This answer is intended to only provide general information and does not establish an attorney- client relationship. You may wish to consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.

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