Getting A Conviction Set Aside In Arizona
Arizona does not expunge criminal records, but does offer a set aside as an option. A set aside "set[s] aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the complaint, information or indictment and order that the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction."
Find Out If You Are EligibleCertain people are always precluded from having a conviction set aside. Those people are those who have been convicted of::
(1) a dangerous offense;
(2) an offense that requires registration as a sex offender;
(3) an offense with a finding of sexual motivation;
(4) a felony offense with a victim aged 15 or under;
(5) certain motor vehicle offenses
Your first step is to determine whether you are eligible for a set aside. If you are not sure you should consult with a criminal defense attorney with experience in set asides.
Complete All of the Requirements of Your SentenceIn order to have a petition to set aside judgment in your case granted you must have completed ALL of the requirements of your sentence. This includes paying fines and fees, completing probation, completing any confinement required, and paying any outstanding restitution.
Often people are discharged from probation without completing all of their requirements, such as community service or paying probation fees. Even if you were discharged from probation successfully you must complete any outstanding requirements of the sentence.
Petition for a Set AsideIf you are eligible for a set aside and you have completed all of the requirements of your sentence, then congratulations, you can petition the court to set aside your conviction. Your next steps are:
(1) determine the court out of which your conviction arises
(2) decide if you want to have an attorney assist you in the petition
(3) if not, find a set aside form from the court or create a motion for the court
(4) submit the form or motion
Once you file your form or motion, the State is given an opportunity to respond. Once they do, or fail to do so, the court will rule on your petition.
Although many courts offer set aside forms, an attorney will often know the best way to present information about you and your history to have your set aside petition granted. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney if you are considering attempting to have a set aside granted.
What a Set Aside Does Not DoIt is important to remember that a set aside does not do a few things. It doesn't:
(1) erase your criminal record. Instead, your conviction will be notated with as being set aside;
(2) preclude the government from using the set aside as a prior, as an element of an offense, or for enforcing certain vehicle laws;
(3) discharge certain motor vehicle or game and fish restrictions caused by the conviction