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How to Look Up Criminal Records in Arizona

Posted on April 3, 2024 in Expungement

Being convicted of a crime in Arizona will create a permanent criminal record. The more you know about criminal records, including how to look them up and who has access to them, the better you will understand your own situation if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Arizona. Knowledge about criminal record searches can allow you to be more proactive in understanding, correcting and setting aside your criminal record.

How to Obtain a Criminal Record Report in Arizona

A criminal record may be stored in multiple locations by several different agencies, including law enforcement offices, state and federal criminal justice databases, and government agencies. They may also end up on the news or social media sites since criminal records are a matter of public record in Arizona unless they are sealed – such as a defendant who is under the age of 18.

According to Arizona Revised Statute Section 41-1750, all documents related to a person’s criminal history are in the public domain. The Arizona Department of Public Safety is the main repository that stores criminal records. 

Only authorized individuals and agencies may access these records. These include employers, law enforcement agencies, the courts and the individual who is the subject of the record.

If you wish to obtain your own criminal record report, you must complete the Record Review Packet from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which you can request by calling (602) 223-2222 (the Criminal History Records Section). The packet will ask for general information about you and require your fingerprints to be taken at a law enforcement agency to verify your identity. Once the department receives your packet, if all of the required information is there, it will mail you a response within 15 days.

A criminal record report from the department will contain information such as the offender’s full name and any known aliases, age, sex, mugshot, fingerprints, past and current criminal charges, arrest warrants, and conviction records. You may also be able to access a criminal record in Arizona using a third-party website, although the information may not be as detailed. A third-party site may be necessary if you only have limited information about the record subject.

Can You Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record in Arizona?

Many different authorized people and agencies, including employers and landlords, may request background checks that show the individual’s criminal history in Arizona. If you do not want these people to find a conviction on your record, you may be able to conceal your conviction or arrest records through a sealing petition. Additionally, there are other post-conviction alternatives available, such as set asides, and expungement for certain eligible-offenses.


In limited cases involving marijuana possession, it might be possible to expunge such a conviction. An expungement effectively erases the conviction from your record.

Record Sealing

If expungement is not available, another option may be to seek to have the conviction record sealed by the court. Unlike with an expungement, sealing a conviction record does not erase the conviction. Instead, it makes the conviction inaccessible except to authorized individuals, usually connected with Arizona law enforcement and Arizona courts.

Set Aside

Section 13-905 of the law gives most ex-offenders, with a few exceptions for certain kinds of crimes, the ability to have a judgment of guilt set aside. 

Unlike record expungement or sealing, setting aside a conviction does not remove or hide the conviction record. Instead, the record will still exist with a note that it has been “set aside” by the courts. 

Setting aside the conviction can come with many of the same benefits as record expungement. For example, it can make it easier for you to find employment, a career, housing and own firearms.

Keeping up with your criminal record after a conviction in Arizona can come with several benefits. If you notice a discrepancy or inaccuracy on your record, for example, you have the right to request a correction by the courts. If you are a qualifying individual who has fulfilled the terms of your sentence or probation after a conviction, you may be able to set aside the conviction to enjoy related benefits. 

For more information about criminal records in Arizona or professional assistance changing or setting aside your criminal record, contact an expungement lawyer in Phoenix today, online or by calling the AZ Defenders office at (480) 456-6400.