Almost 80% of employers conduct background checks on job applicants, and many employers deny employment to those with criminal records. Additionally, criminal records can prevent people from getting housing or student loans. However, people may take steps to lessen how much their criminal records impact their lives. In many states, the process is called expungement. Arizona doesn’t have expungement, the closest that we have is a Set Aside. Not all offenses are eligible for a Set Aside in Phoenix and people considering petitioning for a Set Aside of their criminal records should understand not only the benefits but limitations involved in doing so. The experienced attorneys at AZ Defenders who include former state, county, and city prosecutors have helped many people to have their convictions Set Aside here in Arizona.
In order to petition for a Set Aside in Arizona, a person needs to have met the terms of the sentence for the offense. In other words, all of the following must have been completed:
A person can petition to Set Aside offenses ranging from felonies to misdemeanors, including Arizona driving offenses like DUI. However, if a person has been convicted of two or more felonies, or has been sentenced to prison, he or she must wait two years before petitioning the court for a Set Aside.
Additionally, the law also excludes some offenses from being eligible to be Set Aside pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-907. Some of these include:
Set Asides, unfortunately, come with limitations. It’s important for individuals to understand the limits of a Set Aside.
Erasing a conviction: In Arizona, obtaining a Set Aside will, unfortunately, not erase the conviction from an individual’s criminal record. If another person or entity performs a background check, the conviction may still appear on the record. However, it will also indicate that the charges were dismissed. In a Set Aside, the court has vacated the judgment and dismissed the charges.
Employment disclosure: Additionally, an individual who obtains a Set Aside may have to explain the arrest because the arrest cannot be dismissed. Most companies, however, are more concerned with convictions.
Evidence in future offenses/penalties: The state can also still use set aside convictions in prosecutions for future offenses. The Set Aside will also not affect penalties the Department of Transportation imposes, such as a driver’s license revocation.
Right to vote/own a handgun: Further, a person who obtains a Set Aside of a second felony conviction does not automatically have his or her civil rights restored, such as the right to vote. There is a separate petitioning process that is needed to complete. Additionally, a Set Aside does not automatically return a person’s right to own a gun. If you want to apply to have your civil rights restored, please contact our Phoenix set aside and expungement attorneys.
A Set Aside also helps people to put their mistakes in the past and focus on their futures. Despite the limitations of a Set Aside, you can still benefit from the process. By obtaining a Set Aside, it shows people or entities searching an individual’s criminal record that the charges have been dismissed.
Obtaining a Set Aside can be a complicated process. A person petitioning for a Set Aside needs to convince the judge that he or she has changed and deserves to have the conviction Set Aside. It is beneficial to hire an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in handling set asides to help present the petitioner’s case in the most persuasive way possible.
A felony conviction in Arizona almost always results in the loss of your civil rights including:
Once you have completed the terms of your sentence (all jail or prison time, all parole or probation periods and terms, and paid all fines in full) the experienced attorneys here at AZ Defenders can help you file a Petition to Restore your Civil Rights and a Petition to Restore your Firearm Rights (they must be filed separately and often the firearm petitions will not be granted as quickly as other civil rights restoration petitions) that were lost from the conviction of a felony offense in Arizona.
If you want to apply to have a criminal conviction Set Aside and/or apply to have your civil rights and firearm rights restored, please contact the AZ Defenders at (480) 456-6400 for a FREE consultation. We are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.