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Posted on July 23, 2021 in Arizona Law

7 Things You Need to Know About Arizona’s Set Aside (Expungement) Law

Having a criminal record can have long-term consequences. For example, you may find it difficult to find work or a place to live. In addition, some of your civil rights might be revoked, such as the right to own a firearm. However, you could be eligible for a set aside of your criminal convictions under ARS §13-905.

Seven Things You Need to Know About the Set Aside Process

1.  A Set Aside Is Not an Expungement

A “set aside” is Arizona’s version of an expungement. An expungement is the process of clearing criminal charges from your record. In many states, an expungement completely clears the criminal charges and conviction from your record.

Expungement is not available under Arizona law. A set aside does not entirely wipe your criminal conviction from your record. The state believes that the criminal convictions should be noted on your criminal record for the public interest, but the convictions will have a note that they were set aside.

2.  What Are the Benefits of a Set Aside for a Criminal Conviction?

Having a criminal conviction set aside can improve your career opportunities. You might be able to qualify for jobs that you might otherwise have been overlooked for if you did not have the conviction set aside. In addition, an employer may look more favorably at your record if the conviction has been set aside, even though the conviction is still on your record.

You may also meet professional licensing requirements. Some professional licenses may be revoked for a criminal conviction. However, once the conviction is set aside, you might be eligible for reinstatement of your professional license.

Setting aside a conviction can also improve your chance of obtaining custody or visitation. In addition, it improves your chances of finding housing and qualifying for some government benefits, such as student loans and aid. Finally, a set aside could restore your civil rights that you lost because of the criminal conviction.

3.  What A Set Aside Will Not Do

A set aside in Arizona will not:

  • Remove the arrest record
  • Erase the criminal conviction entirely from your record
  • Prevent the Board of Fingerprinting or DPS from considering the criminal conviction for a fingerprint clearance card
  • Seal or destroy the court record
  • Remove convictions from your record with the Motor Vehicle Division

In some cases, the prosecution could use a set aside conviction against you in court for subsequent arrests. Using past criminal history can help the prosecutor obtain harsher penalties for the current crime.

4. You Must Still Disclose the Conviction on Some Applications

If you apply for a loan, job, or insurance, you must disclose the criminal conviction if the application requests that information.

You can explain that the conviction was set aside and include a copy of the order from the court setting aside the conviction. The order from the court states that the criminal conviction was set aside, the charges against you were dismissed, and you were released from any penalties or disabilities related to the conviction.

5.  Who Is Eligible for a Set Aside or Expungement in Kentucky?

In general, most people who have completed their sentence can apply for an expungement or set aside a criminal conviction. Completing your sentence includes prison terms, probation, and payment of fines, court fees, and restitution.

However, some criminal convictions are not eligible for a set aside. Examples of criminal convictions that may not be set aside include:

  • Driving on a suspended driver’s license
  • Matters involving the infliction of serious physical injury
  • Crimes involving minors under the age of 15 years
  • Convictions involving the use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon
  • Violations of ARS Title 28, Chapter 3, such as aggressive driving, criminal speeding, hit and run, and felony flight (DUI charges may be set aside as they fall under Title 28, Chapter 4)
  • Crimes that require you to register as a sex offender
  • Convictions involving a sexual motivation

Before filing a motion to expunge a criminal charge, you may want to check with a criminal defense lawyer to ensure that the crime may be set aside.

6.  Factors That Judges Consider When Deciding to Grant an Expungement or Set Aside

The judge considers a variety of factors when deciding whether or not to set aside a criminal conviction. Those factors include:

  • The circumstances and nature of the crime
  • Any prior criminal convictions
  • The person’s compliance with the terms of probation and sentencing
  • The person’s age at the time of the conviction
  • The duration of time between completing the sentence and applying for a set aside
  • The victim’s statement and the status of restitution payments

The judge may also consider any other factor that is relevant to the decision of setting aside a criminal conviction.

7.  How Long Does the Set Aside Process Take?

The process of receiving an expungement or set aside is lengthy. First, a motion must be filed with the court requesting the set aside. It could take several weeks to complete the petition and gather the required documentation to submit to the court.

After filing a motion for expungement, it could take three or more months for the court to rule on the motion. Having an attorney complete the motion can speed up the process by avoiding unnecessary delays.

Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Orent Law Offices In Phoenix To Get Legal Assistance Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.

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