Arizona Fingerprint Card Suspension
You may be dealing with an Arizona Fingerprint Card Suspension if you are currently dealing with a criminal charge. If your fingerprint clearance card has been suspended, you must apply for a Good Cause Exception as a remedy.
You may get your Fingerprint Clearance Card back if your criminal records show that you were not charged or convicted of any precluded offenses (certain criminal convictions that automatically stop an applicant from obtaining a clearance card).
When Does a Fingerprint Card Suspension Occur?
A suspension occurs when DPS discovers an individual with a fingerprint clearance card has an arrest for a precluded offense. For example, a cardholder facing a conviction for assault will face fingerprint clearance card suspension. In this event, there’s minimal distinction between denial and suspension for a good cause exception.
When facing a criminal conviction for certain precluded offenses, the fingerprint clearance card will likely be lost without an opportunity for appeal. Either way, getting an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card is possible by filing for a good cause exception. Does it matter whether you have a standard clearance card vs. a Level I?
How does someone with an active fingerprint clearance card have it suspended?
The Arizona Department of Public Safety issues Arizona Fingerprint Clearance cards. If you have an active card and are charged with a crime or potentially convicted, it will ping back to the DPS, and then they will check what the charge or conviction was.
There is a list of crimes that effectively immediately get your cards suspended. These are precluded offenses, such as drug offenses, theft, DUIs, and domestic violence. Then obviously, the much more severe criminal charges or convictions can lead to getting your card suspended. There are already a few charges or convictions that would not trigger an automatic suspension, but it’s a pretty extensive list.
How to Get the Card after its Suspension?
How do you get the card back after it’s suspended?
So, say you’ve been charged or convicted of one of those precluded offenses. Certain crimes on that list will bar you from getting the card back. Just think of the worst imaginable crimes like murder, child abuse, and that type of thing. You cannot get the card back. It’s gone.
Let’s take a DUI, for example. Let’s say you’ve had a DUI, and you’ve only been charged. The DPS will suspend the card, and your only opportunity to get it back would be to file a good cause exception with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. A good cause exception allows the Board of Fingerprinting to give the fingerprint card back to the cardholder. The good cause exception process is relatively simple.
What happens is that you have to submit all of the court and police documents. You’ll have to submit two letters of support, and you have to write a personal statement, get it all notarized, and send it to the board.
The board will then review all of the documents, and they have 20 days of what’s called an expedited review. They have those 20 days to decide whether to give the card back, or they can potentially forward it to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. We’ve done at least a hundred good cause exceptions at this point, and the only time we’ve had a case forwarded to a hearing was when there was either a pending case or still on probation.
We’ve done at least a hundred good cause exceptions at this point, and the only time we’ve had a case forwarded to a hearing was when there was either a pending case or still on probation.– Chelle Law
So, it’s still likely that if you were just charged and had your card suspended and applied for the good cause exception, it would not be granted at the expedited review. The board would forward it to a hearing. The most significant difference is that you could get the card back within 20 days if it’s granted at the expedited review versus usually adding three to four months if you have to go into a hearing in front of a judge.
And we’ve also found that if people are still in the charging stage, meaning it hasn’t been dismissed, you haven’t reached a plea, there hasn’t been a trial, or you’ve been found convicted. Usually, they’ll deny the good cause exception at the hearing because they want to see the criminal investigation’s outcome.
Many times, if it’s very close to either signing a plea or getting dismissed, we’ll hold off on filing the good cause exception, knowing that it will bounce around and usually be denied. And then we have to do the whole process over again. So, that’s how you can get your fingerprint clearance card suspended, essentially be charged or convicted of a crime.
It’s a precluded offense that does allow the good cause exception versus precluded offenses where it’s an absolute bar to ever getting the card back.
Automatic Denial of Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card
DENIAL: Individuals submit their applications to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) with the fingerprint imprint. It happens regardless of if it’s a Level I fingerprint clearance card or a standard fingerprint clearance. DPS then conducts a background investigation on your criminal history statewide and nationwide. If there are arrests on your record, DPS counter-checks your criminal convictions with the list that can cause a possible denial of your clearance card.
These include theft, drug offenses, homicide, assault, and more. These are “precluded offenses.” If a person’s criminal record has precluded offenses, DPS determines whether the disposition is dismissal, conviction, or default.
If there is a conviction: DPS will deny the fingerprint clearance card without the chance to appeal.
Often, the criminal record doesn’t specify the type of disposition. When this happens, DPS performs thorough research with the help of different law enforcement agencies. It allows them to know how the case became final.
Within 30 days after the investigation, and DPS still does not know such disposition, there will be a DENIAL of the fingerprint card. Almost all denials still have a remedy of applying to the Board of Fingerprinting for a good cause exception.
Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card Suspension
Contact us today if you’re interested in setting up a consultation with Chelle Law or have questions about an Arizona Fingerprint Card Suspension.