Can I Get a Clearance Card in Arizona with a Misdemeanor?
Can you get an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card if you have a misdemeanor?
The answer is that it depends.
But as long as that misdemeanor is not considered a precluding offense detailed in Arizona State statutes, it is likely that you could still obtain your Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card.
Let’s first talk about the process. So, whenever you apply for your clearance card, and you have a misdemeanor as criminal history, it’s likely that your application will be denied. At that point, though, that’s not the end of the road. You have to apply for a good cause exception. A good cause exception is something we handle at our firm and represent clients for the fingerprinting Board. Or you can go on it on your own as well.
Disclosing Misdemeanor or Felony History
But what you need to do is fill out that application and disclose all your criminal history. If you have additional misdemeanors or felonies, you must also disclose those.
For them to grant you a good cause exception, any court documents must show that you have everything handled in your case and that it’s all settled. You need to show that you’re not awaiting trial or any other sort of pending probation.
So, how do you do that? You need to attach all court documents showing all stages of the offense. What were you charged with? Were the charges dropped? Were you convicted of that misdemeanor? What were you sentenced to? And then, did you comply with all of the terms of your sentence?
Also, if the misdemeanor arrest happened within five years of your good cause exception application, you must attach any police reports regarding that incident. If you do all of that correctly and you have the official court documents with the seal, that’s important.
You will then write a personal statement taking responsibility for your actions and showing that you have been rehabilitated and will not repeat this criminal history in the future. You also have letters of reference. Two is the minimum with your good cause exception that you would also need to.
Now, if the misdemeanor is included on precluded offenses list, and to sum those up, it’s any elder abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, anything like that, or highly violent crimes. The state statute enumerates those. Therefore, you would not likely get your good cause exception or your card.
Even if it was a misdemeanor, if it’s on the precluded offenses list or a child was the victim of your crime, it would likely be precluded. However, if your misdemeanor is not on that list and you have fulfilled all the court requirements, and you’ve shown that in your application, then it’s likely that you would be granted your good cause exception, and you would get that clearance card.
Now, if the court thought you weren’t rehabilitated or maybe something out there was pending, they may decide to take it to a hearing with an administrative law judge. In that case, you would have to supply all those documents. You would meet with an administrative law judge and plead your topic there. That judge would find findings of facts and conclusions of law, and they would send that to the Board of fingerprinting, and then they take the judge’s decision and can either accept it, reject it, or amend it. Most of the time, they do get it. And then, you would obtain your clearance card.
In summary, if you have a misdemeanor not listed on the precluded offenses and have fulfilled all of your sentencing requirements. You have supplied all of your documents requested for the good cause exception. You would receive your good cause exception.
Can I Get a Fingerprint Clearance Card in Arizona for a Felony?
Is it possible to get an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card if you have a felony?
It depends, but it is possible.
When applying for your fingerprint clearance card, the Board of Fingerprinting will likely deny it. Any arrest for a felony or a misdemeanor, not even a conviction, just an arrest, will flag the denial of your application. At that point, you then have to ask for a good cause exception to be granted your card.
Now, on the denial letter, it would likely have that felony listed.
Disclosing Felony Records
If it doesn’t, you still have to disclose it. You have a duty to. At this point, whenever you apply for the good cause exception, if the arrest for a felony occurred within five years, you must supply the police report of the arrest as well as court documents. These court documents would state if you were convicted, the charges were dropped, what the court sentenced you to, and if you fulfilled your sentence. You need to explain that there’s nothing pending, that you have this felony, but everything is taken care of.
You must also write a statement or have an attorney do that for you. Just stating that you’re taking responsibility for your actions, you’ve learned from these mistakes, you’ve rehabilitated, and this will not be something that will happen in the future.
If you can complete all of that, they will likely grant you your good cause exception. The Board may kick it to a hearing. Suppose that happens, and the Board doesn’t feel there is adequate proof that nothing is pending or that you haven’t rehabilitated. In that case, you would likely go before an administrative law judge, or you’d have an attorney represent you before that administrative law judge in a hearing at the fingerprint board.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
You would then state that there’s nothing pending and that you’ve been rehabilitated. Afterward, the judge will make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and they will decide if they should grant your card. It will go to the Board. They likely affirm the administrative law judge’s findings, but they can reject it or amend it if they feel differently.
Some felonies or crimes, even misdemeanors, are on a precluded list detailed in the Arizona State statutes. And those say there is no good cause exception for those offenses. To sum it up, any child abuse, sexual crime, or sexual abuse of a minor or an adult. So any adult abuse, or something that’s highly violent—those types of felonies. If they’re on the precluded list, they will not likely grant you a good cause exception. They would probably deny your fingerprint clearance card.
However, if it’s a felony not listed on the precluded offenses and everything is taken care of, they may grant you a good cause exception. Felonies are serious crimes, so you want to ensure that you handle your application to the best of your ability. Make sure you disclose any other criminal history, even if it’s not on the denial letter, and attach all the documents you need, your personal information, and your letters of reference.
Arizona Clearance Card Criminal History
The Board applies the following criteria to the particular circumstances of your case and Arizona Fingerprint Card Criminal History when determining a Good Cause Exception. The Board also considers any substantiated allegations of minor child abuse or neglect made by Child Protective Services or a similar child welfare agency in another state.
Chelle Law assists with Arizona Clearance Card Criminal History analysis. Learn what crimes lead to a fingerprint card denial or suspension.
The Board must consider all of the following criteria in determining good cause if initially denied:
- The extent of the person’s criminal record and offenses (misdemeanor or felony).
- Length of time since the offense.
- The nature of the crimes committed (some sexual crimes can preclude getting a card).
- Any applicable mitigating circumstances.
- The degree to which the person participated in the offense.
- The extent of the person’s rehabilitation (for instance, from drug possession), including:
- Completion of probation, parole, or community supervision (like involving alcohol awareness for a DUI),
- Whether the person paid restitution or other compensation for the offense (like property damage during domestic violence),
- Evidence of positive action and use of resources to change criminal behavior, such as completion of a drug treatment program or counseling,
- Personal references attesting to the person’s rehabilitation without exception.
Arizona Revised Statutes Requirements
For many professions in Arizona, the Arizona Revised Statutes require individuals to have an active fingerprint clearance card before getting their license or being hired.
To do this, an individual must complete a state and federal criminal history report. The Arizona Department of Public Safety will then compare the record with a list of criminal offenses. These offenses would prevent an applicant from receiving a fingerprint clearance card. So long as the Fingerprint Card Criminal History record does not contain any of the offenses listed below, the division will issue the person a fingerprint clearance card.
What Criminal History Matters in Getting a Good-Cause Exception?
What criminal history matters about getting a good cause exception with the Arizona Fingerprint Board?
The Board of Fingerprinting will flag any arrest. So, if you’re applying for a clearance card and you have any criminal history or arrests, and even if you are never convicted, or charges were never even filed, the Board will likely flag it. You’ll receive a denial letter that will have those arrests listed on that denial letter. At this point, sometimes individuals like to go on their own, or they have our firm represent them during the application process.
You must disclose any additional criminal history not listed in the denial letter. It can be challenging for some people because they may need to remember the dates and times. However, our firm has databases that we can run reports through, which would show any criminal history so we could disclose them for you.
Then you must disclose all criminal history and provide all supporting documents. If the arrest or incident happened within five years, you must have an official police report. You must have all the official court documents for offenses outside that five years.
I’ve stated in some of my other blogs that it has to be the official court documents. It has to have a seal, and the records must show all stages of your offense. So, were you charged? Were charges dropped? Did you plead guilty? Were you found innocent? Were you sentenced? What were you sentenced to? Did you fulfill that sentence? If probation was granted, did you meet all your requirements, and has the probation been lifted?
The Board finds it essential that nothing is pending out there. Another thing we’ve seen clients need to remember sometimes is fees or fines. You must ensure that you’ve settled those and have official documentation stating all of those have been taken care of. So, that’s the documents you need for any criminal offense.
Also, with state agencies, if there are any findings of a substantiated claim of child abuse, adult abuse, or elder abuse, you would need to supply the investigative report from those agencies. Taking criminal history in general, just because you have a criminal record doesn’t mean you won’t be granted a good cause exception.
Criminal History on the Precluded Offense List
Suppose you have any criminal history on the precluded offenses list in the Arizona State statutes. To sum those up, it’s any time a child is a victim of criminal abuse, sexual abuse of any age, elder abuse, or highly violent crimes. In that case, criminal history will likely preclude you from getting your fingerprint clearance card.
However, if you have a regular misdemeanor or DUI where no children or minors were involved, you have shown that you have been rehabilitated and have fulfilled all the requirements of supporting documents. They will likely grant you a good cause exception.
Sometimes if the Board is unsure of your criminal history, they may send your good cause exception to an administrative law hearing where you would meet before a judge and supply any additional documentation. The judge may ask you some questions. You can have an attorney represent you as well.
And again, that judge would make a finding of facts and conclusions of law. If they feel you have rehabilitated and you should be granted your clearance card, that would go to the Board. They would either uphold the administrative law judge’s recommendation, amend it, or disagree with its findings. But that’s rare.
In summary, a lot of people have a criminal history. It’s just crucial when the Board is looking that you’re disclosing everything, you have supplied them with all the official documents, and your criminal record is not on the precluded list of those offenses. And that you’ve rehabilitated, have taken responsibility for your actions, and it’s not going to happen again. Your criminal history will unlikely stop you from getting your fingerprint clearance card.
Fingerprint Clearance Card Application Attorney
If you would like to set up a consultation with Chelle Law or learn more about the services our Arizona Fingerprint Card Attorney provides, reach out today.