Having a criminal record can create numerous obstacles in your personal and professional life. Fortunately, in some cases, you may be able to seek expungement (also known as “setting aside a conviction”) in Arizona. Expungement can provide you with a fresh start by clearing your criminal record. In this comprehensive guide by Chelle Law, a leading Scottsdale-based criminal defense firm, we explain the process of filing for expungement in Arizona.
How to File for Expungement in Arizona: Understanding Expungement in Arizona
How to file for expungement in Arizona: In Arizona, the process to clear a criminal record is referred to as ‘setting aside a conviction.’ To begin, the individual must first check their eligibility, as certain offenses are not eligible for expungement. Once eligibility is confirmed, the petitioner should file a ‘Petition to Set Aside Conviction’ with the court where the arrest occurred or the case was adjudicated. The court then notifies the prosecutor’s office, which has 30 days to respond. If no objections are raised within the time frame, the petition is likely to be granted. It’s important to note that obtaining legal assistance is recommended for navigating the process and increasing the chances of a successful expungement.
Expungement in Arizona, as governed by Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-907, allows certain individuals to have their criminal records set aside, effectively clearing their criminal history. This can be particularly beneficial when applying for jobs, housing, or educational opportunities. However, not all convictions are eligible for expungement, and certain criteria must be met before filing.
Eligibility for Expungement in Arizona
To be eligible for expungement in Arizona, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have successfully completed all terms of your sentence, including probation, jail time, and payment of fines.
- You have no pending criminal charges.
- Your conviction is not for a dangerous offense, a crime involving the infliction of serious physical injury, a crime involving the use of a deadly weapon, or a crime requiring sex offender registration.
To verify your eligibility, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, like those at Chelle Law.
How to File for Expungement in Arizona
If you meet the eligibility criteria, follow these steps to file for expungement:
- Obtain your criminal records: Request a copy of your criminal records from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
- Complete the necessary forms: Fill out the Application to Set Aside Conviction form provided by the Arizona Judicial Branch.
- Gather supporting documents: Collect any relevant documents, such as proof of rehabilitation, character reference letters, or evidence of community involvement, to strengthen your case.
- File your application: Submit the completed application and supporting documents to the court where you were convicted. You may also be required to provide copies to the prosecutor and the arresting agency.
- Attend the hearing (if applicable): The court may schedule a hearing to review your application, during which you or your attorney will present your case for expungement.
Why Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney is Crucial
Filing for expungement in Arizona can be a complex and time-consuming process. An experienced criminal defense attorney can greatly increase your chances of success by:
- Ensuring you meet the eligibility criteria.
- Providing guidance on completing the necessary forms and gathering supporting documents.
- Representing you in court and presenting a persuasive argument for expungement.
Chelle Law’s skilled criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in Arizona’s expungement laws and can help you navigate this complicated process.
Filing for expungement in Arizona can be a life-changing step toward a brighter future. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking experienced legal representation, you can maximize your chances of success. If you’ve been accused of a crime in Scottsdale, Chelle Law offers experienced criminal defense representation to protect your rights.