Set Aside Criminal Records in Arizona

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Seal My Criminal Record

We live in a country and society where we like to offer people a second chance after they make a serious mistake. This is also applicable to certain individuals who commit certain crimes.

Each state has different rules or laws related to the “sealing” or “expungement” of an adult’s criminal record for state-level crimes. As any good Arizona lawyer would tell you, Arizona does not have an expungement process. In lieu of this process, they have what they refer to as “set aside” laws.

Seal My Criminal Record

What does it mean to people that have a criminal record?

It means that there is a process in place for them to possibly have their convictions set aside. Setting aside has the effect of maintaining criminal records but adding a notation that the individual has earned the right for a set-aside attachment to the criminal offense in question. Employers, landlords, and banks will still see the conviction, but they will also see the set-aside ruling.

If you would be interested in having your criminal record set aside, you can start by contacting a criminal attorney from a law firm like ours. One of our criminal defense attorneys could certainly help you through the process. Let’s consider your eligibility for a criminal record set aside.

Are You Eligible?

You become eligible to request a set aside ruling after completing your sentence and parole requirements. Everyone is permitted to apply for a set aside order as many times as they want, though they need to submit a separate request for each conviction. This applies to misdemeanors and felonies in which there are no pending charges and all the fines and restitution have been paid in full. The following are exceptions:

  • Conviction involving the use of a deadly weapon
  • Conviction involving personal injury to the victim
  • The victim was a minor, under the age of 15
  • Some high-level traffic crimes are excluded
  • Conviction involving sexual crimes
  • If multiple felony convictions, two years must have passed since the last crime was discharged

The Process

If you qualify for a set-aside ruling, your criminal lawyer can help you through the process. There are a total of 10 steps, steps which include the following:

Step 1: Get and complete a “Statement of Absolute Discharge” from the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC). This must be done as a written request with a mail response within 14 to 21 days. The form is available online here.

Step 2: Do the research needed to make sure you know which form to file and where to file it. Things may vary from one jurisdiction to another, so be careful to use the right information. Also, not that using the wrong form will cause delays.

Step 3: Be sure you and your criminal attorney have copies of everything you file.

Step 4: You must submit your set aside request form and all required documents with the Superior Court County Clerk in the Arizona County in which you were charged.

Step 5: You must send duplicate copies of the set-aside application to both the judge and to the county attorney in the county of record. Be sure that you are sending the judge and county attorney duplicate forms/applications to the right location.

Step 6: The is no application or filing fee requirement for the set aside request.

Step 7: This is a process which could end up taking several months for you to receive a decision. The county attorney might request a hearing, or the judge could decide on their own without a hearing. If your request is denied, there is a reconsideration process.

We hope this lays out a clear path for you to request a set-aside ruling. If you have any questions or we can be of any assistance, we hope you will give us a call at your earliest convenience. This does fall within our area of legal expertise. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law today for legal assistance.


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