Hire Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law for Set Aside & Expungement
A criminal conviction will adversely affect a person, even after the completion of probation, incarceration or community supervision (parole). Success can be difficult with a conviction record. Arizona does not have an ‘expungement’ statute, where the court essentially destroys the criminal record. Under Arizona law, A.R.S. 13-907, the alternative statute is a “set aside” of the conviction.
Once you have completed all the terms of the misdemeanor or felony sentence, the criminal record will also show that the person successfully completed the court requirements. Most criminal convictions can be “set aside” in Arizona. A set aside allows the court to “set aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the accusations or information and order that the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction other than those imposed by the department of transportation”.
The set aside has the effect of putting aside a person’s past as long as there are no further convictions. The focus needs to be on moving forward, rather than on past transgressions.
A set aside statute does not apply to a person convicted of criminal offenses:
- Involving a dangerous offense,
- For which the person is required or ordered by the court to register as a sex offender,
- For which there has been a finding of sexual motivation,
- In which the victim is a minor under 15 years of age, or
- In violation of driving on a suspended, revoked or cancelled license, any ordinance relating to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle or title 28, chapter 3 offense, with the exception of reckless driving.
The original record reflects the set aside of the judgment of conviction, but the original record is not destroyed. The conviction is still available and may be available for use to deny an individual certain types kinds of employment, licenses, permits or certificates. The conviction can be used against the person in future criminal cases. The set aside, though, does not mandate that the conviction be removed from one’s criminal record. But the set aside is a new beginning. The record should, however, show that the conviction has been set aside.
The criminal background check will show you in a better light. The set aside can help on a job application or interview. It will make it easier to get a job, than having the criminal conviction on your record. While a conviction must be disclosed, if you are asked, you applicant should inform the employer that the conviction “has been vacated or set aside and the charges dismissed.” This is the language the court uses in sitting aside the conviction. By obtaining a set aside, it shows employers searching a criminal record that the charged are dismissed. It is a public document that shows you are not a criminal.
Certificate of Second Chance
Even with a Set Aside, the criminal record will cause barriers to anyone trying to obtain an occupational license. Many jobs require an occupational license in Arizona. This includes teachers, nurses, cosmetologist, barbers, residential and commercial construction contractors, real estate agents, architects, engineers, dentists; podiatrist, chiropractors, optician and bus drivers. The list seems endless. According to the Institute of Justice, Arizona is the fourth most broadly and onerously licensed state, with the fourth most burdensome licensing laws. Employers who hire an individual with this Certificate are not legally responsible for negligent hiring or damages caused by the employee during the course of their employment. Employers are also not obligated to hire candidates with this Certificate, which means they cannot be suite for discriminatory hiring practices related to the criminal record. Additionally, in a lawsuit against an employer, prior convictions cannot be used as evidence in the lawsuit, unless the conviction is directly related to the reason of the lawsuit.
Although Arizona does not have a pure and simple expungement law, the Set Aside process is the closest thing there is to get similar results. And with that Set Aside, the Certificate of Second Chance can help ex-offenders receive similar benefits as the expungement.
Not only can the Certificate help people qualify for an occupational licenses, but it can also open up housing and other employment opportunities previously out of reach due to a criminal history.
In order to be eligible for the Certificate of Second Chance, the crime covers:
- Misdemeanor convictions;
- Class 4- 6 felony convictions with at least two years have passed since the completion of probation and sentence conditions;
- Class 2-3 felony convictions with at least five since the completion of probation and sentence conditions.
Certain offenders/offenses are not eligible for this Certificate:
- Driving with a suspended license;
- Convictions involving victims under 15 years old;
- Sexually motivated convictions;
- Offenses involving a deadly weapon or infliction of physical injury;
- Offenses where the offender is required to register as a sex offender;
- Criminal speeding, aggressive driving and hit and run.
A Certificate of Second Chance can truly help an ex-offender recover their freedom and autonomy.
The process of obtaining a set aside can be a complicated. You must convince the court that you have changed and deserve to have the charges dismissed. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, now, to restore your good name. Your freedom, your rights and your future are at stake. It is very important that you speak to an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.