How to Clean Your Criminal Record
At Thomas Law Firm, we get many inquiries from clients about “expunging” their prior criminal convictions or “cleaning their criminal record”. Although expungement is not available in Arizona, there is a similar process that allows your conviction to be vacated and the charges dismissed—a process known as a “Set Aside”.
A.R.S. § 13-907 is the section of law that allows the person that has been convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony to set aside their conviction. A person is eligible to apply for a set aside when they have completed and satisfied all terms of their sentence—including probation and paying ordered fines. If the judge grants your set aside application, then the sentence is vacated and the charges against you are dismissed.*
It is important to note that there are several limitations in obtaining a set aside and not all convictions qualify. For example, crimes involving the use of dangerous weapons, crimes causing serious physical injury, sexual crimes, crime involving a minor under 15 years of age, etc. cannot be set aside. Another limitation is that a “set aside” will not remove the conviction completely from your record. Instead, both the original conviction and the order setting aside your conviction will appear.
A set aside is beneficial because it will notify those that are inquiring about your background (potential employer, landlord, that you have completed all terms of the sentence, and the court vacated and dismissed the conviction against you. Depending on your personal situation or case, the benefits of a set aside may outweigh the limitations. Setting aside a conviction may make the difference in whether or not you get the job offer, or whether or not an immigration application is granted or denied.**
Obtaining a set aside can often be a complicated process. It is important to hire an experienced and reputable attorney to help you with this process. Setting Aside the conviction can change your life. Let us, at Thomas Law Firm, help you make that difference. Give our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys a call at 602-314-4333 for a free consultation.
Remember, everyone makes mistakes, don’t let your past convictions define you.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between you and Thomas Law Firm, PLC.
*If you were convicted of a felony, and your conviction is set aside, your rights are not automatically restored and a separate process is required.
**Although a set aside can make the difference in a discretionary grant of an immigration application, the set aside conviction can still be considered as a conviction for immigration purposes and may affect your eligibility for immigration relief. Contact us for an evaluation of your case.