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Phoenix, Arizona Expungement Lawyer
Maricopa County, AZ Expungement/Record Sealing Lawyer
In the past, Arizonans were not able to have their criminal records expunged by the court, but rather have their judgment of guilt “set aside” under certain circumstances. Though having a conviction set aside did allow previous offenders to regain certain civil rights, it did not seal off the criminal history entirely. Future employers and landlords would still be able to access these records, and the set-aside itself was merely a way of showing them and others that you have paid all your dues, so to speak.
However, 2023 has brought some big changes in terms of opportunities for offenders to have their criminal records cleared. If you’re looking for a fresh start and a clean slate, the Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Belén Law Firm can help. Read on to learn more about the possibility for expungement in Arizona or give us a call at (602) 715-0908 to schedule your free consultation today.
Can You Get Your Criminal Record Expunged in Arizona?
In 2021, Arizona Courts passed Senate Bill 1294, which effectively allows Arizonans to file a petition to seal all criminal records related to an offense, including convictions, judgments, and arrests. The new law goes into effect this year (2023), meaning those who meet certain requirements will be able to remove their criminal record from the eyes of the general public. You can even answer ‘no’ to any questions that ask whether you have previous criminal convictions on most employment applications.
Of course, not everyone will be eligible for expungement, and even those who are must first meet the eligibility requirements prescribed under the new law. Arizona requires that a person convicted of an offense must first meet all required sentence terms and conditions before an expungement may be granted. This includes paying all fines, fees, and restitution to victims, if applicable.
New Expungement Laws in Arizona
Arizona Revised Statute § 13-911
Under ARS § 13-911, certain individuals who have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a criminal offense may file a petition to seal their record. More specifically, the legislation states:
A person may file a petition to seal all case records related to a criminal offense if the person was:
- Convicted of a criminal offense and has completed all of the terms and conditions of the sentence that was imposed by the court, including the payment of all monetary obligations and restitution to all victims.
- Charged with a criminal offense and the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at a trial.
- Arrested for a criminal offense and no charges were filed.
The law goes on to state that a person convicted of an offense who has not been convicted of any other offense after the fact (aside from some misdemeanor motor vehicle offenses), may file a petition for expungement once all the required terms and conditions of the sentence have been met, including the payment of all fines, fees, and restitution, and a certain period of time has elapsed.
The time that must have elapsed since the completion of the offender’s probation or sentence depends on the degree of the felony or misdemeanor:
- TWO YEARS for Class 2 or 3 misdemeanors
- THREE YEARS for Class 1 misdemeanors
- FIVE YEARS for Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies
- TEN YEARS for Class 2 or 3 felonies
If the person has a previous felony conviction on their record, they must wait an additional five years before they can file for expungement. Anyone convicted of two or more criminal offenses must also wait to file a petition until the period of time allotted for each individual conviction has passed.
Is Arizona Felony Expungement Possible?
As you can see, expungement for certain felonies in Arizona is possible. That is to say that Class 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 felonies may be eligible for expungement once the offender meets all of the terms and conditions for his or her sentence. Class 1 felonies, however, are not eligible for expungement under Arizona law.
What Offenses Can Be Expunged?
Once again, Class 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 felonies, as well as Class 1, 2, and 3 misdemeanors in Arizona may be eligible for expungement. Rather than list the numerous offenses that are categorized under these classes of felonies and misdemeanors, it would be easier to list the offenses that are ineligible for expungement instead.
Offenses That Cannot Be Expunged in Arizona
In previous years, set-aside laws in Arizona forbid certain individuals from having their record set aside. Under ARS § 13-905, anyone convicted of a crime involving any of the following elements was unable to receive a set-aside:
- The infliction of serious physical injury
- The use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- 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 fifteen years of age
- In violation of driving on a suspended or canceled license
- In violation of any local ordinance relating to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle
Several of these exceptions carried over into the new Arizona law for sealing records. Under this law, offenses that cannot be expunged include:
- Class 1 felonies
- Dangerous offenses
- Crimes involving the intentional infliction of injury on another person
- Crimes against children
- Violent or aggravated felonies
- Sex trafficking
- The discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon/dangerous instrument
Why You Need a Phoenix Expungement Attorney on Your Side
As these new expungement laws have only just gone into effect, it’s important that you have someone on your side who is familiar with the Arizona legal system and understands just how this new record sealing process works. That’s why it is so important that you equip the best lawyer for the job: Belén Olmedo Guerra. At Belén Law Firm, we are prepared to aggressively advocate on your behalf and set you up for success with your expungement petition.
Tackling this complicated process on your own can be next to impossible. Even the smallest mistake or misstep could lead to your petition being denied altogether. You’ve waited this long for a clean slate – don’t wait any longer. Call the experienced Phoenix expungement attorneys at Belén Law Firm and have peace of mind knowing your case is in powerful, capable hands.
Call Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Belén Olmedo Guerra for More Information Regarding the Arizona Expungement Process
If you suffer the burden of a criminal record, now may be your chance to turn your life around for good. A skilled Arizona expungement attorney like those at Belén Law Firm can help make sure you have the best chance at successfully having your criminal history sealed and your civil rights restored. Our Phoenix law offices offer free consultations and are prepared to our clients’ calls 24/7.