Being charged with a crime not only means you may be spending time in jail or prison, but it also means you will end up with a criminal record that may come back to haunt you for many years after you’ve finished serving your sentence. Fortunately, there are a few options for those who are eligible to have old convictions cleared from their record.

Does a Set Aside Conviction Show Up on Your Background Check?

Arizona does not allow most previous charges to be sealed (or “expunged”) from your criminal record. Instead, the state offers the possibility for individuals to set aside their convictions. This means that while the conviction is still visible on a background check, it will be “set aside”, or in other words, it will show that you satisfied all requirements of your sentence and the court has vacated your conviction and given you the ability to regain your civil rights.

Are There Any Charges That Can Be Expunged From Your Record in Arizona?

While a great number of convictions may be “set aside” rather than expunged, there are a few exceptions for which the law allows for expungement. One example is when a defendant is convicted of prostitution as a result of human trafficking and thus is allowed to have that record expunged.

Another example recently introduced by new legislation allows for those previously convicted of lesser marijuana possession crimes to have their records expunged. The legalization of recreational marijuana decriminalizes possession of up to 1 oz of cannabis and allows those previously convicted of possession of up to 2.5 oz of the plant and paraphernalia to apply for expungement.

Who Is Eligible to File a Petition to Set Aside a Conviction?

Most people who served their sentence after a felony conviction may file a petition to set aside their conviction. Several factors will be considered by the court before the petition is granted. However, those who committed a violent crime that involved the use of a weapon or that resulted in serious injuries may not be eligible. The same applies to crimes with victims under the age of 15 and crimes with a sexual motivation that required the defendant to register as a sex offender.

The bottom line is that while most charges cannot be completely erased from your record, you can still get a fresh start with a set-aside petition. If you need help to initiate the process, call the Naegle Law Firm, PLC at (480) 378-9000. We are ready to assist you.