In Arizona, state law permits certain individuals who have arrests, criminal convictions or sentences on their permanent records to have these records sealed or expunged. This law has been in effect since December 31, 2022, replacing what used to only allow for the setting aside of criminal records.

What Is Criminal Record Expungement?

Expungement is a legal process that allows someone who has a prior criminal conviction on his or her record to erase or seal it from public view. Record expungement can give an individual a fresh start, free from stigmas and challenges that are associated with having a criminal record in Arizona.

The many benefits of record expungement include:

  • Passing background checks
  • Additional employment opportunities
  • Eligibility for professional certifications and licensing
  • Greater access to housing
  • Improved access to educational opportunities
  • Eligibility for certain types of government financial assistance
  • Restoration of civil rights, such as the right to vote
  • Personal benefits from leaving the stigma of a criminal record behind you

When a record is expunged or sealed in Arizona, it cannot be accessed by the general public. It will no longer be visible to employers or landlords. However, the record of its existence will remain with government officials and the court system. An expunged record could still be used as an element in a subsequent criminal case against you, for example.

Who Is Eligible for Expungement in Arizona?

Not everyone qualifies for criminal record expungement in Arizona. You must meet a specific list of requirements and petition the courts to grant your expungement request.

Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-911, you may be eligible for record expungement if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

  • You were arrested for a criminal offense but no charges were filed.
  • You were charged with a crime but the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not-guilty verdict at trial.
  • You were convicted of a crime and have since completed all of the terms and conditions of your sentence, including paying all fines, fees and restitutions ordered in full.

Not all criminal offenses can be expunged. Certain violent crimes, sex crimes, crimes involving deadly weapons or dangerous instruments, class 1 felonies, and offenses that involve knowingly inflicting serious bodily injury on another person may not be sealed or expunged in Arizona.

Waiting Period for Expungement in Arizona

In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements for criminal record expungement in Arizona, you must also complete the waiting period. State law enforces the following mandatory waiting periods after the completion of a criminal sentence before an individual is permitted to petition the courts for expungement:

  • 2 years: low-grade misdemeanors
  • 3 years: class 1 misdemeanors
  • 5 years: class 4, 5 or 6 felonies
  • 10 years: class 2 or 3 felonies

If this is not the individual’s first felony conviction, a prior record adds an additional five years to the waiting period listed above. Two or more prior felony convictions bar an individual from petitioning for expungement until the required time period has passed for each conviction.

Speak to an Expungement Lawyer in Arizona for More Information

If you wish to expunge your criminal record in Arizona, start by consulting with a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix can handle complicated and lengthy expungement paperwork for you, as well as represent you during any necessary hearings. Having an attorney help you request your expungement properly the first time can save you time and money.

You may not have to live with the consequences of past mistakes forever. If you are interested in expungement in Arizona, contact Corso Law Group for a free evaluation of your circumstances and eligibility. If you are eligible for record expungement, we can guide you through the legal process of sealing your criminal records for good.

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