Arizona Now Expunges (Removes) Criminal Public Records

by Aaron M. Black • January 04, 2023

Arizona, on New Year's Day 2023, joined other states that allow criminal records to be expunged, meaning they are sealed and removed online; therefore are not available to the public, law enforcement, and the courts. The new law, Arizona Revised Statute §13-911, allows those who have a qualifying criminal record to rebuild their lives and launch a fresh start.

Do You Know About Expungement?

Previously, setting aside a conviction was all a criminal offender could do so that prospective employers, landlords, relationship seekers, and others who search for a person's criminal history would see that the conviction has been officially set aside. No other information was presented online.

Expungement goes much further.

Now, a background check will not show any criminal results, and people who are being background checked can even truthfully say they have never been arrested or convicted.

The new law allows those who have allowable felony convictions to have their civil rights restored under Arizona Revised Statute §13-907, which include the right to vote, own and possess a firearm, and other rights. The law also allows telling employers, landlords, financial and on loan applications that you have never been arrested or convicted of a crime.

At the time of sentencing, the judge is now required to tell the defendant that he or she may be eligible to seal records and wipe computer files of all of the case records of the arrest, conviction, and sentencing.

Criminal Record Expungement
 

Expungement Qualifications and Application

Expungement does not just happen.

To qualify for expungement, an offender must have completed the sentence and terms and conditions, including fines and restitution ordered by the court of jurisdiction where the defendant was arrested, but no charges were filed or charged but found to be not guilty.

The new law requires filing an expungement application with the court where the conviction was pronounced, where a not guilty verdict resulted, or where the charges were dropped, or to the Superior Court of the jurisdiction where the person was arrested if that is all that occurred.

The court will review the case's record and circumstances before entering a ruling. If the application is rejected, the person has the right to have and attend a hearing.

Many, but not all, offenses now qualify for expungement. If you received a DUI in Phoenix or Scottsdale, it is eligible for expungement.

The exceptions are murder, capital offenses, assault with a deadly weapon, and sexual offenses.

An expungement does not apply to dangerous crimes against children, violent or aggravated felonies, or discharging or threatening by exhibiting a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
 
 

Waiting Period Requirements

To apply for expungement, the offender must wait from the time of conviction to the completion of the criminal sentence before applying to expunge their criminal record.
The waiting periods are:
  • Two years for Class 2 and Class 3 misdemeanors
     
  • Three years for a Class 1 misdemeanor
     
  • Five years for Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies
     
  • 10 years for Class 2 and 3 felonies
     
Offenders who have multiple convictions will have longer waiting periods.

Should the court deny a person's petition, that individual must wait three years before applying for a new expungement petition.
 

Expungement Exceptions

Saying you have never been arrested or charged does not apply to everyone. The exceptions include:
  • Those applying for a fingerprint clearance.
     
  • Those involving burglary or theft from a home or a nonresidential structure cannot apply for a job performing services inside a residence.
     
  • Convicted defendants of child abuse or aggravated assault cannot apply for supervising, educating, or administering care to a minor.
     
  • Those involving theft, forgery, identity theft, and other fraudulent schemes cannot work in accounting or managing someone's money or financial assets.
     
  • Adult abuse defendants cannot work with people aged 65 and older.
 

Expungement of DUI Convictions

The new law includes Class 1 misdemeanors. A DUI conviction can be expunged as long as all fines, fees, and restitution have been paid. The convicted person must wait three years after the conviction to apply for expungement.

Felony DUI convictions as Class 4, Class 5, and Class 6 offenses must wait five years before these people can apply for expungement.
 

Expunging Marijuana Convictions

If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, Arizona Revised Statute §36-2862 allows expungement of marijuana offenses that apply to personal use. This law covers processing, transporting, and cultivating a maximum of six plants at the person's home, consuming a maximum of 2.5 ounces, and related paraphernalia.

The law does not include those who have been convicted of selling or distributing marijuana.

People who have marijuana convictions before the legalization of marijuana can file a petition for expungement in the jurisdiction where the arrest happened or where the court case was filed. The Arizona Judicial Branch has petition forms available online.

 

Aaron M. Black Law for Expungement

Now that expungement of many criminal records is in force in Arizona law, criminal defendants should take advantage of this law as the path to a better future. Although individuals can apply for expungement without an attorney, having a criminal defense attorney, such as myself, is beneficial to enhance the chance that an application will be approved. Legal help can also enhance restoring civil rights.

At Aaron M. Black Law, people applying for expungement will receive personalized legal services and encouragement, and they will always be talking directly to me every step of the way to erase your record.

Begin your way to a better future immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time, on any day, and I will respond promptly unless I am in court at a trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend DUI and other criminal cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.
 

About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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