Can You Get an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card If You Have a Misdemeanor?

arizona fingerprint clearance card -- illuminated fingerprint

Can You Get an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card If You Have a Misdemeanor?

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In the state of Arizona, people working with children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups need to obtain a fingerprint clearance card before they can be offered employment. They must also keep their clearance card in good standing throughout the length of their employment. 

However, a person could potentially lose their Arizona fingerprint clearance card if found guilty of certain misdemeanor or felony crimes. Let’s take a further look at what a fingerprint clearance card is and what disqualifies you from getting a fingerprint clearance card in Arizona. 

What is an Arizona fingerprint clearance card? 

The Arizona Department of Public Safety issues fingerprint clearance cards for employees of specific professions and activities. Employers use these cards to check a potential employee’s background, including their criminal history. Arizona fingerprint clearance cards are valid for up to six years, unless the holder’s criminal history changes.

In Arizona, there are two types of fingerprint clearance cards: Standard, and Level 1. The type of card you need depends on your profession

Jobs requiring a standard fingerprint clearance card include: 

  • School superintendents, teachers, and tutors
  • School bus drivers
  • Real estate agents
  • Dentists and dental hygienists
  • Nursing home administrators and assisted living facility managers, employees, and volunteers
  • Children’s behavioral health program workers

Professions requiring a Level 1 card include: 

  • Daycare center licensees, personnel, and volunteers
  • Foster home licensees
  • Child care providers
  • Department of Child Safety employees
  • Domestic violence/homeless shelter employees
  • Arizona State Hospital employees
  • Employees of the Arizona Game and Fish Department

What disqualifies you from getting a fingerprint clearance card in Arizona?

Fingerprint clearance cards help employers verify that a potential hire has no dangerous criminal background. So, if a person faces charges for certain crimes, they can have their card suspended. 

Arizona statutes ARS 41-1758.03 covers Standard clearance cards and ARS 41-1758.07 covers Level 1 cards. Under these laws, there are over 80 different crimes where someone could lose their clearance card if awaiting trial or convicted. 

And earlier this year, Arizona lawmakers signed legislation adding more misdemeanor offenses to the list of crimes affecting a person’s clearance card eligibility.

These crimes include a mix of misdemeanor and felony offenses, including: 

Can I get a fingerprint clearance card with a misdemeanor? 

There are some instances where a person can still obtain an Arizona fingerprint clearance card, even if they have a prior conviction. This happens by filing a good cause exception. When filed, the Arizona Department of Public Safety checks your background and criminal history. Depending on the crimes in your background, you may be eligible for the good cause exception. 

Arizona statutes ARS 41-1758.03 and ARS 41-1758.07 list the offenses eligible for a good cause exception. Whether the state grants you a good cause exception or not will depend on: 

  1. Whether you applied for a Standard or Level 1 card, and
  2. The type of crime(s) committed

Some crimes a person could receive a good cause exception for include: 

  • Theft
  • Shoplifting 
  • Forgery
  • Drug sale or possession
  • Robbery

Help Reinstating a Driver’s License in Arizona 

The answer to the question, “Can I get a fingerprint clearance card with a felony or misdemeanor?” depends on the type of crime committed and its eligibility for a good cause exception. 

If you face losing your Arizona fingerprint clearance card, certified criminal law specialist Todd Coolidge can answer all of your questions. Our team will not rest until they do everything possible to get your fingerprint clearance card reinstated. 

Have you been charged with a crime that could jeopardize your fingerprint card? Contact our offices for an appointment today at 602-795-0770 in Phoenix or 480-264-5111 in Chandler. 

Photo by George Prentzas on Unsplash

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