30 Aug Can My Criminal Record Be Expunged in Arizona?
A recent bill passed by the State Senate has granted Arizona residents the broadest expungement laws to date. It will enable people who qualify to hide their convictions from the general public, including prospective employers and landlords. Here’s more information about Senate Bill 1294 and how to expunge a criminal record in Arizona.
What Is Criminal Record Expungement?
The recently passed Senate Bill 1294 will allow many convictions to be sealed from the public. Studies from other states with similar laws show that with a sealed record, people are able to find better jobs and housing, and are less likely to wind up back in prison. For many, this law will also enable them to regain legal rights like licenses for certain jobs, fingerprint cards, and even owning a firearm.
Starting on January 1, 2023, Arizona State will begin the process of accepting petitions to have criminal records expunged. This is different from last year’s “set-aside” bill that only allowed limited access to criminal records. This new law seals expunged convictions from everyone. Law enforcement, the convicted person, and their attorney would be the only ones able to access the files. There is no limit on the number of convictions you can seal, or how many times you are allowed to petition the court for expungement.
Who Qualifies to Have Their Record Expunged?
All those with a conviction. There are limitations. Like people with Class 1 felonies, certain violent or sexual offenses, and offenses involving the use of or threats with dangerous weapons.
Those who have completed the terms of their sentence, including paying all fees, restitutions, and fines.
Those who have finished the mandatory waiting period, which depends on the charge. The waiting periods are a set number of years, as follows:
- 10 years for Class 2 and 3 felonies
- 5 years for Class 4, 5, and 6 felonies
- 3 years for a Class 1 misdemeanor
- 2 years for lower grade misdemeanors
- An additional 5 years are added to the waiting period if there are prior felony convictions
How to Apply for Record Expungement
Technically, you can’t apply yet. Since this bill does not go into effect until January 1, 2023. There is no way to apply unless your charge is marijuana related, in which case apply away. By looking at the setup for the recent expunged records, and other states’ processes for handling marijuana charges, we can give you an idea of the process.
First, you will need to fill out and submit a petition form. Once submitted, it will go through an approval process. Some petitions may also require a court date. In many states, there are also fees that need to be paid in order to process this paperwork, however, it is unknown how much these fees may cost in Arizona, if there are any.
Criminal Defense Attorney in the Phoenix Area
With luck, this process will be hassle-free and you won’t need to retain a lawyer. However, having someone on your side who knows the law inside and out will help you navigate the process seamlessly and with little stress. Todd Coolidge and Associates can help you get your record wiped clean in the public’s eye. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.