Expunging or sealing records

questions & answers

Question: I recently had a class 6 undesignated felony reduced to a misdemeanor. It still shows up as a felony on a background check, who do i submit copies of the order reducing it to a misdemeanor in order to get it off my background?

Answer: In Arizona, expungement has the same meaning as setting aside. Expungement does not wipe out the conviction. The record of conviction is not destroyed. For the protection of the public, a conviction may be used to deny certain kinds of employment, licenses, permits, certificates as well as used against a person in future criminal cases, even though the conviction was set aside or expunged.

A person whose conviction has been set aside or expunged must disclose the conviction if the employment application asks whether the person has a prior conviction. An applicant must report previous conviction of an offense, if asked about prior convictions during a job interview. However, the applicant should also report that the conviction “has been vacated (or set aside) and the charges dismissed.” The court uses this language in setting aside a conviction.

The law does not require that a conviction be removed from a person’s criminal record. It is required that the record show that the conviction has been set aside. When a conviction is expunged or set aside in Arizona, a records check will probably show the original charge and conviction. However, it should also show that the judgment was vacated and that an order of dismissal was entered.

To restore these rights, a person would file a request with the Superior Court in the county where the conviction occurred. For a federal conviction, a person would submit an application to the Superior Court in the county where that person lives. Instructions for setting aside a conviction, restoring civil rights, and restoring gun rights can be found at the following websites:

•Coconino County: http://coconino.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=869


•Maricopa County: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/Forms/CriminalCases/index.asp


If the county in which the person was convicted does not have these forms online, contact the Clerk’s Office in the county where the conviction occurred to see which forms could be used.

Remember that the instructions and the legal forms may use the “set-aside” language used in the statutes or it may use the words “vacate the judgment of guilt.” The words in the statute, “set aside judgment,” have the same meaning as the words used in the instructions and on the form “vacate judgment of guilt and dismiss charges”.



The Court will review the application and may grant the request, deny the request, set a hearing or set orders the Court believes is appropriate in the person’s case. For questions about the hearing, call the Court that set the hearing or contact an attorney.

QUESTIONS

  • I recently had a class 6 undesignated felony reduced to a misdemeanor. It still shows up as a felony on a background check, who do i submit copies of the order reducing it to a misdemeanor in order to get it off my background?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS