True expungement does not exist in Arizona. Expunge means that the record is completely wiped out and no longer exists. Unfortunately, that is not an option in Arizona, but there is something similar. If you would like to have a criminal record modified or changed you can file a “motion to set aside” with the court. This only take a few minutes and is easy to do.
A.R.S 13-907 states that when a motion to set aside is granted, the charges against that individual are dismissed and the offender is released from all penalties that came with the conviction. If you entered into a plea agreement the judge usually will look to see that all the terms of the plea agreement have been complied with, if entered into. The conviction will still appear on public records, but those records will also show that the charges against you were dismissed.
A person who has had a “motion to set aside” granted by a judge must still disclose the prior conviction in an employment application or interview. However, the applicant can also add that the conviction “has been set aside” and that the charges have been dismissed. In reality, this demonstrates to the future employer that the applicant has complied with all of the requirements from the court.
In order to ask the court to grant a “motion to set aside” the petitioner must complete all of the terms of the plea. This includes all jail time be served, any costs associated with the case be paid, any community service be completed etc… However, there are certain exclusions to this right to apply for a “motion to set aside” which includes cases involving dangerous offenses, certain motor vehicle offences, sex-related offenses, and offenses involving a victim under the age of 15.
To complete a “motion to set aside” complete the following:
- Go to the court where you received the conviction. Some courts have some all of their forms online.
- Ask for a “motion to set aside” or “a motion to set aside judgment of guilt”. It should be a one or two page document. Bring your case number with you, as you will need it to complete the form.
- Fill out the form, stating the dates of completion for every term stated in the plea agreement. Bring along copies of any supportive documents that will provide proof to the judge.
- Turn in the completed form to the front counter. The judge will take your motion into consideration and grant or deny it. You should receive the decision in the mail within a couple of weeks.
If you have any questions about this procedure, please give me a call at (480) 213-4489.