In the criminal justice system, there are various ways that individuals can have their records set aside, sealed, or expunged. These options can help to remove or reduce the negative consequences of a criminal record, such as difficulty finding employment or housing.
Set Aside Records and Certificates of Second Chance
In Arizona, individuals may be able to have their records set aside immediately after completing their sentence, including paying all fines and restitution. This means that the individual's criminal record will be vacated but will still appear on public record with a notation that the conviction was “Set Aside.”
In other cases, individuals may be eligible for a "Certificate of Second Chance," which allows them to have their records set aside after a certain amount of time has passed and a Judge has given them an order stating that the person is rehabilitated and shield employers from liability if they employ them. For example, in Arizona, individuals may be eligible for a Certificate of Second Chance immediately for a misdemeanor, two years for a Class 4, 5, or 6 Felony, or five years after a Class 2 or 3 Felony.
Sealing Criminal Records
Sealing records is another option that can help remove or reduce a criminal record's negative consequences. In Arizona, individuals may be able to have their records sealed after a certain amount of time has passed following the completion of their sentence.
For example, Class 4, 5, or 6 Felonies may be eligible for record sealing after five years, while Class 2 or 3 Felonies may be eligible after ten years. Class 1 misdemeanors are eligible to be sealed after three years, and a Class 2 or 3 Misdemeanor is eligible to be sealed after two years.
In Arizona, personal marijuana possession cases may be eligible for expungement, which means that the case is completely erased from the individual's record. This may be the case for any personal use marijuana possession cases where the amount of cannabis was less than 2.5 oz.
Restore Civil Rights
Individuals may have their civil rights automatically restored after completing a first felony offense or upon discharge from their sentence. However, there may be exceptions for certain offenses, such as crimes involving firearms.
Firearm Rights Restored
In other scenarios, individuals may be able to have their gun rights restored after a certain amount of time has passed following the completion of their sentence. For example, in Arizona, individuals may be able to have their gun rights restored ten years after being discharged from a serious offense, as defined by state law.
Fingerprint Clearance Card
Finally, individuals who have had their fingerprint clearance card revoked may be able to petition to have it reinstated. This can be a valuable option for individuals who need to have their fingerprint clearance card for employment or other purposes.
If you believe that any of the information in this article pertains to you or someone you know and you are interested in exploring your options for setting aside, sealing, or expunging your criminal record, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney can provide you with personalized legal advice and help you understand the specific laws and procedures in your state. Don't let a criminal record hold you back any longer. Contact our office today to take the first step towards a brighter future.