Anyone convicted of a crime knows the lifelong consequences of having a criminal record. From struggling to find employment to losing the right to vote, having a past record seriously cripples individuals from being active members of society.
Fortunately, the state of Arizona provides a way for people to rebuild their reputation after suffering from past offenses; but the legal processes are incredibly complex. With the help of an experienced Phoenix expungement lawyer, people can work towards a brighter future.
How Expungement Works
An expungement, or set aside, is offered to all Arizona residents convicted of a criminal offense who successfully complete the terms of their probation or sentence. Although the two terms have different technical meanings, the legal community of Arizona uses them interchangeably. Individuals can apply to the authority that issued their sentence to have their record cleared of their wrong actions. Having past actions set aside can transform the future for these individuals. The possibilities include:
- Better job opportunities.
- Regaining the right to vote.
- Recovering the right to gun ownership.
Being a convict for life isn’t the ideal circumstances for anyone. Since Arizona offers this outstanding option in the Revised Statutes, Section 13-907, individuals should seek legal counsel to understand the best route for obtaining the notation in their criminal record. Individuals greatly benefit from showing future employers and family members their convictions were officially set aside by the State.
How to Obtain Expungement
Hiring legal assistance is the most efficient way to apply for a set aside. With their extensive knowledge of legal procedures and terminology, they will work quickly to develop an effective proposal to present to the judge, justice of the peace, or other legal authority who was involved in the original sentence or probation.
Necessary Restrictions for Set Asides
Clearing the record is possible for those charged of minor misdemeanors and other small incidents. However, the Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 13-907, states certain conduct is ineligible for a set aside. The list includes criminal offenses such as:
Anyone guilty of a dangerous offense involving severe injury or deadly weapons.
- Anyone filed as a court ordered registered pursuant.
- Anyone filed with sexual motivation pursuant.
- Anyone with a victim under 15 years old.
- Anyone charged with a set of specific driving offenses.
The Importance of a Set Aside
Officially having the judgment of guilt set aside by the courts of Arizona impacts convicts in a multitude of ways. Whether a person was charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the results of a set aside are highly valuable. For a felony, the benefits include:
- Releasing defendant from most penalties and disabilities related to the conviction.
- Showing employers and other authority figures the person’s commitment to their future.
- Transferring the focus from the past to the future.
For a misdemeanor, individuals can benefit from similar results, but the overall impact of a set aside is less than a felony; a misdemeanor is technically less destructive for a person’s reputation. However, the set aside is still valuable for people interested in keeping their reputation as clean and honest as possible.
Pursing legal counsel concerning an expungement or set aside is wise for individuals who want the best results from their endeavors. Having the advice of a professional will help people gain the desired outcome more quickly than if they apply independently.
Our criminal defense lawyer, Scott Stewart at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart is ready to help individuals gain the vindication they need for a promising future in Arizona.