Almost 80 percent of employers conduct background checks on job applicants, and many employers deny employment to those with criminal records. Additionally, criminal records can prevent people from getting housing or student loans.
However, people may take steps to lessen how much their criminal records impact their lives. In many states the process is called expungement. In 2023, Arizona will enact new DUI expungement laws. Until these new laws take offense, a set aside is the closest thing to record sealing in the state. Not all offenses are eligible for a set aside in Arizona and people considering petitioning for a set aside of their criminal records should understand not only the benefits but limitations involved in doing so.
In order to petition for a set aside in Arizona, a person needs to have met the terms of the sentence for the offense. In other words, all jail time, parole or probation periods must be complete and fines must all be paid.
A person can petition to set aside offenses ranging from felonies to misdemeanors, including Arizona driving offenses like DUI. However, if a person has been convicted of two or more felonies, or has been sentenced to prison, he or she must wait two years before petitioning the court for a set aside. Additionally, the law also excludes some offenses from set asides, such as:
Set-asides, unfortunately, come with limitations. It’s important for individuals to understand the limits of a set-aside.
A set aside also helps people to put their mistakes in the past and focus on their futures.
Despite the limitations of a set aside, there are still benefits. By obtaining a set aside, it shows people or entities searching an individual’s criminal record that the charges have been dismissed.
Obtaining a set aside can be a complicated process. A person petitioning for a set aside needs to convince the judge that he or she has changed and deserves to have the conviction set aside. It is beneficial to hire an experienced Arizona attorney knowledgeable in handling set-asides to help present the petitioner’s case in the most persuasive way possible.