Unfortunately, Arizona is one of the few states that does not allow for the possibility of expungement. While it does have other programs by which first-time offenders can gain a second chance, the legal system of the state is not authorized to permanently destroy any criminal record, regardless of how minor the offense.
Having a record sealed or set aside has benefits similar to expungement but not quite to the extent of permanent eradication. While Arizona does not provide a process for expunging records, it does allow for individuals to petition to have their criminal records sealed from basic background checks. This is known as having a judgment set aside. When a record is set aside, the criminal conviction will show as dismissed in public records. Even if a detailed background check is conducted, the record will show the existence of a prior conviction without details of the crime committed. Furthermore, the record will show that the court granted the petition to have the judgment set aside.
The implications of having a DUI conviction set aside are very similar to actual expungement. People who have successfully obtained a set aside generally have an easier time finding jobs and obtaining ownership privileges, along with the restoration of many other freedoms previously restricted because of their criminal history.
It is important to note that there are several DUI-related offenses that cannot be set aside under any circumstances. Aggravated DUI, such as DUI with injury and child endangerment, will not be granted pardon. Furthermore, since the “second chance” principle is for first offenders to start over, the existence of prior DUI or criminal offense can make it difficult for an individual to have their petition granted. Hiring an experienced Fountain Hills DUI attorney can greatly increase the chance of a successful set aside.
To request a hearing to have your record set aside, you must first fully complete the sentence ordered by the court upon your initial conviction. This includes jail time, license suspension and restrictions, payment of court and jail fees, and participation in court-mandated substance counseling. Furthermore, you must not have any additional criminal charges added to your record between three months and six years from the date of your first DUI.
If your situation meets these requirements, you and your DUI attorney can file a petition with the Court requesting a hearing to have your record set aside. The petition will be accompanied by documented proof that you have carried out the terms of your sentence fully and that your prior criminal history does not disqualify you from having your petition granted. If the court decides to set aside your record, the conviction will show as a dismissed conviction even the most detailed background check.
For a free consultation with a lawyer, call Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666.
We handle cases throughout Arizona, including Phoenix and Scottsdale.