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Getting a criminal conviction set aside in Arizona

Let's face it ... we all make mistakes or just plain old bad decisions from time to time. Not all of us end up in jail because of them, but those that do should be offered a second chance at becoming a productive member of society. Most times, though, that is much easier said than done. Between background checks, credit checks, etc., it can be very difficult for a rehabilitated felon to secure employment and get back on their feet.

While some states offer a complete expungement of one's criminal record, Arizona does not. It does, however, offer what is called a "set aside," which the state determines to be the same thing. The words "expungement" and "set aside" can be used interchangeably in Arizona. Any person who has completed a criminal conviction sentence satisfactorily to the court can request a set aside, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. A set aside is not available to those who are convicted of crimes involving serious physical injury, use of a deadly weapon, required registration as a sex offender, a finding of sexual motivation, a victim under the age of 15, or certain driving violations.

The actual difference in expungements and set asides is that an expungement completely wipes a record clean as if it never existed. A set aside simply disregards the charge and conviction and sets it aside so that it can be viewed and used later should a new conviction arise.

A job applicant must still disclose a criminal conviction on an application even after a set aside. However, a note should also be included advising the potential employer that it has been set aside by the state.

If you believe you may be a candidate to have a conviction set aside, contact a criminal law attorney for help today.

Source:, "Setting Aside Convictions and Restoring Civil Rights," accessed December 25, 2017

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