When one has a criminal record, life can be very difficult. Upon release from prison, a criminal record may affect a person’s ability to find a job, obtain housing and more. However, per Arizona Statutes section 13-907, with some exceptions for certain crimes, when a person convicted of a crime fulfills their probation or sentence, and receives a discharge, they may request from the judge who pronounced the probation or sentence to have their judgment of guilt “set aside.”

If the request to set aside is approved, the person’s judgment of guilt will be set aside, the accusations against them will be dismissed and all penalties (with some exceptions) against the person will be released. In addition, depending on the crime committed, a set aside may also restore a person’s ability to possess a firearm. Keep in mind that a set aside is not the same as an expungement. It does not entirely get rid of one’s criminal record. Instead, the record will state that there has been no conviction.

However, a set aside doesn’t apply to those convicted of certain crimes. These crimes include crimes involving a dangerous offense, those in which a person has to register as a sex offender, those in which there has been a finding of sexual motivation, those in which the victim was under age 15 and those who committed a crime in which their driver’s license was revoked, except for cases of reckless driving.

Nevertheless, a set aside is still very important, as it means that when a person such as a potential employer or landlord performs a background check, they will see the judgment has been set aside. This may make it easier for a person to find employment and housing. Set asides are also useful for those seeking financial aid for and admission into college or those who wish to enlist in the U.S. military. Therefore, those who wish to have their conviction set aside should take the steps necessary to do so, so they can live their life moving forward without being burdened by a criminal record.