HAVE YOUR CRIMINAL CONVICTION SET ASIDE
Here at Alcock and Associates we believe that many good people unfortunately find themselves in bad situations. We believe that these situations should not impede an individual from moving forward. Even old, low-level traffic offenses can hold people back from advancement and seeking the jobs that they truly desire.
When an individual has been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, one of the most difficult aspects is being able to reintegrate yourself into the community and society. Having a criminal conviction on your record can prove to be an obstacle when applying for a job and even when looking for housing. Fortunately, the state of Arizona allows for individuals to ‘set aside’ their criminal conviction and allows them to restore civil rights which include the right to bear arms and the right to vote.
WHAT IS A SET ASIDE?
Unfortunately, the state of Arizona does not offer expungements of criminal convictions. An expungement is essentially the act of erasing or sealing an arrest or criminal charge from your criminal record. Because the state of Arizona does not offer expungement, they offer what is known as a ‘set aside’. This is different from an expungement. In regards to set asides, the Arizona statute states that “If the application is granted, the court shall set aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the complaint, information or indictment and order that the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction”.
A set aside will not remove or erase the criminal conviction or charge from your criminal record. However, if your motion to set aside your criminal conviction has been approved, depending on your record and how the Department of Public Safety annotates your conviction, if an employer or landlord were to look at your criminal record, it will either show no conviction or it will state that your conviction was set aside. It will show that the individual has satisfied all the conditions or requirements of their sentence or probation and that the charges against the individual were dismissed. In order for a conviction to be set aside in Arizona the conviction must have taken place in an Arizona court. Convictions from other states can not be set aside in Arizona.
One important aspect of set asides that one must keep in mind is that if a conviction has been set aside the state can use that set aside conviction in prosecutions for future offenses. For example, if the court approves and sets aside an individual’s DUI conviction, the state can use that set aside conviction as a prior in a future DUI case. Also, if a conviction has been set aside, it will not affect the penalties that have been imposed by the Department of Transportation which include the revocation of a driver’s license.
With this being said, if a person were to receive a set aside, individuals and employers who were to do a background check are likely to look at your record in less of a negative way and more in a positive light. Unfortunately there are still some employers who still treat this as if it were a conviction. The good thing is that for certain felony and DV cases misdemeanor offenses, a set aside can restore your constitutional rights.