Arizona's equivalent to expungement law is described as "setting aside" one's criminal record. This means that your criminal record still legally exists, but is not available to all.
After an Arizona resident has "set aside" his or her records of arrest and convictions, the records are essentially expunged from public access in most cases.
Arizona places the burden of having a criminal record expunged on the individual. It is a person's individual responsibility to clear his or her name even if it was determined that the records appearing on the criminal background check are a result of false accusation or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.
Records may be expunged even if the defendant was determined to be guilty and had spent some time in prison or jail. Persons convicted of felonies have been granted motions to have their criminal records expunged for a particular crime. However, this seldom occurs if ever. The most important factor the courts consider in granting one's motion to expunge their criminal records is the severity of the crime and its effect on the greater society.
Felons convicted of violent crimes will generally not be granted any motion to have their records "set aside."
Successful motions for the expungement of criminal records in Arizona are granted for those convicted or falsely accused of misdemeanor criminal conduct. Even motions to have a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (DUI) arrest have been granted under the proper circumstances.
A person must display proof that the person in question possesses no risk factors for repeat offense. In the case of driving while intoxicated, the individual must show that his or her drinking habits have changed and that the person has not had another DUI or alcohol-related accident in a very long time. Under Arizona expungement law, cases in which a person had been found not guilty of driving while intoxicated may also petition the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department to have their DUI arrest expunged.
Voting Rights Restoration:
In Arizona, a felony conviction leads to the loss of voting rights. There are two ways felons can get them back:
• First-time felons convicted on just one count get their voting rights restored automatically upon completion of any sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections or probation plus payment of all court fees and restitution.
• Those with multiple felony convictions must wait two years* after completing any sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections and repaying all court fees and restitution. They then must apply for restoration of their civil rights with the court where they were sentenced. Separate applications must be filed for each felony conviction.
*Felons convicted of multiple felonies do not have to wait two years to apply for rights if they only served probation. They can apply immediately after completing probation and paying any court fees and restitution.
Get Your Arizona Rap Sheet:
Arizona Department of Public Safety: Record Review Instruction Packet