HOW TO SET ASIDE A CRIMINAL CONVICTION:
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’s time to get a fresh start. In Arizona, the way to get that done is a motion to set aside. Setting aside a conviction involves filing a motion that petitions the court to set aside your conviction. If the government objects, then a reply is filed. Finally, these motions may be accompanied by an oral argument before the court.
WHAT A SET ASIDE WILL DO:
There are good reasons to set aside a criminal offense. A motion to set aside requests the judge to “set aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the accusations or information and order that a person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.” 1 This is a very helpful tool for getting your life back on track. It’s a way to openly show the world that you’re not a “criminal” and shouldn’t be labeled as such. If granted, a motion to set aside will provide you with a legal document legally declaring that the court set aside your conviction and vacate the judgment against you. That document is useful and assists with prospective employers, government or regulatory agencies and even clearing your name from malicious internet sites. UPDATE: As of July 1, 2015, if you were convicted of a felony offense, a set aside may restore your gun rights for some offenses. It will also restore gun rights for those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor offense.
WHAT A SET ASIDE WON’T DO:
A motion to set aside is often used synonymously with expungement. But they aren’t the same thing. First, there’s no “expungement” in Arizona. Unfortunately, I believe that some bloggers who use the term intend to be misleading. Let me set things straight. An expungement implies that your record will be sealed or destroyed. This is an option for some but, generally, the vehicle that provides you with a new beginning in Arizona is a motion to set aside. Setting aside a conviction is a powerful tool but it will not “destroy” your record. Even so, the good news is that Arizona laws for setting aside a conviction are fairly generous compared with other states or federal law and still provides the benefits listed above. It will not restore gun rights if you’ve been convicted of a serious or dangerous offense.
WHEN ARE YOU ELIGIBLE:
Upon fulfillment of all conditions of your sentence or probation, you’re eligible to apply for a set aside. There are only a few exceptions. You’re not eligible to set aside your conviction if you were convicted of any of the following:
- A crime that was a dangerous offense (the crime involved the use of a deadly weapon or caused serious physical injury);
- A crime that caused you to register as a sex offender or there was a judicial finding of sexual motivation;
- A crime committed against a victim who was under 15 years-old; or
- Crimes involving criminal traffic violations listed in Title 28, Chapter 3 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PUT THE PAST BEHIND YOU:
If you’ve been convicted of a crime and you’re ready to set this conviction aside once and for all, give us a call. I’ve had numerous successes and I absolutely love this part of my job. I take great pleasure in helping others get back up after they’ve been knocked down. I detest the fact that our criminal justice system labels people without regard to who they really are and that those labels cause so much collateral damage to those who need help getting back on their feet. I’ll assist you in getting back on the saddle again. Removing the scarlet letter of conviction and restoring dignity is important to me.
Even if you’ve tried setting aside your case and failed, come and see me and we’ll try again. Even if you haven’t finished all the terms of your probation yet, come and see me and we’ll begin preparing now to help increase future success. I find that a little elbow grease up front gets the job done right and saves you hassle later. It’s never worth it to take shortcuts because the faster you can set your conviction aside, the better.