How to Get a Felony Off Your Record in Arizona

A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Arizona, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record.  Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take.  1) Expunge Your Record2) Seal Your Record,3) Request a Pardon of Your RecordThe problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what Arizona offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.

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Expungement

If you get your record expunged in Arizona it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.

Record Sealing

Sealing your record in Arizona is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.

Pardons

If you receive a pardon in Arizona, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.

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Things to Know Before You Start

First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in Arizona.

Felony Expungement in Arizona

Yes, it is possible to expunge your felony in Arizona but it’s called “Set Aside” instead.

Sealing a Record in Arizona

No, it is not possible to seal your record in Arizona.

Getting a Pardon in Arizona

Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in Arizona but it depends on the felony.

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Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options.  The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.  

Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action.  We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process.  Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again.  In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think.  The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing of your record.

TAKE THE ELIGIBILITY TESTQuick NavigationCan You Expunge a Felony in Arizona?How to Expunge a Felony in ArizonaCan You Seal Your Criminal Record in Arizona?Can You Apply for a Pardon in Arizona?How to Apply for a Pardon in Missouri

Can You Expunge a Felony in Arizona?

Unfortunately, you cannot have your record completely expunged in Arizona like you can in some other states. You can apply to have your record set aside, however. Arizona’s setting aside statute allows you to petition to have your conviction set aside after you serve your sentence. If the court grants your petition, your civil rights are restored, with a few exceptions (If you received a DUI, if you want your gun rights restored). Because the record is not completely expunged, though, your conviction can be used if you get arrested again.

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CANNOT SET ASIDE IF…

  1. Involving the infliction of serious physical injury,
  2. Involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument,
  3. For which the person is required or ordered by the court to register as a sex offender, A.R.S. § 13-3821,
  4. For which there has been a finding of sexual motivation under A.R.S. § 13-118
  5. In which the victim is a minor under 15 years of age, or
  6. In violation of A.R.S. § 28-3473, any local ordinance relating to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle or title 28, chapter 3, except a violation of §28-693 or any local ordinance relating to the same subject matter as A.R.S. § 28-693.

How to Expunge a Felony in Arizona

  1. Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.  As we’ve mentioned previously, Arizona is technically called “Set Aside” as opposed to expungement, but because it accomplishes the same thing we will continue to use the word “expungement”.
  2. If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
  3. If you are not eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.
  4. If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
  5. To restore these rights, a person would file a request with the Superior Court in the county where the conviction occurred.
  • For a federal conviction, a person would submit an application to the Superior Court in the county where that person lives.
  • For a federal conviction, a person would submit an application to the Superior Court in the county where that person lives.
  • Instructions for setting aside a conviction, restoring civil rights, and restoring gun rights can be found at the following websites: Coconino County | Maricopa County 
  • If the county in which you were convicted does not have these forms online, contact the Clerk’s Office in the county where you were convicted.
  • Contact information for County Superior Court Clerks can be found here. If the Court denies your request, you can file a request for reconsideration, depending upon the reason for the denial. – Instructions and forms for requesting a reconsideration can be found on the Courts’ websites. 
  • Instructions and forms for requesting a reconsideration can be found on the Courts’ websites.

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Arizona?

Unfortunately it is not possible to seal your criminal record in Arizona.  There is no option available to do so at the present time.

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Can You Apply for a Pardon in Arizona?

It is possible to apply for a pardon in Arizona and you can apply for a pardon any time after you have been discharged from prison or otherwise completed your sentence.  That said, there are some things that will disqualify you from this.

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CANNOT PARDON IF…

  • The Governor has the power to “grant reprieves, commutation, and pardons” in all cases except for treason and impeachment.
  • The Arizona Constitution states that the Legislature can place limitations and restrictions on the Governor’s power to pardon.
  • The Governor can grant a pardon only after they receive the recommendation of the Board of Executive Clemency

How to Apply for a Pardon in Arizona

Missouri has a specific process in order to apply for a pardon. Pardons are often the course of last resort to get relief from a felony conviction. The following are the steps to take:

  1. Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
  2. If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
  3. If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
  4. If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
  5. In order to apply for a pardon, you must submit an application form, which can be obtained from the Board of Executive Clemency by calling (602) 542-5656 or by writing to:1645 W. Jefferson Street, Suite 101

    Phoenix, Arizona 85007

    You can also access the form online by clicking here

    • In addition to the application form, the Board also requires the following items:
      • Copy of your Absolute Discharge, Restoration of Civil Rights, and/or Conviction Set Aside Court Orders.
      • One copy of the pre-sentence report and court sentencing documents (minute entries) for each cause number.
      • Documentation that all court fees and restitution has been paid. If you owe or previously owed child support, provide proof that you are in current payment or the order has been satisfied.
      • Affidavit of Publication in county of conviction, if applicable.
      • Green card return receipts from the certified mailing to the County Attorney in county of conviction, if applicable.
      • Copy of your most current resume.
      • A minimum of three letters of support. At least two references must come from a person who is not related to you by blood or marriage.
      • Any other documentation you wish to include for the Board to consider (certificates, resumes, evaluations, etc.)
      • Two recent sets of fingerprints.
  6. You should submit a personal statement explaining why you would like a pardon. Do not simply say that you want a clean criminal record again. Tell the Board how it would benefit you and/or your family—for example, open up more job opportunities for you, help you avoid deportation/separation from your family, help you obtain a professional license, etc.• When writing your personal statement, keep in mind that the Parole Board/Governor is not retrying you for your crime. Even though you may want to explain the facts of the crime from your point of view, do not try to make excuses for your crime and argue away your guilt. • The Board and Governor are more interested in seeing that you are sorry for the crime, and that you understand the effects of the crime on the victim and society.• Include all of the positive things that have occurred in your life since you received your last conviction—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage or children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.
  7. If possible, you should also submit written references or letters from family, friends, church leaders, church members, teachers, employers and/or co-workers who know you and can say good things about you to support you. It is better to choose individuals who are not related to you, to avoid the appearance of bias.
    • The letters should tell the Board how the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you are deserving of a pardon.
    • The letters would have more credibility if they are notarized (signed in front of a notary public), although this is not required. A notary public can be found in most banks; they usually charge a small fee, depending on whether the person has an account with that bank.
    • The writers must indicate their current address and daytime telephone numbers in the letters.
  8. Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other evidence of your rehabilitation. It is a good idea to get these notarized.

So, there you have it.  Three separate ways to get rid of your record in Arizona.  As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.

Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational.  If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.