Expungements, Setting Aside Convictions and Gun Rights Restored

What is an expungement?

An expungment is a way to give yourself a clean slate again. There are many different candidates for expungement. Most commonly, it is for someone who is trying to obtain a job and concerned their prospective employer may run a background check. Or, a green card holder (aka: legal permanent resident) who wants to become a naturalized citizen. Or, a person who wants to restore their right to own and use a gun. In all cases, an expungement will clean your criminal record and give you a fresh start.

In Maricopa County, an expungement is achieved through a process known as a setting aside your conviction[1]. You can ask the Court to set aside a misdemeanor, felony or juvenile conviction. This request can be made in writing or in person through a hearing before a Judge. In making a decision, the Court will consider a variety of factors, such as: (1) nature and circumstances of the offense, (2) compliance with the conditions of probation,the sentence imposed and any state department of corrections' rules or regulations, (3) any prior or subsequent convictions, (4) victim's input and the status of victim restitution, (5) length of time that has elapsed since the completion of sentence, and (6) age at time of the conviction.

An expungement is requested from the Superior Court of Arizona in the county where your conviction occurred. This means, even if you moved out of state or out of county and your probation was transferred, you still apply in the same county where you pled guilty. Fortunately, a hearing is not necessary and Lavy Law can present a strong case for you in writing, thereby saving you a trip to the courthouse.

What are the Consequences?

An expungement or setting aside of your conviction can make a dramatic difference in a person’s life, both emotionally and physically. Although the arrest and conviction still exist on your record (that is why it’s called a record- it keeps a record of everything!), you can act as though they don’t exist. In other words, when you respond to the common question from a prospective employer: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? You can safely respond: No. This is because you have effectively withdrawn your guilty plea. Accordingly, the department of public safety must update your criminal history with an annotation that the conviction has been set aside.

In fact, even if an employer does a background check, they will likely not be able to see the conviction. There are different levels of background checks and the only employer who can dig that deep and see such conviction is the government (ie: department of public safety and board of fingerprinting).

In addition to cleaning your record, the effect of setting aside your conviction will release you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction, namely, restore your right to possess a gun or firearm. Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from purchasing or possessing a firearm. However, Arizona law can restore this right by setting aside your conviction.

How We Can Help You

Lavy Law will assist you in cleaning your record so that you will never feel haunted by that conviction again. As a former prosecutor, we used to recommend to the Court whether a proposed motion for expungement should be granted. You are entitled to a hearing before the judge with regards to an expungement. As a trial attorney, in certain cases we may exercise your right and request a hearing so that we may successfully argue your case before the judge. Finally, as a counselor at law, we will empower you to take this final step of relief so that you no longer feel like a victim of your past mistake.

Review our Recent Cases to see other cases of expungement that we have done just like your own.

If you are convicted of a crime and want to see if you are eligible to expunge your record, Contact Us immediately for a consultation.


[1] A.R.S. § 13-907.