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Phoenix Area Expungement


Photo by Kevin Dooley

If you have a criminal record in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe or anywhere in Maricopa County, you probably have realized that getting a job or apartment is tough to do in Arizona. Arizona makes its criminal records easy to find, which means background check companies are quick to show employers and landlords your embarrassing history.

But there is good news. Arizona’s setting aside law expunges the conviction by withdrawing the finding of guilt and changing the case from a conviction to a dismissed case.

Most criminal records in Maricopa County are eligible or will be eligible to be set aside (expunged). Once your set-aside is complete, employers and landlords will not have access to it. That is great news for you. Most background check companies used by employers and landlords will not show cases that are dismissed. That is more great news for you.

Having a conviction set-aside requires going back to the court where the conviction occurred and filing a motion. The court does not charge a filing fee. Yes, that is more good news. Your motion needs to convince the judge that you are rehabilitated, not a threat to society and that having your record set-aside would benefit you (and your family if applicable) and society.

Most offenses, including felonies can be expunged (set-aside)

The following offenses are not eligible:
• Involving the infliction of serious physical injury.
• Involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
• For which the person is required or ordered by the court to register pursuant to section 13-3821.
• For which there has been a finding of sexual motivation pursuant to section 13-118.
• In which the victim is a minor under fifteen years of age.

In violation of section 28-3473, any local ordinance relating to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle or title 28, chapter 3, except a violation of section 28-693 or any local ordinance relating to the same subject matter as section 28-693.

It is possible to apply for expungement without an Arizona expungement attorney, but an attorney can often get it done faster and with better results. Maricopa Superior Court is notoriously difficult. According to attorney Melissa Clark, about 70 of request are denied if they are made within 7 years of the conviction. Ms. Clark says that other courts in Maricopa are much more expungement friendly.

Most expungement attorneys charge around $700 to set-aside a conviction in Arizona. If you do not have an lawyer you are happy with, look for one that has an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).