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Obtaining An Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card

A person seeking to obtain the Card must submit a completed application to the Division. The fee to obtain a Card is $47 for a paid employees and teacher certification and $43 for volunteers. Additionally, the applicant must submit a full set of fingerprints to the Division. The applicant can obtain a set of fingerprints from his local law enforcement agency or the applicant may use a private fingerprinting service. The applicant must submit a new set of fingerprints to the division for a fingerprint background check every six years.

Applications may also be obtained by contacting the Arizona Department of Public Safety by:

1) Phone: (602) 223-2279

2) Fax: (602) 223-2947

3) Mail: Applicant Clearance Card Team
Arizona Department Public Safety
P.O. Box 18390
Phoenix, AZ 85005-8390

4) Visiting the office at its physical address:
Arizona Department of Public Safety
2320 North 20th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85005

For an applicant with no state or federal criminal record, the processing time is approximately three to five weeks from the date the Division receives the application packet. For those persons who have a criminal record, the process may take four to eight weeks. Cards issued prior to October 1, 2003, are valid for three years. Cards issued on or after October 1, 2003, are valid for six years.

After the Division receives the applicant’s state and federal criminal history, it compares it to the record with the list of criminal offenses (contained in A.R.S. § 41-1758.03(B) and (C)) that preclude an applicant from receiving the Card. The Division issues a Card, subject to the results

A person will be given a Card under the good cause exception if:

1) an agency (meaning the supreme court, the department of economic security, the department of education, the department of health services, the department of juvenile corrections, the department of emergency and military affairs, or the board of examiners of a nursing care institution administrators and assisted living facility managers) granted a good cause exception before August 16, 1999, and no new precluding offense is identified; or
2) the Board granted a good cause exception and no new precluding offense is identified.

The appeal process

If, after conducting state and federal criminal history record checks, the Division determines that the applicant is ineligible to receive a Card, it will send out a letter of denial.

After the applicant receives the letter of denial, he or she has 30 days to appeal. The applicant must request, complete, sign, and mail an appeal packet to the Department of Public Safety (herein referred to as the “Department”). The appeal packet can be obtained by calling the Board at (602) 223-2279 or by fax at (602) 223-2947.

Once the Department receives the applicant’s appeal packet, it conducts an extensive background check on the individual. Thereafter, the Department turns the applicant’s information over to the Board. The Board is comprised of 5 individuals who meet once every two weeks. The Board then decides whether to 1) grant the applicant an automatic clearance based on the information provided in the appeal documents and the background check, or 2) grant the applicant a hearing. The applicant may have an attorney present.

Obtaining An Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card If You Have A Criminal Record

If the applicant is granted a hearing, he or she will be notified of the time and place of the hearing. At the hearing, the burden of proof falls on the applicant to present evidence that he or she has made positive changes since the time of the conviction. While convictions that have been set aside (expunged) will still be considered by the Board, the harm they cause is minized. Judgments that have been set aside or dismissed are looked upon more favorably, as they demonstrate the applicant’s rehabilitation and ability to be a law-abiding citizen. Applicants are therefore well advised to consult an attorney prior to initially applying to obtain the Card.

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