Question: I have an old felony conviction on my record. It might be a misdemeanor, but I think it’s a felony conviction. And I successfully completed probation. Am I stuck with this felony conviction forever? I can’t get a job even though I’ve had no police contact in a decade! What do I do?
Ryan’s Answer: Even if your conviction is an Arizona felony, you can still file an application to set aside the judgment pursuant to A.R.S. 13-907. Upon receiving your written application, a court can, but is not required to, “set aside” your judgment of guilt. If the court agrees to grant your application, according to Arizona law, the judge shall set aside the actual judgment of guilt, dimiss the accusations or information and order that you be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction, with some specific exceptions.
If you succeed on your application, you can ask the court to notify the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) at their Criminal History Records Division, to inform them of the fact that your judgment of guilt was set aside. Ideally, your Arizona criminal history can then be amended to reflect the setting aside of your conviction, which may help your chances at finding employment. You can also petition the U.S. Department of Justice for an amendment to your National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) record.
If your conviction is already a misdemeanor, you can still ask that it be set aside.
You have the right to hire an attorney to complete this process on your behalf.