Expungement vs Set Aside in Arizona

Arizona law does not allow for true expungement of criminal convictions. However, it does allow for the restoration of rights that individuals lose upon conviction of a felony crime. These rights include:

  • Enlisting in the military
  • Holding public office
  • Obtaining or renewing licensures
  • Possessing a firearm
  • Serving on a jury
  • Voting

If you’re convicted of a felony drug charge, you could also lose your ability to receive several benefits, including social security, financial aid for education, food stamps or other government assistance programs.

Based on the conviction on your record, you might also face termination of your parental rights. And you might struggle to find housing and employment.

Generally, all these changes to your rights are not something you experience if convicted of a misdemeanor crime.

Rights restoration in Arizona

In 2019, HB 2080 made for automatic rights restoration for first-time felony offenders when they have completed their terms of probation and received an unconditional discharge from prison. The person convicted must also pay any restitution. Other court debts are not included in this requirement.

The one caveat to HB 2080 is that it does not restore a convicted felon’s right to possess a firearm.

Repeat offenders must apply for rights restoration once they have met the following criteria. “The completion of probation or the receipt of an absolute discharge from the Arizona Department of Corrections.”

However, these repeat offenders must wait two years from the date of completing their probation and discharge to apply for rights restoration.

During this application process, the courts can deny the request for restoration of rights, which is why you should obtain an experienced attorney who can guide you through the experience to ensure the best possible outcome.

Rights restoration for federal felony convictions

If you’ve been convicted of a federal felony, you’ll need to go through a slightly different process to apply for rights restoration. The federal system does not differentiate between first-time and repeat offenders.

You’ll need to apply for civil rights restoration in the superior court in the county where you reside. Once again, the courts have the right to deny your application for rights restoration at their discretion. They will need to cite reasons for their denial though.

If you’ve been convicted of a federal offense in another state, you’ll need to return to that jurisdiction to seek rights restoration.

Applying for restoration of the right to possess a firearm

Individuals convicted of non-serious felony offenses can apply for restoration of their rights to own a firearm. You must wait two years after your discharge to apply.

Serious offenses are generally classified as crimes against children, sexual offenses or common law felonies. In serious felony cases, the individual who was convicted must wait 10 years before applying for restoration of the right to bear arms.

If your conviction was for a dangerous offense, you will not have the right to apply for restoration of your firearm rights. Dangerous offenses generally include the use of a dangerous weapon during a crime with the intention to use that weapon to harm someone else. The only way to regain your firearm rights in these circumstances is if you are pardoned for your crime.

Convicted felons in out-of-state cases must return to that jurisdiction to seek restoration of firearm rights.

Seeking rights restoration with an experienced attorney

Individuals who have felony convictions on their record are not necessarily bad people or pose a danger to society. Therefore, rights restoration can help bring back their way of life after a criminal conviction.

Our law office helps protect the rights of individuals facing criminal charges and helps restore your rights after you’ve served your time for any convictions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.