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Sealing Arrest, Conviction and Sentencing Records

New Expungement Law in Arizona

As of December 31, 2022, the Arizona State Legislature has enacted a new law which enables a person to petition the court to seal and expunge criminal records and convictions, under ARS § 13-911. This includes law enforcement (arrest) records, prosecuting agency records, and court records.  If granted, the person would be able to deny any arrests or convictions involving a sealed case when it comes to applications for things like employment, housing, financial aid, and loans.  Please note, there are exceptions in which a person will still need to report a sealed/expunged arrest and/or conviction, as enumerated in ARS § 13-911(I)(5).

When are cases eligible to be sealed/expunged?

If your case falls under any of these categories, you may be eligible to apply for expungement:

1.     Criminal conviction(s) in which all terms and conditions of the sentence imposed by the court, including payment of fees/fines and restitution have been satisfied.

2.     Criminal charges that were dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at trial.

3.     A criminal arrest but no charges were filed. 

What is the *waiting period for application of expungement?

·       Class 2 or 3 Felony - 10 years

·       Class 4, 5, or 6 Felony - 5 years

·       Class 1 Misdemeanor - 3 years

·       Class 2 or 3 Misdemeanor - 2 years

*The waiting period begins once a case has been discharged by the court.  A case is discharged after a person completes all terms and conditions of the sentence, including probation, payment of all fees/fines and restitution.

Waiting Period for Multiple Convictions 

·       A prior historical felony conviction adds an additional 5 years to the specified waiting periods.

·       A person convicted of 2 or more offenses (except a misdemeanor offense under Title 28, excluding a DUI) may not petition the court until the waiting period (from date of discharge) has elapsed for both convictions. 

What types of case are ineligible for expungement:

·       Class 1 Felonies (e.g. Murder)

·       Certain violent or dangerous felonies

·       Crimes against children

·       Some sexual offences

When can sealed records still be used?

·       As historical prior felony conviction(s)

·       Admissible for impeaching a party or witness in a subsequent trial

·       Sentence enhancements for subsequent felony and/or DUI

·       Prohibited possession of firearms under state or federal laws (28 CFR § 25.9)

·       See ARS § 13-911 for other limitations

Benefits of Expungement

Having a criminal conviction can often prevent a person from moving forward productively in life, as it can limit job and educational opportunities as well as housing options.  This expungement law is a great opportunity for a person to have a second chance at cleaning up a criminal record and putting the past behind him/her.  If you have a criminal record, contact the Firm to learn more about the expungement process, eligibility requirements and to assist you in preparing and filing the petition for expungement. Attorney Trent Buckallew handles expungement petitions in the Phoenix area and throughout the state of Arizona. 

What is the Difference Between an Expungement and a Set Aside?

Before the legislature past this Expungement statute, ARS § 13-911, the only option for cleaning up one’s criminal conviction was to file a petition to Set Aside the conviction under ARS § 13-905. If an application for set aside was granted, the case would still show up on a person’s record as a dismissal, thus, employer’s and others who ran background checks would see that a person had a criminal case, albeit a dismissal. While having a dismissal show up on a background check is more favorable than a conviction, it would still often result in a person having to explain what happened to a potential employer or landlord.  Being able to expunge records completely hides the arrest and court records so that nothing at all shows up on a background check run by employers and others.  This allows a person to avoid having to report it at all on applications and thus, alleviates the need for any explanation about the case to employers and others.

Contact the office today and speak with an experienced expungement lawyer to learn more about the process of filing a petition to expunge/seal records.

Client Reviews
We hired Trent Buckallew to represent our son following a second MIP ticket he received while in college. Mr. Buckallew kept us informed throughout all proceedings and helped us receive the satisfactory outcome of dropped charges in exchange for taking an alcohol awareness class. He was personable, knowledgeable and treated our small case with care and compassion. We would highly recommend him to anyone in need of representation. SR
Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into the case against (client's name). We sincerely appreciate the great job you did. We are praying this is the end of it. Thanks again so very much. This was such a difficult time for our family. LN
I'm finally 100% clear of the problem that started our relationship. I cannot thank you enough for handling my case and expungement. I have a great sense of new beginnings and don't have to let my past affect my future. My freedom is priceless. TM
I appreciate everything you were able to accomplish for my father and will certainly be referring Mr. Buckallew to anyone I know who may be in need of an excellent criminal defense attorney. CM
Trent handled cases for me on two different occasions involving tickets for seat belt violations in commercial vehicles. Very happy with results. All charges dismissed. One case in Flagstaff and one case in Gilbert Court. KF