It is not technically possible to expunge – that is, erase or seal -- an arrest or charge on an Arizona criminal record. Your criminal history will remain on the books until you reach the age of 99, even if you have completed probation. Under certain circumstances, however, you may obtain some of the benefits of expungement by asking to have your conviction “set aside” under Arizona law.
In addition, if your criminal history record contains mistakes, you can have your record corrected.
Can You Have Your Conviction Set Aside?
Arizona does not have an expungement law, but you may be able to have a felony or misdemeanor conviction set aside. A set aside won’t remove the charge or conviction from your criminal record. However, anyone who checks your criminal record -- for example, a potential employer -- will also see the set aside order. In other words, they will know that you satisfied all the conditions of your probate or sentence, that a court vacated the conviction, and that all the charges against you were dismissed.
Set asides are not available when a crime:
- involves the infliction of a serious physical injury
- involves a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- requires the defendant to register as a sex offender
- includes a finding of sexual motivation
- involves a victim under 15 years of age, or
- consists of certain driving offenses.
(Arizona Statutes § 13-907.)
To learn more about having a conviction set aside, visit the Arizona Department of Public Safety website or consult a lawyer.
Correcting a Criminal Record If You Were Wrongfully Charged
If you were arrested, indicted, or charged for a crime and then cleared of all charges, you may ask the superior court to note on your criminal records that you were cleared. (Arizona Statutes § 13-4051.)
Correcting Other Mistakes in Your Criminal Record
To correct most mistakes on your criminal history record in Arizona, you should contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety and request a Record Review Packet. You can correct your record by completing and submitting a form called “Review and Challenge of Arizona Criminal History Information,” which you will find in the review packet. The state criminal records agency will review your form and, if corrections are necessary, it will update your record. For more information, visit the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.