As of January 1, 2023, the Arizona legislature enacted a new law which allows a person to file a petition to seal all of their case records related to all criminal offenses. In the simplest of terms, an individual who has been charged with a crime may file a petition to seal their records if the person was:
- Charged with a criminal offense that was either dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at trial; or
- Arrested for a crime and charges were not filed; or
- Convicted of a criminal offense and has since completed all of the terms and conditions of their sentence, including the payment of all fines and obligations to any victims
Who is Eligible to Have their Criminal Record Sealed in Arizona?
According to A.R.S. 13-911, individuals who meet the following criteria are eligible to have their criminal record sealed:
A person may file a petition to seal all case records related to a criminal offense if the person was:
- Convicted of a criminal offense and has completed all of the terms and conditions of the sentence imposed by the court, including the payment of all monetary obligations and restitution to all victims.
- Charged with a criminal offense and the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at a trial.
- Arrested for a criminal offense and no charges were filed.
All case records that are sealed pursuant to this section may be:
- Alleged as an element of an offense.
- Used as a historical prior felony conviction.
- Admissible for impeaching any party or witness in a subsequent trial.
- Used to enhance the sentence for a subsequent felony.
- Used to enhance the sentence pursuant to sections 28-1381 and 28-1382.
- Pleaded and proved in any subsequent prosecution of the person by this state or a political subdivision of this state.
- Used as a conviction if the conviction would be admissible if the conviction was not sealed.
Who Is Ineligible To Have Their Record Sealed?
You are ineligible for your record to be sealed if you case relates to the following;
- Sentenced as a dangerous offender pursuant to section 13-704.
- Convicted of a dangerous crime against children as defined in section 13-705.
- Convicted of a serious offense or violent or aggravated felony as defined in section 13-706.
- Convicted of any offense that has either of the following as an element of the offense:
- The discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
- The knowing infliction of serious physical injury on another person.
- Convicted of sex trafficking pursuant to section 13-1307.
- Convicted of a class 2, 3, 4 or 5 felony offense that is included in chapter 14 or 35.1 of this title.
What does Sealing Your Criminal Record Mean?
A criminal record follows a person for their entire lifetime, and it affects their ability to get an education, to find a job and it can even hinder them in finding a place to live. This means that even though an individual has served their time and jumped through all of the tedious legal hoops, they can be discriminated against.
While committing certain crimes may preclude an individual from certain jobs, committing lesser crimes should not haunt an individual for the rest of their life. Thankfully, the change in Arizona law allows for these individuals to put the past behind them as they seal their criminal record.
When an individual has their criminal record sealed, the records relating to the crime are hidden from public records, and no one may view the contents of the record without a court order. When a record is sealed, employers, landlords, and schools that run a background check will not come up with any record of your criminal conduct.
What is the Difference Between Having Records Expunged and Sealed?
When criminal records are sealed, they are hidden from public view. But, these records can still be seen by government officials and those who obtain a court order. This means that even though it may seem like a person’s criminal record no longer exists, there is still a record of it with the court.
When criminal charges are expunged, all records of the matter are deleted. When this occurs, it is as if the crime was never committed and the charges can never come back to haunt the individual.
Criminal Defense in Arizona
The criminal defense team at JacksonWhite Law focuses on their clients’ future, not on their past. Due to this, they will work tirelessly to defend their clients and ensure that they receive the best possible outcome for their case.
If you have been arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, or charged with a felony, the criminal defense team at JacksonWhite Law is here to help. JacksonWhite’s criminal defense team has successfully helped thousands of clients throughout Arizona to obtain the best case results. They are ready to work for you to have your criminal record sealed.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.