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Expunge Your Conviction, Clean Up Your Record

A criminal record isn't exactly a hot accessory, but you don't have to carry it around with you forever. Or at least, you don't have to if you can expunge your prior convictions.

Except that Arizona doesn't call it expungement. Under state law it's known as setting aside a conviction. But the effect is the same: Your record is cleared. That makes certain things easier, like getting a job or an apartment.

If you can clear your record, obviously you want to do it. But not everyone can; it depends on what crime was committed.

Most states limit expungement to certain offenses, and Arizona is no different. The law specifies certain crimes that cannot be set aside.

That includes crimes that are inherently dangerous, such as those that inflict serious physical injury or involve a deadly weapon.

Crimes in which the victim is under 15, that are motivated by sexual desires, or that require the convicted person to register also can't be set aside. Neither can certain driving violations.

But if your conviction doesn't include any of those factors, it may be possible to have it set aside.

Before submitting a petition to the court to do so, make sure you've fulfilled all the terms of your sentence. That includes any fines, community service hours, rehabilitation programs, parole, or probation.

Additionally, if you are busted for any related crimes in the six years following the conviction you're hoping to set aside, you won't be successful.

Probably the best thing you do for your case is to hire a lawyer to help you.

It's up to the court's discretion whether to set the conviction aside. Having someone experienced and professional on your side should improve the odds of a favorable outcome.

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