Arizona Revised Statute § 13-911 allows a person who was arrested or convicted in Arizona to petition the court to seal all records relating to an individual's arrest, conviction, and sentence. If granted, all records will be sealed and it will be as though the incident never occurred. Sealing of the arrest and case records will allow you to answer with confidence to an inquiry, including, without limitation, an inquiry relating to employment, housing, financial aid, or loan applications. A person whose records are sealed may state in all instances that they have never been arrested, charged, or convicted.
Unlike the Arizona Expungement (Set Aside), sealing your record does not restore your firearm rights or remove any other disabilities in relation to your conviction. However, it does remove the case information from the public view. In most cases, we recommend our clients obtain an expungement and sealing of their Arizona records for maximum benefit.
Can I seal my Arizona case?
Most Arizona arrests and convictions are eligible for record sealing so long as they are not a “dangerous offense”, a crime against a child, serious or violent felonies, or other sex crime offenses. In addition to having an eligible offense, you must meet the requisite waiting period dictated by the level of offense the case is. The following waiting periods begin upon the completion of the sentence including paying all fines, fees, and restitution:
10 years for a class 2 or 3 felony
5 years for a class 4, 5, or 6 felony
3 years for a class 1 misdemeanor
2 years for a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor
For those with more than one felony conviction, the waiting period is extended by an additional 5 years to the period listed above.
What happens when I have my Arizona record sealed?
If your request for sealing is granted, the judge will order the clerk of the court to notify the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the prosecutor to seal the case records. The Department of Public Safety will designate their records as sealed and inform all the appropriate state and federal law enforcement agencies of the sealing.
All law enforcement agencies and courts will be prohibited from distributing the arrest conviction, or sentencing records to anyone with limited exceptions for law enforcement and government agencies. It will be as if the case did not happen and you can answer as such in most circumstances.
For as robust as this relief is, it does not restore any rights including the right to purchase and possess a firearm. Therefore, we typically recommend clients obtain this relief in addition to Arizona Expungement (Set Aside) and/or Arizona Firearm Restoration.
Do I need an attorney?
It would be a good idea. Arizona law gives judges the discretion whether to grant or deny a request for Arizona record sealing. If the judge determines it is in the best interests of the public's safety, the request will be granted. The prosecutor's office is allowed to argue against your case and if there was a victim in your case they have a right to respond. Since the judge is given such a large latitude when deciding these cases, it's advisable to have someone in your corner actively advocating for you and disputing the state's objections.
Our firm has successfully handled more than 5,000 record-clearing cases in Arizona. If you have any questions about any of our services or our law firm, call us today or you can chat with us online for a free, confidential consultation to have all of your questions answered. We will start working on your case the day you sign up. The sooner you get the process started, the sooner you can get your conviction off your record.