What is a Set Aside? How is it Different than Arizona Expungement?

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What is a Set Aside? How is it Different than Expungement in Arizona?

If you have a conviction on your record, a criminal defense attorney can attest that, you may have difficulties living a typical life. You may be unable to get your dream job, and some rental companies could even deny you your right to live in their communities. With these factors in mind, you are likely desperate to erase charges from your record.

In most states around the country, you can work with a defense attorney to expunge your charges.

In Arizona, for any case, except for those involving marijuana, you have to have a set-aside. Arizona does not offer expungement on most charges.

To pursue a set-aside process for any conviction, get in contact with an experienced defense attorney at Gurion Legal.

Arizona Set-Aside vs. Expungement

When considering a set-aside vs. expungement, the main difference is the record itself. Getting a conviction expunged would give you a clean record without any charges on it.

When you set aside your charges, however, the conviction will still show up on your record, but it will be notated as being “set aside.”  This means that the judgment of guilt was set aside and the charging document was dismissed.


Marijuana Expungement Cases in Arizona

If you want to receive an expungement of a charge in Arizona, it is only available with a marijuana-related conviction. This allowance is only due to the passage of Proposition 207, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. The legislation allowed for the legalization of marijuana for any adult over the age of 21.

Speaking with a defense attorney regarding this expungement is the best way to get started.  The government will not automatically expunge your record of these crimes. Specific marijuana offenses that qualify include:

  • Possession of less than 2.5 ounces
  • Consumption of less than 2.5 ounces
  • Transportation of less than 2.5 ounces
  • Owning marijuana paraphernalia
  • Using marijuana paraphernalia
  • Transporting marijuana paraphernalia
  • Owning six or fewer marijuana plants
  • Transporting six or fewer marijuana plants
  • Cultivating or processing six or fewer marijuana plants

When you and your defense attorney seek to remove the charge, the prosecutor has 30 days to respond. If this process does not occur, then you can expect to have a clean record soon after.

Arizona Set Aside Laws Under ARS 13-907

Arizona’s set aside laws are within code ARS 13-907. This law permits the pursuit of this process. It is important to note that you would have to complete your sentencing and other discharge information to be eligible.

Factors Impacting Approval

The judge will consider a variety of factors in determining if they should set aside your conviction. Consider the list below.

  • Nature of the offense
  • Compliance with sentencing, probation, and other regulations
  • Prior and subsequent convictions
  • Input from the victim of the crime
  • Time elapsed since the completion of sentencing
  • Age when the defendant received their conviction
  • Other factors as required

Exceptions to Set-Asides

The judge will soon after decide if you should receive a set-aside. Some offenses given by certain agencies are unable to use this benefit, however, including those below.

  • Transportation-related offenses
  • Game and fish offenses

There are also certain specific offenses that do not qualify for these benefits. Those include:

  • Dangerous and violent offenses
  • Offenses that require some type of registration by the court
  • Sexually motivated offenses
  • Offenses with a victim under the age of 15
  • Certain motor vehicle-related offenses.

What Happens After the Set-Aside Approval?

When you receive approval of a set-aside, you likely want to know what comes next. The judge will command that you get a release from legal penalties. There are exceptions, however, including those in the list below.

  • Department of transportation-related penalties and enforcements
  • Conviction proof for subsequent crimes

Typically, you will receive back access to your Civil Rights after your sentence is complete anyways. If you still face any issues, complete an application with the Superior Court in your locality. Gun rights are on a case-by-case basis.

Denied Cases

Sometimes, the judge may decide to deny your request for a set aside on your record. You will receive a reason in letter form for the court’s decision. You must review this information with your defense attorney. They will help you understand the choices you have.

Arizona Expungement Set-Aside FAQs

Below you will find commonly asked questions regarding the process of an Arizona set-aside for various criminal convictions. If you have additional questions regarding your eligibility for an Arizona expungement or set-aside, please give us a call today!

Can I Request a Set Aside in Arizona for Convictions from Another State?

The Arizona set aside law only works for crimes that occurred in the state. Contact the location where your crime occurred to see if there is an opportunity for an expungement or any other method to receive a clean record.

Can I Set Aside Federal Convictions I have in Arizona?

If you have any of these charges on your record, you cannot have the Arizona courts set them aside. They do not have the authority to do so, meaning you should contact federal judges themselves. Typically, the process they choose to take involves expunging your record.

Will the Conviction Still Be on My Background Check?

After you receive approval of a set-aside, you may feel excited about leaving your past behind. Unfortunately, the evidence of the crime will remain on your record. The background check will also show the conviction.

What is different now, however, is that the background check will also show the set-aside. It will state that the government does not recognize that conviction anymore. Anyone who needs to look into your criminal history has to agree with this indifference. Employers and rental companies still have the right to deny your applications, however.

What Effects Will the Conviction Still Have on My Life?

As mentioned, the conviction will remain on your record. Again, any company still has the right to deny your application or take back a job offer. Most employers and rental agencies will agree with the court and look past these convictions, however.

When your record is clean from the set-aside process, you will have your civil rights again. Your sentencing will be over, meaning you can vote and possibly even own guns. In the judge’s eyes, you completed the restitution required with the approval of a set-aside.

How Long Does the Set Aside Process Take?

You should know that it can take a while to have your set aside request granted. IT is a long process that requires careful review by a judge. It is imperative to work with a defense attorney that you can trust to complete your application quickly and seamlessly.

After the court receives the request, it will typically take at least 90 days. When approved, however, your records will show the set aside within 48 to 72 hours. In total, the entire process could take three to four months from start to finish at least.

What is a Case Dismissal?

Dismissal is a different process from when you expunge or set aside your records. This process occurs before you even go to trial to receive your sentencing. You do not even have to have a conviction of guilty before a dismissal.

This process typically occurs when the court determines that you are not guilty ahead of time. Dismissals may also happen after police misconduct. Remember, however, that set-asides and expungements occur after you are guilty and complete your sentencing as required of you.

Arizona Set-Aside Defense Attorneys

Get in contact with Gurion Legal as soon as you complete your sentencing to erase charges from affecting the rest of your life. In Arizona, you can try to expunge your records for marijuana-related charges now that it is legal. Pursue a set-aside, however, for any non-violent and non-sexual crimes. These include both felonies and misdemeanors.

Set-asides can help show your employer or your rental company that you are serious about making a change. Speaking to an experienced expungement attorney can help you move on from your past. You deserve a life back with your civil rights intact and with your past behind you.