Having Convictions Set Aside In Arizona

In today’s episode Chuck explains why you can’t have your records expunged in Arizona. You can have convictions set aside, but not expunged under Arizona statute.

Having Convictions Set Aside In Arizona Video Transcript

Hi folks. Another common phone call I get, it seems to be about every day or every other day, somebody calls and says hey, I was convicted on… of an offense. Or they, better yet, they went through TASK to make an offense go away. Like they were charged with a possession of drug crime or a domestic violence. They had a chance to work off the charge by going to counseling. And, they ask me, you know, hey can my arrest record, not the conviction record because there’s no conviction. I’m talking about an arrest record, can that be “expunged” is the word everybody seems to use. Arizona does not recognize expungement. And to me the definition of expungement is to remove from the record. In other words, take it out. No longer there. We don’t have that.

Convictions can be set aside. In the practical effect, as far as I’m concerned, is nothing; but expungements were sealing of the record. We don’t recognize that in Arizona. As a result, if there is an arrest record and it is somehow in a public file and most are, and somebody fines it doing a background check, there’s nothing you can do about it. It will probably say either no disposition or it will say dismissed. Hope to God, it says dismissed because everybody can figure out what dismissed means. If it says no disposition, I had somebody come to me because that’s exactly what their background showed out of an offense in Houston, Texas from the sixties. I had to get a hold of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and get documentation to say that the charges were actually… they were never filed. The person was arrested and for whatever reason the Prosecutor decided not to file a complainant because they were bogus charges and that was it. Just an arrest record. So, I had to follow up with that to be able to show that my Client was never prosecuted on that and it went away completely, in what, fifty something years because he was trying to get a fingerprint clearance through DPS to… for a job application. He had to get a complete clearance and it was coming up that he had something in Houston and it was read the wrong way and it looked like… well, it looked like to somebody else, not me, that it was pending still after all these years which is crazy. But it seems to be more of this as the Government digs deeper into your background and finds things that haven’t been properly denoted in the public record and then I guess minds run wild or something and people think oh, you’ve got this horrible thing that happened a long time ago. When in fact, it was either mistaken identity or there was no proof, whatever it happens to be.

So, if you have that issue it’s possible to get things straightened out. Except… not everything in the past has been digitized and put into computers. As a result, there’s no hard files from the sixties. Not that I’ve ever seen. But if that in fact is the case, you’re going to have a problem trying to get something that says there was really nothing there because trying to get nothing from nothing is nothing. That’s going to be tough. And, this is ongoing with a Client I have right now. We’re doing everything we possibly can to show that he was never convicted of anything; but it is so long ago and now all of a sudden it is popping up that he’s having problems getting in and out of Canada because

they are sticklers for anybody with a criminal record. And it’s hard to prove a negative. And if somebody can figure that out, they need to let me know. But thank you. I hope you understand what I just said.