What Are Arizona's New Expungement Laws? (2023)

Arizona has historically been unique in terms of its expungement laws, as the only option has been the setting aside of a record – a lesser version of expungement that does not erase the record or seal it from public view. Under a new state law that will become effective in January 2023, however, eligible individuals will finally be able to have their records sealed in Arizona. This presents a great opportunity for a fresh start as someone with an arrest or criminal conviction on their record.

To learn more about Arizona’s new expungement laws and what it might mean for your criminal record, contact the Phoenix set aside and expungement lawyers at AZ Defenders for a free consultation.

Arizona Expungement Resources

To quickly access the resources at any point on this page, please click the corresponding link below.

What is an Expungement?
What Are Arizona’s Current Expungement Laws?
Arizona’s New Expungement Laws, Coming January 2023
ARS § 36-2862
ARS § 13-911
What Is a Certificate of Second Chance?
When Can You Petition to Have Records Sealed?
What Offenses May Not Be Sealed?
How Can an Attorney Help?
Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

What Is an Expungement?

An expungement is the erasure or removal of an individual’s criminal record. It can also refer to destroying or sealing a record. Certain people qualify to have their records erased or removed from public view with an expungement order in states that allow for expungement. During this process, a criminal record is removed as if the crime never happened.

(Video) Expungements in Arizona

While it is not a pardon for committing a crime and it does not remove the conviction, record expungement can effectively erase a criminal record so that it is invisible to employers, landlords, the courts and the general public. Record expungement can give an individual a chance to start over, without the blight of a criminal conviction getting in the way of jobs or housing.

What Are Arizona’s Current Expungement Laws?

Until now, it has not been possible to expunge a record in Arizona. The only thing close to expungement was setting aside a conviction under state law. This does not make a record invisible to landlords and others who search for it, including employers or the courts. It does not erase or seal the record. Instead, it simply shows that the conviction or arrest has been set aside using a note attached to the criminal record.

There are benefits to setting aside a record in Arizona. For example, it demonstrates that an individual has met all of the eligibility requirements, including completing the conditions of a sentence, which can put someone in a more favorable position for landlords and employers. Having a record set aside under the current law can also result in the restoration of gun ownership rights.

Until July 2021, Arizona was the only state in the nation that did not have a provision enabling people to expunge or seal their records. Setting aside the record was the only option for an individual who wished to change his or her criminal record and move forward from a long-ago mistake. Now, however, thanks to new expungement laws in Arizona, this has changed.

What Are Arizona's New Expungement Laws? (1)

Arizona’s New Expungement Laws, Coming January 2023

Arizona has passed multiple laws that have expanded the ability of an individual to have his or her record sealed or expunged from public view. These laws promise a positive change for thousands of Arizonans who are still dealing with the consequences of a single mistake made years ago – the ability to effectively conceal their records from the public.

(Video) AZ Expungement Law Approved - Are You Eligible?

In July 2021, two groundbreaking expungement laws were passed in Arizona: Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 36-2862 and ARS 13-911. These new laws have brought Arizona up to par with most other states in the country in terms of record expungement capabilities. They enable those arrested for, charged with, adjudicated or convicted of many different crimes to have their records completely erased or sealed.

ARS § 36-2862

ARS 36-2862 states that as of July 12, 2021, anyone who has a criminal record with certain offenses involving marijuana can petition the court to have his or her record expunged. This includes arrests, convictions and other marks on the person’s record connected to certain marijuana crimes. This new law provides a true expungement, meaning the record will be erased and only visible to law enforcement officers and the courts in specific situations. The crimes included in this law are:

  • Possessing, consuming or transporting 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana, of which less than 12.5 grams is marijuana concentrate.
  • Possessing, transporting, cultivating or processing no more than six marijuana plants at the individual’s residence for personal use.
  • Possessing, using or transporting paraphernalia related to the cultivation, processing, manufacture or consumption of marijuana.

Note that this law leaves out arrests and charges connected to the sale or distribution of marijuana. To have a qualifying record expunged, all you have to do is fill out the required forms and submit them to the correct courthouse in your county. Upon receiving your petition, the court may hold a hearing if requested by the applicant or the prosecutor involved in the case. Then, based on the information presented, the courts will determine if the petition should be granted.

ARS § 13-911

Another new expungement law in Arizona, Senate Bill 1294, was passed on July 9, 2021. This law created Arizona Revised Statute 13-911 – the state’s first record-sealing law. ARS 13-911 states that an individual can file a petition to have his or her case records related to a criminal offense sealed if he or she meets certain conditions.

This law goes into effect on January 1, 2023, and can enable thousands of citizens in Arizona to have their records sealed rather than only set aside. This comes with the advantage of erasing it entirely from public view. ARS 13-911 applies to anyone who has been:

  • Convicted of a crime and completed all of the terms and conditions of the court-imposed sentence.
  • Charged with a criminal offense, but the charge was then dismissed or it resulted in a not-guilty verdict at trial.
  • Arrested for a criminal offense but no charges were ever filed.

While there are some exceptions to Arizona’s new record-sealing rule (more about exceptions below), it can allow many people to have second chances. It effectively seals these criminal records from public view, meaning they will not appear in criminal background checks. In addition, an individual with a sealed record does not have to check the box that asks if he or she has ever been arrested or convicted of a crime when submitting an application for a job or housing. This can be instrumental in allowing the person to move forward from a criminal past.

(Video) Arizona Expungement Laws | My AZ Lawyers

What Is a Certificate of Second Chance?

Another new law involving record expungement that was passed in Arizona in 2021 is House Bill 2067. This created a new judicial certificate of relief known as a Certificate of Second Chance. Under this law, an individual may receive an order from the court that includes a Certificate of Second Chance after being convicted of a criminal offense, at sentencing. This certificate allows eligible people to not only petition to have their records set aside in Arizona but to achieve total rehabilitation that is judicially certified, effective September 29, 2021.

This means that a person with the certificate can restore his or her right to obtain certain professional certifications that are typically barred for people convicted of certain crimes, such as construction, teaching, childcare and medical care. In the past, statutory restrictions that barred professional certification got in the way of individuals trying to rebuild their lives and move forward with careers. Now, if an individual receives a Certificate of Second Chance in Arizona, he or she can obtain the professional license that is required for the job.

How Long Do You Need to Wait Before Petitioning to Have Records Sealed?

If you wish to have a criminal record expunged or sealed under either of Arizona’s new laws in 2023, you will first need to go through a state-imposed waiting period. The provisions of ARS 13-911(G) state that a waiting period applies after an individual completes his or her sentence before that person can petition the courts. The length of this period depends on the severity of the offense:

  • Class 2 or Class 3 felony: 10 years
  • Class 4, 5 or 6 felony: 5 years
  • Class 1 misdemeanor: 3 years
  • Lower-grade misdemeanors: 2 years

If an individual has a prior felony conviction on his or her record, this will add an additional five years to the existing waiting period. With two or more convictions on someone’s previous record, he or she cannot request the record to be sealed until the required period of time has passed for each conviction.

What Offenses May Not Be Sealed Under Arizona’s New Laws?

Although Arizona’s new expungement laws are taking great strides toward rehabilitation and creating new opportunities for individuals with criminal histories, not all offenses qualify for record sealing or expungement. While SB 1294 does not have any limitations or exclusions based on the number of convictions on an individual’s record, it does list certain offenses that may not be sealed or expunged under the new laws. These include:

  • Class 1 felonies
  • Serious violent offenses
  • Certain sexual offenses
  • Offenses involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • The offense of knowingly inflicting serious bodily injury on another person

In addition, as stated above, ARS 36-2862 does not allow the expungement of a sale of marijuana offense. Yet ARS 13-911 may create an exception to this specific rule. Under ARS 13-911, if an individual goes through the required waiting period, he or she can petition to have his or her record sealed even for a sale of marijuana offense. If the petition succeeds, Section H of the law states that while the record will be sealed from public view (sealed, not expunged), the individual will still have to mark that he or she has been convicted of an offense on application forms.

(Video) Where Are Arizona’s Laws About Expungement And Setting Aside A Conviction?

How Can an Attorney Help You With Your Criminal Record in Arizona?

Arizona’s new expungement and record-sealing laws can be difficult for the average person to navigate. They are full of legal jargon, fine print, and confusing terms and provisions. To make matters more complicated, Arizona lawmakers are constantly amending the laws and passing new ones, meaning the rules are always evolving. While the passing of new expungement laws is certainly a good thing, it can make it difficult for an individual with a criminal history to understand his or her legal options for sealing or erasing a record.

If you wish to explore your options for hiding a criminal record from public view in Arizona, the best way to do so is by consulting an expungement attorney. An attorney who specializes in setting aside, expunging and sealing criminal records will have all of the information that you need to achieve your goals, including the most up-to-date information on newly passed laws in Arizona. A lawyer can also help you with the paperwork side of record sealing or expungement, which can be lengthy and complicated.

Although there is no limit to the number of times that a person can apply to have his or her criminal record sealed under SB 1294, getting it right the first time can save you the time and stress of filling out and filing the same documents repeatedly. A lawyer will make sure your forms are filled out correctly and that you have met all other requirements for record sealing or expungement under the most recent state laws.

The courts have 30 days to review an application for record sealing/expungement and decide whether to accept or deny it. If the courts decide not to approve your petition, your attorney can help you understand why this decision was made and possibly assist you with a new petition in pursuit of a better outcome. Throughout the process of record expungement or sealing, your lawyer will protect your best interests and help you achieve your long-term goals for the future.

What Are Arizona's New Expungement Laws? (2)

Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney With the AZ Defenders Today

Arizona’s new laws are paving the way for people with criminal histories to restore their lives, rights and freedoms. Find out if you’re eligible for expungement under the new rules by contacting an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. At AZ Defenders, our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers have been providing smart and aggressive legal services for all types of criminal cases for many years.

(Video) Expungement in Arizona | Set Aside Criminal Record Explained by Attorney David Cantor

We are dedicated to defending those who have been accused, arrested for, or charged with alleged crimes in Arizona. Our dedication and commitment to our clients do not end after someone gets convicted. We offer our legal services to those who wish to set aside – and now seal and expunge – their criminal records in Arizona. You can trust our lawyers to choose the best path available under all state laws for erasing or sealing your record and take care of the required legal legwork to achieve your goals.

To learn more about record expungement in Arizona under the new laws, contact AZ Defenders today. Call us at (480) 456-6400 or request your free consultation by contacting us online 24/7.


Will Arizona ever allow expungement? ›

Expunging an Adult Criminal Record (or Setting Aside a Conviction) in Arizona. It is not technically possible to expunge – that is, erase or seal—an arrest or charge on an Arizona criminal record. Your criminal history will remain on the books until you reach the age of 99, even if you have completed probation.

What crimes can be expunged in Arizona? ›

Arizona Criminal Record Expungements
  • A crime involving the infliction of serious physical injury.
  • A crime involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.
  • A crime that was motivated by sexual desires.
  • Any crime where the victim was younger than 15 years old.

How long does expungement take in Arizona? ›

And now, anyone in Arizona accused or convicted of the activities made legal by the proposition is eligible for expungement, meaning charges or convictions are erased from their record. The expungement process is free and courts can grant a petition in as little as 30 days.

How do I clear my criminal record in Arizona? ›

In order to clear your record in Arizona, you may petition the court to enter on your record that you have been cleared of all charges. If successful, the judge will order all law enforcement agencies and courts to cease from distributing your arrest record to anyone. The arrest will be treated as if it never occurred.

Does your criminal record clear after 7 years? ›

The Seven Year Rule

Under federal law, the consumer reporting agencies cannot report an arrest that is over seven years old. However, they may report a conviction no matter how old it is.

How long does a felony stay on your record in Arizona? ›

As a result of Arizona's strict sentencing laws, most misdemeanor and felony convictions will remain on your record until you turn 99. The state does allow for the courts to set aside qualifying offenses, but this only means that they are not in effect – it doesn't remove them from your criminal record.

How long do misdemeanors stay on your record AZ? ›

In Arizona, misdemeanor and felony convictions will remain on your record until you turn 99. Arizona law does allow you to request that that the court set aside qualifying convictions, but this does not remove the conviction from your criminal record.

Who can see expunged records? ›

People who can access an expunged record
  • The clerk of the court.
  • The district attorney general.
  • The defendant and their attorney.
  • The circuit or criminal court judge.
Aug 27, 2021

How can I set aside a felony in Arizona? ›


How hard is it to get gun rights restored in Arizona? ›

The firearms rights restoration process takes about five months. The court can charge a filing fee. People convicted of non-serious offenses in Arizona may apply for a firearms rights restoration two years after the case ends. People convicted of a serious offense must wait ten years after the case ends.

How do you check if your record has been expunged? ›

The quickest and easiest way to find out if your record has been expunged is to visit the court where your case was held and ask to see the records. You know that your record is clean if the court does not have your records or if it approves your request.

How do I get my rights restored in Arizona? ›

A person with only one Arizona felony conviction, whose civil rights were lost or suspended, had their rights automatically restored upon completion of a term of probation, or receipt of an absolute discharge from imprisonment if the person paid all imposed fines or restitution.

How do I get a pardon in Arizona? ›

Applying for a Pardon in Arizona
  1. Must have an Arizona Felony case.
  2. If you were sentenced to life imprisonment as a result of a serious profit-making drug offense or if you are currently service a life sentence for a serious offense, you must have served at least 25 years in prison.

What is a certificate of second chance in Arizona? ›

The certificate of second chance: 1. Unless specifically excluded by this section, Releases the person from all barriers and disabilities in obtaining an occupational license issued under title 32 that resulted from the conviction if the person is otherwise qualified. 2.

Do misdemeanors go away? ›

A misdemeanor might be considered a minor criminal offense compared to a felony charge, but it is a criminal offense. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the misdemeanor remains on your criminal record for the rest of your life, unless the court expunges the offense.

Does a criminal record stay with you for life? ›

Why is it still on my record? Since 2006, the police retain details of all recordable offences until you reach 100 years of age. Your conviction will always show on your police records but the conviction may not show on your criminal record check that is used for employment vetting purposes.

How long do things stay on your criminal record? ›

If the person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense (i.e. legally considered to be an adult), then the conviction will be expunged from their record 11 years after the conviction date (not the offense date).

How long does a criminal record stay on your name? ›

You can apply to have your criminal record expunged when: a period of 10 years has passed after the date of the conviction for that offence. you have not been convicted and sentenced to a period of imprisonment without the option of a fine during those 10 years.

How far back do background checks go in Arizona? ›

Yes, though Arizona background checks go back seven years, in some cases, those with a criminal record have the right to appeal to a judge to have their conviction set aside.

Can a felon get a passport? ›

Most convicted felons and ex-felons can get a passport. However, even if you are issued a passport, it does not mean that you will be able to travel anywhere you wish. Many countries refuse to let convicted felons enter their borders, both for public safety and for political reasons.

How long are court records kept in Arizona? ›

Court records are maintained in accordance with Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, Rule 29: Court Records, subsections (A) and (D). Most records are destroyed once their statutory retention period expires, which can be from one year to 11 years, depending on the case type.

What is a Class 3 misdemeanor in AZ? ›

Common class 3 misdemeanor charges include excessive speeding, leaving the scene of a parked car accident, assaultive touching, criminal trespass in the third degree, and more. Other penalties that might be imposed on Arizona misdemeanors.

How do you get a misdemeanor expunged? ›

To expunge a misdemeanor case, an application or petition for expungement is filed to the court that initially handled the criminal case. The district attorney or prosecutor's office must also be served with notification of your request.

Can I clear my criminal record after 5 years? ›

You may apply for expungement if: - The offence was committed when you were under 18 years of age. - Five years have lapsed after the date of conviction in the case of a Schedule 1 offence.

Do you have to declare a criminal record after 10 years? ›

Generally, once spent, you can legally 'lie' about your past convictions by answering 'no' to a question about convictions. Once your convictions are spent, the Act gives you the right not to disclose them when applying for jobs, unless the role is exempt from the Act (see below).

Can you travel with a criminal record? ›

In general it is very difficult, if not impossible, to travel to any country if you have a record of convictions for violent or sexual crimes, repeated convictions for felonies, or a recent conviction for a serious crime. Some countries prohibit their own citizens from leaving if they have serious criminal histories.

How long does a set aside take in Arizona? ›

How long does the Arizona setting aside process take? Typically, it takes about 3 to 4 months to expunge an Arizona record.

What does vacated and set aside mean? ›

To ask a court to set aside (cancel) a court order or judgment, you have to file a “request for order to set aside,” sometimes called a “motion to set aside” or “motion to vacate.” The terms “set aside” or “vacate” a court order basically mean to “cancel” or undo that order to start over on a particular issue.

How do I get a Judgement set aside? ›

If you do not owe the money, you can ask the court to cancel the county court judgment ( CCJ ) or high court judgment. This is known as getting the judgment 'set aside'. You can also do this if you did not receive, or did not respond to, the original claim from the court saying you owed the money.

How much does it cost to restore your gun rights in Arizona? ›

Firearm restoration cases can take up to 5 months or more in Arizona.
Federal Firearm Rights Restoration.
Federal Firearm Rights RestorationOur Law FirmTypical Law Firm
Payment PlansYesNo
4 more rows

Can a felon hunt in Arizona? ›

The state of Arizona, as well as federal law, prohibits convicted felons from possessing a firearm or even ammunition. Even if the gun is not yours but it's found in your possession, you could face serious criminal charges. Fortunately, Arizona allows felony offenders to restore their gun rights for most convictions.

Who is prohibited from owning a firearm in Arizona? ›

Prohibited possessors in Arizona include: People convicted of a felony, any crime potentially carrying a prison term of more than one year, or misdemeanor domestic violence. People adjudicated delinquent of a felony. People facing charges for a crime potentially carrying a prison term of more than one year.

Can you have a criminal record without being convicted? ›


This means it will be as if you never had the conviction to begin with. “If you're found guilty or plead guilty to an offence, the magistrate may decide not to record a conviction.

Do you have a clear criminal record meaning? ›

Essentially, this law clears the person in question's name. Legally referred to as “expungement”, it means that a person's name and the crime they committed is removed from the National Criminal Register.

Can felons own air rifles in Arizona? ›

In Arizona, you are prohibited from knowingly possessing a firearm where you've been convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent for a felony and your civil right to possess or carry a firearm hasn't been restored.

Can a felon in Arizona vote? ›

Under Arizona law, a person who has been convicted of a felony offense has their civil rights suspended. Those rights include the right to vote or to seek and hold public office, the right to serve on a jury and the right to possess a gun or firearm, among other rights, A.R.S. § 13-904.

Can you be a lawyer with a felony in Arizona? ›

Arizona does not have a rule barring convicted felons of first or second-degree murder or manslaughter from becoming licensed attorneys, but King was negatively affected due to this felony conviction and almost unable to practice law in Arizona.

Who grants clemency in Arizona? ›

A commutation is one of the three types of clemency hearings conducted by the Arizona's Board of Executive Clemency. The other two types of hearings are pardons and reprieves. Clemency is considered an act of mercy by the leader of the executive branch of government (Governor).

What clemency means? ›

Clemency is a mechanism for granting a person convicted of a criminal offense relief from a court-ordered sentence or punitive measure. There are two main methods through which clemency can be given—pardon or commutation of sentence.

How do I get a pardon for a felony in Arizona? ›

You MUST provide a certified notice of your intent to seek a pardon to the prosecutor (county attorney) in the county in which you were convicted. (See Example B below) Please include the green card return receipts from the certified mailing.

Will Arizona ever have expungement laws? ›

Now the state will have one of the broadest sealing laws in the country when it becomes effective on January 1, 2023. (In the November 2020 election, Arizona voters approved a proposition to legalize marijuana, which included a provision for expungement of certain marijuana-related records.

Did the Second Chance Act pass in AZ? ›

On April 1, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law House Bill (HB) 2067, which amends Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) Section 13-905 to allow the courts to issue an order for a “Certificate of Second Chance” for individuals “whose judgment of guilt is set aside” after a criminal conviction.

What does set aside mean in Arizona? ›

A conviction set aside is Arizona's version of expungement. Although a true expungement process is not available in Arizona, there are many benefits to setting aside your felony or misdemeanor convictions, including helping you move past your criminal record and increasing your employment opportunities.

Does your criminal record clear after 7 years? ›

The Seven Year Rule

Under federal law, the consumer reporting agencies cannot report an arrest that is over seven years old. However, they may report a conviction no matter how old it is.

Will a misdemeanor affect employment? ›

These records can be damaging to their employment prospects, but they don't have to be. Though misdemeanor convictions aren't as serious as felony convictions, and some employers only ask about felonies, a misdemeanor on your record can hinder your job search.

Is speeding a misdemeanor? ›

Misdemeanor traffic offenses are much more serious than traffic infractions. Infractions such as tailgating, speeding and passing a red light or stop sign will result in fines and points on your record, but rarely result in jail time.


1. Expungements in Arizona
(Arizona Public Media)
2. How to Expunge a Marijuana Criminal Record in Arizona Under Prop. 207 Overview
(R&R Law Group)
3. How Does Arizona View Expungement And Setting Aside Convictions
(Killham Law)
4. Can I Expunge a Criminal Conviction in Arizona?
(Arizona Law Firm — Curry, Pearson & Wooten)
5. Arizona Expungement Services Overview
6. What is expungement in Arizona?
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated: 14/10/2023

Views: 6280

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.