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Setting Aside an Arizona Conviction

Monday / February 12, 2018

Recently Joe Arpaio made the news after his conviction was overturned due to a presidential
pardon. The former sheriff of Maricopa County had been convicted of failing to follow a court
order before President Trump pardoned him. With a presidential pardon that a person who has been convicted of a crime is free and absolved from that conviction.  Since most people won’t be in line to be able to get a presidential pardon, what can an individual who has previously been convicted of a criminal offense do in the state of Arizona question?


Individuals in Arizona who have been convicted of criminal offenses are not eligible to have them expunged.  The only option someone can take is to have that conviction set aside.  Setting aside a conviction aside is governed by statute. The statute reads:  “[E]very person convicted of a criminal offense, on fulfillment of the conditions of probation or sentence and discharge by the court, may apply to the judge, justice of the peace or magistrate who pronounced sentence or imposed probation or such judge, justice of the peace or magistrate’s successor in office to have the judgment of guilt set aside. The convicted person shall be informed of this right at the time of discharge.”  An individual who has a set aside granted, is “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.”


If someone’s conviction is set aside it is not the same as having it expunged. Set aside convictions still appear on an individual’s background check.  However it demonstrates that the person is taking full responsibility for their actions and been released from all penalties and disabilities resulting form the conviction.


When asking to have a conviction set aside a court looks at a number of factors to determine whether or not to grant that request. It is very important to include what steps the individual has taken since the conviction to show that they are a good candidate to have of offense set aside.  It is much easier to have a conviction set aside if there has been no further criminal activity since the conviction.  Having a conviction set aside can help in job applications and any other background check situation.


If you were someone that you have now has been convicted of a criminal offense and would like to ask the court to set it aside do not hesitate to call me at 480-331- 7568 to discuss your individual needs and help you move on from the past and forward with your future.

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