Set Asides In Phoenix & Mesa

Being convicted of a crime in Arizona comes with more consequences than fines and incarceration. A criminal defendant can face long-term repercussions like discrimination by potential landlords, employers, and even banks considering an application for a loan. Having this kind of mark on your criminal record can make it harder to get ahead and avoid becoming a re-offender. Criminal defendants in Phoenix and Mesa have limited options in how to address a criminal record. One of these is applying for a motion to set aside a criminal judgment. This can soften the defendant’s criminal history and improve the odds in future applications and background checks. However, setting aside a criminal judgment isn’t an automatic process in Arizona. Mistakes along the way can result in the application to set aside being denied. If you’re considering hiring legal representation for your set aside in Phoenix or Mesa, Arizona, we’d love to be one of the choices that you consider. Our firm is staffed by a reputable and experienced law team that is passionate about delivering our clients positive results. To schedule your free consultation by phone, call 480-470-1504

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The Process & Benefits Of Setting Aside a Criminal Judgment In Arizona

Setting aside a criminal judgment isn’t the same thing as clearing or sealing a criminal record or expunging a conviction. A criminal judgment that has been set aside can still be accessed and viewed by someone conducting a background investigation on the defendant. However, the conviction will state that it has been set aside after the application has been granted. This shows that person that the defendant has completed all of the requirements of their criminal conviction(s). At a base level, this will include any jail or prison time and fines issued by the court. If a victim is harmed by the defendant’s action, the defendant may be ordered to pay the victim restitution. A set aside judgment also indicates that any and all restitution has been paid to the victim. When a conviction has been set aside, it can have less harsh implications on the defendant’s life and opportunities. It shows the defendant has been proactive in repaying their debt to society. If you have more questions about how a set aside can help you with criminal convictions in Phoenix and Mesa, call 480-470-1504 to schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers. 

Examples Of When A Set Aside Can Benefit Someone With A Criminal Background

  • The defendant has applied for a job that requires driving despite a previous DUI conviction. The defendant has taken all the proper steps to fulfill their sentence and regain their driving privileges. However, their new potential employer has a rigorous background check procedure and requires that the defendant have their conviction set aside before they can begin employment at that company. 
  • The defendant moved in with family after serving time to stay on the right track with probation and avoid the hassle of passing a background check. Eventually, the defendant is ready to get their own place but faces repeated application denials due to their criminal record. A successful set aside can help make the defendant a more competitive applicant on rental applications and in other similar situations. 
  • The defendant wishes to run for their town council but has one or more previous criminal offenses on their record. Setting aside those judgments could reduce the impact their discovery would have on that person’s campaign and political aspirations. 
  • The defendant wishes to purchase a home but doesn’t have the most solid credit history in addition to their criminal record. Having their convictions set aside can help show the lender that they are rehabilitated, trustworthy, and intend to repay their debts. The defendant waits a few years after finishing their sentence requirements to set aside their judgment and obtain approval on a mortgage application. 

Can a Set Aside In Arizona Restore Your Civil Rights? Exploring The Impact

Any type of criminal conviction is a serious matter, but a felony conviction is by definition more serious than a misdemeanor conviction. A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail, while a defendant convicted of a felony offense could spend the rest of their life behind bars. There are other consequences that come with a felony conviction- the defendant will lose some of their civil rights. These rights include the right to be on a jury, vote, and run in a public election. A convicted felon may need to take action to regain those civil rights, even after completing their prison sentence and parole requirements. The process of regaining civil rights is separate from setting aside a criminal judgment. 

First-time felony offenders who weren’t convicted of a serious or dangerous crime are eligible for automatic civil rights restoration in Arizona. Dangerous offenses and the penalties for first and subsequent offenses are defined by A.R.S. § 13-704. Serious offenses are defined by A.R.S. § 13-706 and include murder, assault, kidnapping, sexual assault and abuse, and robbery. Defendants convicted of offenses that aren’t considered dangerous and serious crimes will qualify for automatic civil rights restoration under A.R.S. § 13-907. An eligible defendant can submit an application to restore their civil rights, but the court won’t hold a hearing on the matter and the process should occur without submitting an application. The process to restore the right to own a firearm is separate from restoration of civil rights and may not be available to defendants convicted of violent offenses. 

Exploring Additional Paths For Post-Conviction Relief In Arizona Beyond Set Asides

Setting aside a criminal judgment can have positive effects but still not deliver the full result that the applicant desires. Arizona does not offer expungement of criminal offenses unless the defendant was convicted of a marijuana-related offense that has since been legalized or decriminalized. The defendant can request that the court seal their record, which is separate from a set aside. A sealed criminal record isn’t available for public view. A convicted felon has few other options if their needs aren’t served by sealing their criminal record or setting aside their criminal judgments- Arizona clears felony convictions on the defendant’s 99th birthday. Your situation may improve from a set aside, sealing your records, or a combination of the two- to learn more about your options, call 480-470-1504. 

Hire An Attorney To Improve Your Record  & Set Aside Criminal Judgments

An applicant for a motion to vacate and set aside a criminal judgment is not afforded a court-appointed attorney like they may have been in their initial prosecution. Unless the applicant wants to proceed pro se, or self-represented, the applicant needs to interview and retain their own attorney. There are several things Phoenix and Mesa applicants for set asides should consider in their choice of legal representation. Nothing replaces experience when it comes to a criminal defender, especially experience specifically in the Phoenix and Mesa area. Experienced criminal defenders know the practices and procedures of local courts and may even be familiar with judges and other parties who may be involved. Your attorney will make sure your application to set aside your judgment is complete, accurate, and convincing to improve your odds of success. To get started with your free consultation, contact us at My Az Lawyers or call 480-470-1504. 


Contact Professional Family Attorneys In Arizona


Mesa Location
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: 480-448-9800

Phoenix Location
343 West Roosevelt, Suite #100
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Office: 602-609-7000

Glendale Location
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: 602-509-0955

Tucson Location
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: 520-441-1450

Avondale Location
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392

Office: 623-469-6603