Arizona does not have expungement, so it would not be possible to erase a conviction from one’s record. The closest thing Arizona has is something called “Setting Aside a Conviction”.
Setting Aside a Conviction is basically something that an attorney could request after their client had been convicted and had done all the terms of their sentence, although all the terms of their sentence may or may not include the ignition interlock device and it would not have anything to do with a license suspension aspect.
If the person had done all their jail time, done all their home detention time, paid out all their fines and fees, completed all counseling, done community service if necessary, and completed the possible requirement for an ignition interlock device, then an attorney would be able to file a motion with the court to “Set Aside the Conviction”.
The benefit of this would be that if someone were to do a background check once the Set Aside was approved, then the background check would still show a DUI conviction but it would show that the DUI conviction was set aside.
Let us suppose the person was filling out an application for a job, and there was a question about whether the person had ever been convicted of an offense. In this case the person would still have to say that they had been convicted of an offense.
I recommend my clients to mention next to their answer that their conviction was set aside. This is the closest thing that Arizona has to an expungement.
Why It Is Not Advisable To Seal Records?
It is my understanding that Arizona has the ability seal a record. However, most attorneys do not recommend people to attempt to seal their records.
The reason is because if it ever came up during a background check or a job interview and if anyone found out there was something there like a conviction but that the records were sealed, then it would be natural for the general public to jump to the wrong conclusion and think the worst case possible.
The general public would probably think the person was convicted of child molestation, rape or murder. If the record was sealed, then the person would not be able to explain that it really was not any of those things, it was something more benign.
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