Set Aside Clinics

Set Aside Criminal Convictions

If you have an Arizona conviction on your criminal record, you may qualify to set aside your conviction and restore your civil rights.

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You may qualify to set aside your conviction and restore your civil rights.

If you have an Arizona conviction on your criminal record, you may be able to remove barriers to:

Employment   •  Housing  • Voting

Community Legal Services supports low income Arizonans who seek reentry into the job and housing market after a criminal conviction.  CLS’ advocates assist clients with re-entry in the following areas:

  • Application to Restore Civil Rights
  • Application to Set Aside Judgment
  • Resignation of a Class 6 Undesignated Misdemeanor
  • Good Cause Exception to Finger Print Clearance Card
  • Applying for a Central Registry Exception

When is the next CLS Set Aside Clinic?

CLS Set Aside Clinics

Upcoming Set Aside clinics Dates • Times • Locations
Upcoming
Set Aside Clinics

Where can I find the application to set aside judgement for Maricopa County Superior Court?

Set aside form and instructions

Application to Set Aside a Judgement of Guilt • Maricopa County Superior Court
opens in a new window Download
Set Aside Form

How do I apply to restore my civil rights?

Application to Restore Civil Rights

Right to vote • Hold public office • Serve on a jury
opens in a new window Download Application to Restore Civil Rights

How can I apply for a good cause exception to a fingerprint clearance card?

GCE
Application Form

Arizona Board of Fingerprinting Good Cause Exception application form
opens in a new window Download GCE Application Form

“Do you need access to these documents in a language other than English? Please email us at info@clsaz.org

FAQ

Answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Set Asides

What is setting aside a judgment?

Setting aside a judgment means that a person convicted of a crime has been released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction. A set aside is not the same thing as an expungement. Although the definition of expungement may vary by state, generally an expungement means the conviction is erased in the eyes of the law. Arizona does not expunge criminal convictions. Instead, Arizona allows a court to set aside a judgment, where a criminal conviction still exists on a person’s record, but the penalties associated with the conviction have been released. Though the record is still accessible to the public, the record will have a notation stating that the judgment has been set aside. Setting aside a judgment is only available for crimes convicted in the State of Arizona.

How can I set aside my judgment?

To apply to set aside a judgment, a person can file an application with the court in which they were convicted. There is no charge to file an application to set aside a judgment.

To obtain an application, go to the Superior Court website for the county in which you were convicted and look for the clerk’s webpage. Find the self service center. From there, look for forms for criminal cases. The form may be called “Application to Set Aside Judgment,” or, in some counties, the form is combined with the “Restoration of Civil Rights” form. You may also pick up an application in person at the courthouse. Carefully read over the form to ensure you know what information the form is requesting.

What does the court consider to determine whether to grant my set aside?

The court will look at the nature and circumstances of the offense, the applicant’s compliance with their sentence, any prior or subsequent convictions, input from the victim and the statute of victim restitution, the length of time since completion of the sentence, the age of the applicant at the time of the conviction, and any other relevant factors. If the court denies an application for set aside, the court must state the reasons for the denial in writing.

Can a set aside judgment still be used against me?

In some circumstances, yes. A conviction that has been set aside can still be used as an element of an offense, as a prior conviction, and to suspend or revoke a driver’s license in some cases.

Who may not set aside a judgment?

A person who has been convicted of a dangerous offense, an offense that requires registration on the Sex Offender Registry, an offense with a sexual motivation, an offense in which the victim is younger than 15 years old, or an offense related to diving on a suspended license or reckless driving is not eligible for a set aside of judgment.

Restoration of Civil Rights

What rights are lost when a person is convicted of a felony?

A felony conviction suspends a person’s civil rights. The person loses the right to vote, the right to hold public office of trust or profit, the right to serve as a juror and right to possess a firearm. A felony conviction may also prevent a person from obtaining business and professional licenses, government secured loans and housing.

How can I restore my civil rights?

For a person with only one Arizona felony conviction, civil rights are restored automatically once the person has completed probation or has received an absolute discharge from the Department of Corrections AND has finished paying any victim restitution. However, this automatic restoration of civil rights does not automatically restore the right to possess a firearm.

A person with one or more felony convictions that has completed probation or a person who HAS NOT finished paying victim restitution, may apply to the court for restoration of civil rights. The person can apply upon final discharge of probation or two years after receive an absolute discharge from the Department of Corrections.

To apply for restoration of civil rights, a person can file an application in the county court in which they were convicted. There is no fee to file an application to restore civil rights. The person must submit a certificate of absolute discharge from the director of the Department of Corrections with their application. The process to restore civil rights might not also restore the right to possess a firearm. The process to apply for restoration of the right to possess a firearm varies by county and may require a separate application.

What if my conviction was in federal court?

If a person was convicted of a felony in a United States District Court, the person can file an application in the county in Arizona in which they live. The person must submit an affidavit from their probation officer or a certificate of absolute discharge from the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons with their application. However, this does not restore the right to possess a firearm.

How can I restore my right to possess a firearm?

For most felony convictions, a person can apply for restoration of the right to possess a firearm two years after they receive an absolute discharge.

However, a person who has been convicted of a serious offense may not apply for restoration of the right to possess a firearm for ten years after they receive an absolute discharge. A serious offense includes offenses like murder, manslaughter, aggravated or sexual assault, a dangerous crime against children, or armed robbery.

A person who has been convicted of a dangerous offense may not apply for restoration of the right to possess a firearm. A dangerous offense is an offense involving the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or the intentional infliction of serious physical injury on another person.

Similar to the process to restore civil rights, a person convicted of a felony will file an application in the county in which they were convicted. Every county is different, but some counties allow a person to apply for restoration of civil rights and restoration of the right to possess a firearm on the same form. The directions to obtain an application are below.

How can I get a copy of my absolute discharge?

A Certificate of Absolute Discharge from the Department of Corrections may be obtained by writing or visiting the Arizona Department of Corrections, 1601 W Jefferson, M/C 112, Phoenix, AZ 85007 and requesting the records. The information will be mailed in three to six weeks. Absolute Discharges from the Federal Bureau of Prisons may be obtained at the clerk’s office of the United States District Court, 401 W Washington, Phoenix 85003.

What if my felony conviction was in another state?

A person wishing to restore their civil rights must file an application in the state in which the felony conviction occurred. A person should contact the state in which the conviction occurred to obtain information regarding the restoration process.

Where can I get an application?

In Arizona, go to the Superior Court website for the county in which you were convicted and look for the clerk’s webpage. Find the self service center. From there, look for forms for criminal cases. The form is called “Restoration of Civil Rights”. You may also pick up an application in person at the courthouse. Carefully read over the form to ensure you know what information the form is requesting.

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