This is the next post in my series on set asides in Arizona and why hiring an attorney is an important decision for Phoenix and Arizona residents. My last post specifically focused on what exactly an attorney can do that a person cannot do on their own when trying to achieve a set aside. In this post I will focus on the different aspects of a setting aside a conviction and restoring civil rights. The different laws that have different requirements can make it difficult to fully understand the process, so my hope to clear up any confusion that people may have.
The requirements and differences between Misdemeanors and Felonies for Arizona Set Asides
In Arizona the vast majority of convictions can be set aside. With that being said, there are some basic eligibility requirements one must meet to have any charge, felony or misdemeanor, set aside. These requirements are taken directly out of the language of the law, stating that you cannot have the conviction set aside if:
- You have not completed probation and if you have not paid off all fines, fees, etc.
- You were convicted dangerous felony offense. (These are convictions that require a special allegation of dangerousness and result in a mandatory prison sentence)
- Offenses that require you to register as a sex offender or for which there was a special allegation of sexual motivation
- Offenses that involved a victim under the age of 15
- ANY traffic offense (speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a suspended license)
- NOTE: There is a special exception for the following traffic offenses, which can be set aside: DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Aggravated (Felony) DUI, and Reckless Driving
If the conviction does not fall under any of the above mentioned disqualifiers, then you are eligible to file a motion requesting that your conviction. There is no requirement regarding the amount of time that must pass to file. Of course, just because you are eligible does not mean the Court will grant the motion. As I previously discussed, hiring an attorney is important in making sure that you do everything you can to provide the Court with the information they are looking for so that you can successfully have your conviction set aside.
Restoring Civil Rights and Gun Rights for Felonies and Domestic Violence Convictions in Arizona
Many Phoenix residents and citizens throughout the state make the mistake of thinking that setting aside a conviction is the same thing as restoring civil rights, including gun rights, for a conviction. The reality is that the law that addresses set asides does not talk about restoring rights; the process of restoring a person’s civil rights and their gun rights are found in completely different laws and have their own requirements. Any felony conviction will result in the person losing their civil rights to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, and many other privileges. Additionally, under both Arizona law and Federal Law any felony will result in the loss of the right to bear arms. Additionally, any misdemeanor domestic violence offense will result in a loss of the right to bear arms. As a result, people become “prohibited possessors” which can lead to harsh punishments. For any felony, one must wait two years before they become eligible to have their gun rights restored. Those two years are calculated from the date the person was either discharged from probation or parole (if they went to prison). For certain felony offenses there is a ten year waiting period, but these offenses are not commonly scene (murder, sexual assault, etc.). Given the Court’s concerns about public safety and guns, they may be hesitant to grant a person the right to bear arms, making it important to consider hiring an attorney to succeed.
Consulting a Criminal Defense Attorney is Essential when Phoenix and Arizona Residents are Seeking to Restore their Civil Rights and Set Aside Convictions
I have a long history of litigating these matters in Arizona and I have found that people are the most successful when they are fully informed and have retained an attorney to write the motions and attend the hearings so that success becomes a reality on the first try. There is no reason to skip getting a free consultation if you plan on moving forward, and most attorneys offer them. You can absolutely contact my office today and schedule a consultation to learn more about your options.