Prepare writing checkThis is the next post in my series on the handling of bad check cases in Phoenix, Arizona. My last post discussed how bounced check charges can be resolved through a plea agreement. It is important to understand that such matters can often be resolved without the defendant receiving a conviction. In this post I will discuss another important topic – the setting aside of a conviction for passing a bad check. It is important to understand that by setting your conviction aside (which differs from sealing a criminal record) you can get on with your life and in many ways you will be able to put the conviction behind you.

Arizona allows the setting aside of a criminal conviction. The benefit of going through this process is large. When one runs a background check regarding your history (as is often done by potential employers, potential landlords, etc.) the set aside process will remove the conviction from your record. Rather than showing that you were convicted of a charge, your record will show that the charge was “set aside.” In the context of a bad check case this means that one reviewing your background may see you as someone who meets your obligations as opposed to someone who does not.

The reason why someone conducting a background check may see you as one who meets their obligations, due to having a bounced check record set aside, is that you will have paid the check off to be eligible for a set aside. I say this because one must have completed all the requirements of their sentence in order to be eligible for a set aside. Paying restitution to the victim (which will mean paying the check) is virtually always a requirement in such cases. Gaining a set aside will, therefore, show that you meet your obligations as you will have paid off the check.

The process of having an Arizona conviction set aside involves multiple steps. First, one must file a Motion with the Court. This is a formal request to set the conviction aside and it must state and prove that the legal requirements have been met. This Motion is then served on the prosecutor and a proper Notice of your request must be given. A hearing will be set and the matter will be argued before the Judge. Any necessary documentation, showing the change in one’s record, can be gained shortly after the hearing.

It is highly suggested that Phoenix residents wishing to set aside their records contact an attorney. Failing to properly navigate the process can result in having your request denied. A lawyer experienced in handling such matters can help ensure that all steps are properly taken. Bretton Barber assists with such matters as well as with the gaining fingerprint clearance cards. In addition to Phoenix, Bretton also represents defendants in other Maricopa County cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert. We also assist Pima County residents in Tucson and others throughout the state.