While criminal laws seek to punish those who have committed crimes, the criminal justice system also aims for rehabilitation, and in some cases provides for second chances for those implicated in crimes. In some states, a process called “expungement” allows for a defendant’s record to be cleared of wrongdoing. Arizona does not have expungement, but the state does offer procedures known as a Motion for the Judgment of Guilt to be Set Aside and a Restoration of Civil Rights. These two similar, though slightly different, procedures can help defendants avoid the stigma associated with convictions, particularly when applying for jobs.
If a judge grants an attorney’s Motion to Set Aside Judgment of Guilt, the conviction is removed from the defendant’s record. This allows the defendant to accurately tell others that he has not been convicted of a crime. But on job applications, a defendant would still have to answer “yes” to a question asking whether the defendant had ever been charged, convicted, or arrested. Typically, such questions also request an explanation of the incident, so the defendant can then explain that despite the charge, the judgment was set aside and no convictions are on the defendant’s record. Such a response answers the question honestly and lets the employer know the charge is not a major concern.
For felony convictions, in addition to a Motion for Judgment of Guilt to be Set Aside, a Motion for Restoration of Civil Rights can be helpful, as this allows the convicted individual to regain the right to vote. Additionally, a motion for restoration can also request that the defendant’s right to bear arms is restored. A Restoration or Motion for Judgment of Guilt to be Set Aside may not be available for certain crimes, such as violent crimes including Sexual Misconduct or Aggravated Assault. Thus, you should not assume anything, and it is important to contact a qualified criminal appeals lawyer as soon as possible. At DM Cantor, you can speak with an experienced Arizona criminal appeals lawyer by setting up a free consultation. To do so, call 602-737-2812 or use our confidential, secure online contact form.
At DM Cantor, many of our attorneys are former prosecutors with unique insight into the criminal justice process. All of the firm’s attorneys are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and the firm itself has the highest Martindale Hubbell® rating of AV®. Additionally, David Michael Cantor has been certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. To learn about your legal options and understand how DM Cantor may be able to assist you, contact the firm for a free, no-obligation consultation.