Many people make mistakes that they regret – especially when they’re young. If you are someone who has juvenile criminal records from an offense or conviction that happened when you were a minor, you may be able to get a fresh start by sealing those records. Sealing your records can help you get a job and housing, as well as restore your constitutional rights. Find out how to seal or destroy your juvenile records in Arizona.
What Does it Mean to Have a Record Set Aside?
In most cases, it is not possible to seal or expunge a criminal record in the State of Arizona. Unlike many other states, Arizona does not have a system for record expungement. Instead, it offers an alternative known as having the record set aside. This changes the record to show that the individual has fulfilled all of the requirements of his or her sentence and has had the record set aside (vacated or dismissed) by a judge. Unlike expungement, however, a record that is set aside is not erased. It will still appear in background searches and must be disclosed on job applications.
What Is Juvenile Record Destruction?
There is an exception for juvenile criminal records. If the person was under the age of 18 at the time of the conviction, he or she may be able to apply to have the records destroyed. This is a type of record sealing that does destroy the record – more like expungement than Arizona’s version of record sealing. A destroyed juvenile record will not be visible to employers or landlords, although it will remain accessible to law enforcement and the courts.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 8-349 states that it is possible to destroy a person’s juvenile records if the person meets all of the requirements:
- The person is at least 18 years old.
- The conviction was not a felony or an offense listed in Section 13-501.
- There are no pending criminal charges.
- All terms and conditions of probation or juvenile corrections have been completed.
- All restitution has been paid in full.
- All court-ordered monetary obligations have been paid in full.
- The person is not required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Section 13-3821.
- The person is not currently under the jurisdiction of the department of juvenile corrections or the juvenile court.
If the court finds all of these requirements to be true for the applicant, the juvenile court may order the destruction of the individual’s juvenile records. If the applicant is not eligible for criminal record destruction, it may still be possible to destroy the person’s juvenile court and juvenile corrections records. This has lesser requirements. The individual must be at least 25, not convicted of a felony offense, not have any criminal charges pending, not required to register as a sex offender, and have paid all restitution and fines.
How to Destroy a Juvenile Record in Arizona
At a disposition hearing involving a juvenile defendant, the court must inform the individual in writing of the right to the destruction of his or her court and juvenile corrections records. If you are someone with a juvenile criminal record in Arizona, you can request the destruction of your records by filling out and submitting the required form. There is no fee for this service.
If the court grants your request, your records will be destroyed – although you will still be responsible for completing any related penalties. You may also apply for the restoration of your right to bear arms, if you qualify. This also requires submitting an application to the court. If you have any questions about sealing, setting aside or destroying juvenile records in Arizona, contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance. An attorney can help you with this process.