What is a Petition to Seal Criminal Records & How to Fill out a Petition Yourself for FREE

By Attorney Rachel A. Moss

In Arizona, a petition to seal criminal case records is a legal process that allows individuals who have been convicted of a non-dangerous, non-serious offense to request that their criminal records be sealed from public view. This means that records will not be accessible to the general public, including potential employers, landlords, and members of the community.

The eligibility to petition to seal generally depends on the nature and severity of the offense and the amount of time that has passed since the individual completed their sentence. The process typically involves filing a petition with the court that sentenced the individual and attending a court hearing where a judge will review that petition and determine whether to grant the request.

It’s important to note that while a petition to seal your records can provide a level of privacy for individuals with criminal records, it does not erase the conviction or remove it from all government records. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims may still have access to the records, and the sealed convictions can still be used to enhance sentencing in future criminal cases.

A person may file a petition to seal all case records related to a criminal offense if:

  • You have been convicted of a crime.
  • The time frames in ARS 13-911 (E) (F) have passed.
  • You have completed all terms and conditions of the sentence that was imposed by the court.
  • Repayment of all monetary obligations and restitution to victims have been finalized.
  • You have been charged with a criminal offense and the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at trial.
  • You have been arrested for a criminal offense and no charges were filed.

There are exceptions on who cannot file for a petition to seal:

  • You have been sentenced as a dangerous offender.
  • You have been convicted of a dangerous crime against children.
  • You have been convicted of a serious offense or violent or aggravated felony.
  • You have been convicted of an offense that involves the discharge or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon.
  • You have been convicted of sex trafficking.

How to Fill out a Petition to Seal Criminal Records for FREE

It is important to note that with the new ARS 13-911 law, you have the option to handle the process on your own and avoid spending thousands of dollars on attorney fees.

After confirming that you are eligible to petition to seal your records, the next step is to gather all the necessary documents for filing. To improve the efficiency of the petition process, it is essential to provide as much information about your cases as possible, including details about your arrest, any other charges that are not related to the crimes you wish to seal, and any relevant case information.

Once eligibility and paperwork have been established, knowing when you can file your petition is key. If you file too early, this may set you back.

You will be able to file a petition to seal if the following time periods have passed:

  • 10 years for a class 2 or 3 felony
  • 5 years for a class of 4,5, or 6 felonies
  • 3 years for a class 1 misdemeanor
  • 2 years for a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor

It is crucial to know the proper court in which to file your petition during this process. Filing the petition in the incorrect court can lead to the dismissal of the petition, resulting in a no ruling. To avoid this, it is important to follow the appropriate procedures and file your petition in the correct court.

For more information or to start your record sealing process, visit:
https://www.azcourts.gov/selfservicecenter/Criminal-Law/Sealing-records/Completing-the-Petition

However, if you or someone you know requires assistance with petitioning to seal your criminal case records in the state of Arizona, please contact the Attorneys For Freedom Law Firm or call our office at (480)-755-7110 for more information.

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