How Senate Bill 1294 will transform Arizona criminal record relief law
Important news alert from Arizona!
Many people will soon be eligible to have their Arizona criminal record sealed for the first time.
Under current Arizona law, only marijuana-related criminal records can be sealed. However, that will soon change! In 2021, the Arizona legislature passed Senate Bill 1294, which enacted Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13–911. The new law authorizes Arizona courts to seal many types of criminal records, not just those related to marijuana.
As a result, when the new law goes into effect on December 31, 2022, Arizona will have one of the most inclusive record sealing laws in the nation.
Here’s who will be eligible to have their Arizona conviction record sealed under the new law:
- For Class 2 or 3 felonies, a person will be eligible 10 years after sentence completion.
- For Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies, a person will be eligible 5 years after sentence completion.
- For Class 1 misdemeanors, a person will be eligible 3 years after sentence completion.
- For lower-grade misdemeanors, a person will be eligible 2 years after sentence completion.
Some additional limitations and restrictions apply. For example, waiting periods are extended by five years for a person with multiple prior felony convictions. Still, the law allows courts to seal a wide range of Arizona conviction records, from misdemeanors to felony offenses. This will dramatically increase opportunities for Arizona conviction record relief!
The new law also allows Arizona courts to seal non-conviction records, such as arrest records.
Today, an Arizona non-conviction record can be sealed only if a person was wrongfully arrested, indicted, or charged. This standard is relatively high.
However, under the new law, Arizona non-conviction records can be sealed as long as the court determines that sealing would be in the applicant’s and the public’s best interests—a much more lenient standard!
In 2021, the Arizona legislature passed Senate Bill 1294, which enacted Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13–911. The new law authorizes Arizona courts to seal many criminal records, including conviction and non-conviction records. When the new law goes into effect on December 31, 2022, many people will become eligible to have their Arizona criminal record sealed for the first time!
If you think that you may be eligible for the new sealing relief in Arizona, now is the time to get started. Preparing the documents for these types of filings can sometimes take months. If started now, the pleadings could be filed as soon as the law goes into effect.
Having an Arizona criminal record sealed can have a massive effect on a person’s future opportunities for employment, housing, and financial assistance. Though a sealed record will still be accessible to law enforcement agencies, a person whose Arizona criminal record has been sealed can legally deny that their arrest ever occurred on most applications for jobs, housing, and financial aid!
As a result, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13–911 will open pathways of opportunity for many Arizonians!
Determining eligibility for these services can be a complicated legal process. If you would like to take the first step towards getting relief, please take our free eligibility test or contact our firm so that we can get started!