I was convicted of murder when I was 17 due to self defense. I served 15 years in prison. I want to expunge my felony in Arizona?

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I was convicted of murder when I was 17 due to self defense. I served 15 years in prison. I want to expunge my felony in Arizona?

Asked on May 5, 2009 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Arizona does not have an ‘expungement’ statute. Instead, A.R.S. § 13-907  permits a defendant to request a "set aside" of his conviction under certain circumstances. If a person succeeds in persuading the judge to set aside his conviction, a records check will probably reflect that the defendant was originally charged, and convicted, but that the judgment was eventually set aside and an order of dismissal was entered. 
For someone who is convicted of a felony, a set aside can be very important because it has the effect of releasing the defendant "from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction other than those imposed by the Department of Transportation pursuant to 28-3304, 28-3306, 28-3307 or 28-3308.” (See A.R.S. §§ 28-3304 – 3308). When someone is convicted of a felony, they are generally forbidden to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, and possess firearms. The setting aside of such a conviction therefore carries a great deal of meaning. 
For someone who is convicted of only a misdemeanor, the benefits of a set aside are less obvious. 
You should bear in mind that a set aside is not available to a person convicted of a criminal offense: 
(1) involving the infliction of serious physical injury,
(2) involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument,
(3) for which the person is required or ordered by the court to register as a sex offender,
(4) for which there has been a finding of sexual motivation,
(5) in which the victim is a minor under 15 years of age, and
(6) other circumstances as may apply

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Just about every murderer would want to expunge his or her record.

If you killed someone in what the jury regarded as self-defense, as self-defense is a defense to murder, and you would not have been convicted, and certainly not of murder.

Unless you've discovered significant new evidence that would exculpate you, or you have an incredibly compelling set of undisputed circumstances pointing to innocence, the odds of you being able to expunge the record within 10 years of release, or getting a pardon from the Governor, are about as good as those of being able to jump across the grand Canyon.


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