Question: I was convicted of a DUI, and have 10 months remaining on unsupervised probation. I would like to have my conviction "set aside", and if possible have my probation terminated early, because I will be applying for a nursing license in 6 months. I don't have the money for a lawyer, and am wondering if there are any ways/resources people could lead me to, to do this on my own.
Answer: The laws about setting aside a conviction are presently found in A.R.S. §§ 13-904 – 912 . Laws change. The law may be different now than they were when a person was convicted. Thus, both the present laws and the laws at the time of a conviction must be considered to determine which laws apply to a specific case. The statutes use the term “set aside the judgment.” An application to have a conviction set aside may use the language “vacate judgment and dismiss charges.” In this situation, “setting aside a conviction” means the same thing as “vacating judgment and dismissing the charges.” A conviction that is set aside whether a felony or misdemeanor must be reported on an application if the application asks whether a person “has ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.” The law does not require that the conviction be removed from one’s record However, it is required that the record show the conviction has been set aside. In Arizona, even if the word “expungement” is used, the conviction is not removed from a criminal record. Instead, it is set aside.
Forms and instruction to set aside a felony conviction in Superior Court may be found in Maricopa County at the Clerk of Court Office.Check with the Justice Court or City Court where the person was convicted of the misdemeanor to see if these online forms could be adapted for use in that court. If the county where one was convicted does not have these forms online, a person may be able to use the forms of another county. Again, contact the specific court where one was convicted to see which forms to use.
The Justice Court or City Court may grant a request to set aside, deny the request, set a hearing, or give orders the Court believes are appropriate in a particular case. Usually the Court does not set a hearing. However, if a hearing is set, it is important to attend. The Court that set the hearing might be able to help, if a question involves a procedure. A Court cannot help a person with questions involving the legal issues of a case. For legal issues, it may be necessary to contact an attorney. If a Court denies a request to set aside a misdemeanor conviction, a person might file a request for reconsideration, depending upon the reason the request was denied. Instructions and forms to ask the Court to reconsider a request may be available online at the above website. Check with the Court where the person was convicted to see if these forms for Reconsideration in Superior Court could be modified for use in that court.
June 02, 2008