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Convicted Felon, How Can I Vote?

Set Aside

Arizona does not allow for criminal convictions to be expunged or sealed. In Arizona, a prior conviction can be “set aside” pursuant to A.R.S. 13-907. A.R.S. 13-907 allows a person convicted of a criminal offense to apply to have the judgement of guilt set aside. If the application is granted, the court shall set aside the judgement of guilt, dismiss the complaint, information or indictment and order that the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction. The conviction will still be available to view on public records but it will show that the judgement of guilt was set aside and the charges against you were dismissed. If an employer verifies your background information or criminal history the history of the prior conviction will remain, but they will also see the order dismissing the case and setting aside the conviction. If a conviction is set aside, the person’s right to possess a gun or firearm is restored, unless the offense was a “serious offense.” Serious offenses include a wide range of offenses that are specifically listed in statute.

There are certain offenses that are not eligible to be set aside. For questions related to eligibility, and other questions related to setting aside a conviction, you should contact Suzuki Law Offices at (602) 682-5270

Restoration of Civil Rights

A felony conviction causes a person to lose the right to vote, the right to hold public office, the right to serve as a juror, and the right possess a gun or other deadly weapon. A felony conviction may also prevent a person from obtaining business and professional licenses, government secured loans and housing.

On proper application, a person who has been discharged from probation may have any civil rights which were lost or suspended by the felony conviction restored. Getting rights restored generally requires obtaining records related to the conviction from the state, the court, and/or the Department of Corrections. After obtaining those records, an application/motion is filed with the court, which then decides whether to grant the request to restore rights. The court can decide to restore all or only some rights (for example, restoring the right to vote but not to possess a gun).

If your conviction was in a state other than Arizona, the rules for restoring your rights may be different. Whatever the case may be, you should consult Suzuki Law Offices for questions about this process and in order to help put you in the best position to regain your civil rights.

Right to Possess a Firearm

In order to restore the right to possess a firearm, a person must file an application with the Superior Court in the county where you were convicted. If the person was convicted of a serious offense as defined in section 13-706 the person may not file for the restoration of right to possess or carry a gun or firearm for ten years from the date of his discharge from probation or absolute discharge from imprisonment. “Serious offense” means any of the following offenses:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault resulting in serious physical injury or involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • Sexual assault
  • Any dangerous crime against children
  • Arson of an occupied structure
  • Armed robbery
  • Burglary in the first degree
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual conduct with a minor under fifteen years of age
  • Child sex trafficking

If the person was convicted of any other felony offense, the person may not file for the restoration of the right to possess or carry a gun or firearm for two years from the date of the person’s discharge from probation or imprisonment.

If you fail to restore your gun rights and are found in possession of a deadly weapon, whether it be a gun or knife (if the knife meets certain definitions), you could be charged with a class 4 felony and face mandatory prison time. Suzuki Law Offices has handled hundreds of Motions to Set Aside Judgement, Restoration of Civil Rights and Rights to Possess a Firearm. Call us today at (602) 682-5270.

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