Rights Restoration - FAQ
What rights did I lose when I was convicted of a felony?
A felony conviction suspends your civil liberties. This happens when found guilty, either by plea agreement, or at trial. It is irrelevant if your sentence was probation only. It is the conviction that is relevant, not the level of punishment. As part of your conviction, you lost the right to vote, the right to hold public office of trust or profit, the right to serve as a juror and the right to possess a gun. A felony conviction may also prevent you from obtaining business and professional licenses, as well as government secured loans and housing.
Can I restore my civil liberties?
One Felony Conviction
If you have only one Arizona felony conviction, your civil rights were lost or suspended, but were automatically restored when you completed probation or received your “absolute discharge” after imprisonment. This result presumes you paid all fines and restitution (money owed the victims). However, your right to own a weapon is NOT automatically restored. To restore the right to own a weapon you must file an application with Maricopa County Superior Court.
Two Or More Felony Convictions
If you have two or more Arizona felony convictions (even under the same matter) you must file an application to restore your civil liberties (and gun rights) with Maricopa County Superior Court. A separate application is required for each felony criminal matter, and you must have paid all fines and restitution in full prior to the application submission.
What if my felony conviction was in another state?
We do not work on felony convictions from other states. You should consult an attorney from the conviction state to learn more about the law.
What if I was convicted of a felony in federal court?
We do not work on federal felony convictions.
How do I know if I am eligible to restore my rights?
One Felony Conviction
If you only had one Arizona felony your rights were restored automatically upon completion of (1) probation or (2) your absolute discharge from the Department of Corrections as long as all fines and restitution were paid in full. If your fines and restitution were not paid, your rights were not automatically restored. The court will not set aside a judgment of guilt without an application.
Two Or More Felony Convictions
If you have two or more felonies in Arizona you may apply to restore your civil liberties one year after completion of probation (if your sentence was probation only). You may apply to restore your civil liberties two years from your absolute discharge from the Department of Corrections. If you spent time in the Department of Corrections, and then had probation, you can apply two years after probation is completed. In each case, you must have completely paid your fines and restitution in full prior to the application. If you owe even $1, your application will be denied.
What is setting aside judgment?
Arizona does no "expunge" convictions. Once you have police contact, whether that resulted in a case or not, that incident and/or conviction remains on your record. If convicted, whether through a plea or trial, in MOST cases, upon completion of probation or your DOC sentence, you may file to have your “judgment set aside.” Setting aside a judgment releases you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.
Does setting aside a judgment seal my record?
No. There is no process in Arizona to “seal your record”. The record is still accessible to the public. However, your record will have a notation stating that the judgment has been set aside. Some employers are more likely to view the setting aside of a judgment favorably. The setting aside of a judgment lets your employer know that the court is satisfied that you have been rehabilitated.
Setting aside your judgment does not apply to Department of Motor Vehicle records or Game and Fish. In some cases, a felony that has been set aside may be used at a subsequent trial as a prior felony conviction.
Are there judgments that cannot be “set aside”?
Persons convicted of criminal offenses involving infliction of serious physical injury, exhibition or use of a weapon, and sexual moolestation of a victim under 15 years of age may NOT have their judgment set aside.
Do I need to hire an attorney to have my civil liberties restored, gun rights restored, or set aside a judgment?
No, a lawyer is not required. With effort, and a bit of patience, you should be able to fill out the forms and navigate the system yourself. However, if you would prefer to have an experienced attorney who needs the "magic phrases" do it for you, we are happy to assist.
Do I have to go to Court to get my civil liberties restored, gun rights restored, or set aside a judgment?
No. We will fill out all the paperwork, and attend any court hearings on your behalf, if required.
Restoration of Rights
and Set Asides
You have paid your debt, now restore your rights.
Once you have paid your debt to society, you have the ability to have your rights restored. This includes your right to vote, obtain food stamps and social security benefits, as well as access to public housing. Until your rights are restored you also are barred from holding many state licenses. We can assist you in getting your rights restored.
If you are convicted of a felony, you are now a prohibited possessor. That means, for the rest of your life, if you are found carrying a firearm or weapons of any kind (including archery equipment and certain knives), you will be charged with a Class 4 Felony. We can help you get your firearm rights restored.
Finally, we can help you have your “judgment set aside.” Setting aside a judgment releases you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction and is sometimes looked favorably by potential employers.