Restoration of Civil and Gun Rights
What Rights Are Lost When a Person Is Convicted of a Felony?
A felony conviction suspends a person’s civil liberties. The person loses 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 a person from obtaining business and professional licenses, government secured loans and housing.
If you have been convicted of a felony in Arizona, you owe it to yourself to find out if it’s possible to set aside your conviction and all of the reasons why having your conviction set aside can help. Contact us for a free initial consultation to learn more.
Can a Person Restore Their Civil Rights Lost Because of a Felony Conviction?
Yes, under Arizona law pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-905, a set aside of judgement and restoration of rights is available whether a person has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. Further, a person with only one Arizona felony conviction will have any rights lost automatically restored upon completion of a term of probation. Or, their civil rights will be restored upon receipt of an absolute discharge from imprisonment if the person paid all fines or restitution. However, this does not apply to the right to possess a firearm.
To restore the right to possess a firearm, a person must file an application to restore their gun rights with Superior Court in the county where they were convicted. This requirement also applies to those with two or more Arizona felony convictions. A separate application is required for each felony criminal case.
Is it Possible to Expunge a Judgment of Guilt in Arizona?
Often, people want to know if a criminal conviction can be “expunged.” At present, Arizona does not have a true expungement statute. Instead, a person can apply to have their conviction or judgment of guilt “set aside.”
It is important to note that there is a difference between an expungement of records and getting a conviction set aside. An expungement for instance would result in a conviction being erased from one’s records. Since expunging a conviction is not currently an option in the state of Arizona, a criminal defense lawyer looking out for your rights will apply to have a conviction set aside.
More specifically, under the set aside statute A.R.S. § 13-905 a person is eligible to apply for protection from the effects of a past conviction. Those convicted may do so upon completing their probation or sentence so long as the conviction is not for a “dangerous.”
The effect of a successful application is that the Court will issue an order setting aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the accusations, and release the person from all applicable penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.
However, the conviction is not completely removed from your record. Instead, there will be a notation to the effect that the conviction was set aside or the judgment of guilt vacated.
How Long Will You Have to Wait to Restore Your Gun Rights in Arizona?
As previously mentioned, conviction of a dangerous offense will prevent a person from applying for a set aside. Serious and other offenses are however excluded from this Criminal Rule.
Look over the following for more specifics regarding Arizona’s laws and Criminal Rules pertaining to the restoration of gun rights after a conviction.
- Dangerous offenses as defined by A.R.S. § 13-704. Dangerous offenses defined under this statute include those involving deadly weapons or dangerous instruments. Also included are defendants who intentionally inflicted serious physical injuries on a person. A person convicted of a dangerous offense is disqualified from applying for a restoration of gun rights.
- Serious offenses as defined under A.R.S. § 13-706. Serious offenses under this statute include armed robbery, dangerous crimes against children, murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, certain sex crimes involving children, and others. A person will be eligible to apply for restoration of gun rights 10 years from the date of discharge from probation or from the date of absolute discharge from prison.
- Other felonies as defined by Arizona Criminal Rule 30.1. A person convicted of any other felony offense may apply for restoration of gun rights in Arizona 2 years from the the discharge date from probation or absolute discharge from prison by filing an application under Arizona Criminal Rule 30.2.
Important Note: Gun rights in Arizona never automatically restore. If found to be in possession of a gun and your right to possess a firearm has not been restored, police could charge you with Misconduct Involving Weapons, a class 4 felony. For a first offense, a class 4 felony carries a presumptive term of 2.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Why Apply to Have Your Conviction Set Aside?
Several benefits to having your conviction set aside:
- Providing a copy of the set aside order when applying for a job may satisfy any concerns of the potential employer about the conviction.
- The same goes for lease applications or any other application that requires you to check a box whether you were ever convicted, arrested, or charged with a crime.
- When applying to set aside your conviction you can also request the court to restore your civil and gun rights that were lost as a consequence to your conviction.
Contact a Restoration of Gun Rights Attorney Today
To find out if you qualify to have your conviction set aside, contact us today to discuss your options. Our attorneys can assist with the application paperwork as well as with drafting a custom memorandum that details the facts of your case, your personal background, and the reasons the court should set aside your conviction. Including a custom memorandum can be more effective and more persuasive than filing the paperwork alone.