Petition for the Expungement of Marijuana-Related Offences in Arizona
Starting in the summer of 2021, it will be possible to have many types of marijuana-related offenses expunged from your criminal record in Arizona. This is major news since these will be the only types of convictions that can be expunged. Although it is possible to file to have other types of convictions set aside, it’s not as encompassing as having an expungement. Below, we’ll be looking at the differences between expungement and setting aside a conviction, who qualifies for expungement, and the benefits that it can provide.
Why Are Expungements for Marijuana Convictions Available?
In November 2020, voters in Arizona passed Proposition 207. The passage of the proposition decriminalized the use and possession of marijuana. Recreational use of cannabis is now legal in the state. Many people have convictions that are related to marijuana, and those convictions have caused and continue to cause them problems in their lives.
Therefore, the state has decided that they would allow for the expungement of several types of marijuana convictions. The new rules address three types of marijuana convictions. The information below will help you to get a better understanding of who may qualify for expungement under the new laws.
Possession, Consumption, or Transportation of Marijuana
Those who were convicted or charged with transportation of marijuana, consuming marijuana, or transporting marijuana could have their records expunged. However, this is only true if the amount of marijuana was 2.5 ounces or less, or 12.5 grams of marijuana concentrate or less.
Possession, Transportation, or Cultivation of Marijuana Plants
If you were charged with or convicted of possessing marijuana plants, then you could have your record expunged, as well. However, expungement is only possible for those who had no more than six marijuana plants that were kept at their main residence for personal use.
Possession, Use, or Transportation of Marijuana Paraphernalia
If you have been charged with a marijuana paraphernalia offense, whether it was for the possession, use, or transportation of the materials, you could be eligible to have your record expunged.
In Maricopa County, the attorney’s office said that they were dismissing any pending and unfiled charges for possession of marijuana and/or paraphernalia. This includes cases that were pending in early disposition court, those in diversion, pending trial, and those who were being sentenced for a probation violation because of one of these offenses.
Benefits of Getting a Marijuana Conviction Expunged
With marijuana becoming more accepted in Arizona and the rest of the country, you might be wondering whether you should even bother getting your record expunged. Let’s look at some of the biggest ways that it could benefit you.
First of all, there is the fact that it could help to make getting child custody easier. In Arizona, the courts generally like to provide both parents with equal access to the children. They do not want to take away parenting rights. However, having convictions could color the opinion of the courts. Having the marijuana-related offenses expunged can help to put you on equal footing.
When you have your record expunged, it could also allow you the right to own and possess a firearm, the right to vote, to hold public office, and to serve on a jury. It will also restore your right to get a professional business license.
People who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses will also often find it difficult to find gainful employment and even places to live. When the record is expunged, though, the employees will not know that you have been convicted of the crime in the past. The same is true when going through a background check to rent a property.
Many people take for granted the rights they have and that are stripped away from them when they have a conviction on their record. By getting the records expunged, it will help people to have a new lease on life and new opportunities that would not have been available otherwise.
How Is Expungement Better than Getting a Conviction Set Aside?
It is important to note that expungement is not available for other types of convictions in Arizona. The only expungement available is for the offenses mentioned above. However, this doesn’t mean that other types of convictions can be removed. Rather than expungement, the court might decide to set aside a conviction.
While this is beneficial, it can still show up on your record with employers, as it doesn’t entirely remove the conviction from your record. It will show up on background checks and it is still part of the public record. Having your marijuana-related offenses expunged means that the records of your arrest and conviction are sealed. Only you and your attorney will have access to those records.
The availability of expungement for marijuana convictions has the potential to change the lives of many people who have been negatively affected.
Get the Documents You Need to File
To make matters easier for yourself, work with the certified legal document preparers at Modern Law. The cost for the service from Modern Law is $199. Working with the professionals will help to ensure that the paperwork is completed and filed properly. Having help from those who know and understand how to handle the documentation will help relieve any worry that you might have had. Working with an attorney could also help you understand if you are eligible for the expungement or if there are circumstances that might make you ineligible.
When you file your petition for expungement with the court, the court will give the prosecutors 30 days to respond to your petition. If they dispute the validity, they may call for a hearing. The burden will be on them to show that your petition for expungement is not valid. When the court grants the petition, you will have your civil rights restored and your records sealed.