Arizona voters passed Proposition 207 legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. The Smart and Safe Arizona act includes a provision to allow marijuana offenses to be expunged. Those who carry the weight of collateral consequences from offenses that are no longer classified as crimes will be able to remove those barriers. The recipient of this form of expungement under the law will be able to say they have never been convicted of a crime or arrested for it. Unlike the Arizona set aside, the expungement will seal the full record including the arrest details from public access. And for those individuals only arrested for a marijuana offense, they will not have to demonstrate factual innocence to be granted an expungement, like with arrest record sealing petitions for other offenses. Proposition 207 provides an important avenue for relief in addition to legalizing marijuana in Arizona.
To qualify for an expungement under this law (A.R.S. 36-2862), an applicant must have a marijuana offense for: possessing, consuming, or transporting 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana, of which not more than 12.5 grams was in the form of marijuana concentrate; possessing, transporting, cultivating, or processing not more than six marijuana plants at the individual’s primary residence for personal use; or possessing, using, or transporting paraphernalia relating to the cultivation, manufacture, processing, or consumption of marijuana. If an applicant meets one of these three requirements, then the court is required to grant the petition for expungement unless the prosecutor can provide clear and convincing evidence to dispute the facts of the case. The court may grant requests for marijuana expungement without even holding a hearing. Though the relief seems automatic if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria, the process is not. An applicant still needs to file a petition with the court requesting the relief. An attorney may assist in this process and provide additional guidance should the prosecutor present an objection.
It is important that those who qualify move to apply for this relief. There are numerous benefits to all forms of post conviction relief, but the Arizona marijuana expungement will be especially beneficial. The record is no longer accessible and can longer be used against the recipient of the relief, even if they are charged with a subsequent offense. For all intents and purposes, the expunged record is as though it did not happen. Those with an expunged record will be able to apply for housing, jobs, and other opportunities without the burden of a conviction or arrest on their record, and when asked that question they can answer truthfully they are not the subject of an arrest or conviction. Additionally, if it is a qualifying offense that is standing in the way of the civil and firearm rights, the expungement will remove that barrier. The marijuana expungement represents a whole and total restoration of the recipient to full membership in civil society. It is important to note, however, that this does not cover federal convictions and convictions for other Arizona offenses. It is not a clean slate, but it is a valuable form of relief for offenses that are no longer classified as crimes in the state.
This law represents a necessary inclusion in the path toward legalizing marijuana. It would be unjust to allow those convicted of something no longer a crime to continue to be penalized by the collateral consequences of a conviction. Do not continue to live under the weight of those collateral consequences, contact us today to see if you are eligible. If you do not have a marijuana offense arrest or conviction, we may still be able to help you with an Arizona set aside. We have a free online eligibility test, or you can contact one of our live representatives at (877) 573-7273.