Arizona House Bill 2067 was signed into law on April 1, 2021 by Governor Doug Doucey. The law will be effective August 27, 2021. It amends Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-905, allowing persons convicted of certain offenses to set aside their prior conviction and obtain a Certificate of Second Chance (Certificate). The Certificate will release the person from all barriers and disabilities in obtaining an occupational license that resulted from the conviction if they are otherwise qualified for a license.
The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Brett Roberts (R – Maricopa), explained the bill gives those with a prior criminal conviction, who meet the eligibility criteria, a second chance, by allowing them an opportunity to present a Certificate when they are looking for employment or housing, including certain types of business licenses. Thus allowing them a “second chance” to attain their goals in life, while reducing their likelihood to recidivate.
The core feature of the Certificate is that it is only available to those who are eligible to set aside their conviction and meet the requirements below, but the Certificate may be rescinded if the person is consequently convicted in the future. If the court orders a set aside, it must include a Certificate if the person has not previously received a Certificate and is convicted of a certain level of eligible offense, specifically:
- Class 4, 5, 6 Felony
- If at least two years have elapsed since the person fulfilled the conditions of probation or sentence
- Class 2 or 3 Felony
- If at least five years have elapsed since the person fulfilled the conditions of probation or sentence
Not all offenses are eligible to be set aside. For example, driving on a suspended license, convictions involving a deadly weapon, or convictions involving infliction of serious physical injury and offenses requiring sex offender registration, among others, are excluded.
It is important to note that the process of obtaining a set aside and Certificate is not automatic. An individual seeking set aside must file an application with the court. Ultimately a judge has discretion as to whether or not to set aside a conviction and will consider a variety of factors. If the court grants the application to set aside the conviction, the court’s order must include a Certificate if the person is eligible. If a court does not issue an order of set aside that includes a Certificate, the person may apply to the court for a Certificate after meeting the requirements. If a victim has asked to receive notices of post conviction relief, a state prosecutor is required to provide notice to the victim upon a person’s application for a Certificate.
The new law has its limitations, but represents a positive change for criminal justice in Arizona. It will provide people who have been rehabilitated and are otherwise qualified, a chance to more easily obtain professional licenses issued under Title 32 such as, real estate, nursing, private investigators, engineers, contractors, etc. It is not a recommendation or sponsorship for licensure, employment or housing, but can be helpful when disclosing a prior conviction to those entities. When asked, you can show the Certificate issued by the court. It also offers certain liability protections to employers when hiring, such as potential tort liability for employers hiring those with a Certificate. It will open up more opportunities for deserving individuals to be full members of society, and to be able to pursue new opportunities that were previously denied them.
Recordgone is excited about the passage of this new law, and looks forward to being able to provide additional services to our clients. However, because the law does not take effect until August 27, 2021, we are not able to provide Certificate advice or services based on this law until August. We will post an announcement when services become available, likely closer to the effective date.