On April 1, 2021 Arizona Governor Doug Doucey signed into law House Bill 2067 creating the Certificate of Second Chance. This law, effective August 27, 2021, opens a pathway for those with prior convictions to obtain occupational licenses they might otherwise be barred from obtaining due to their conviction.
It amends Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-905, allowing persons convicted of certain offenses to obtain a Certificate of Second Chance (Certificate) when they receive a set aside of conviction. The Certificate relieves release the applicant from all barriers and disabilities in obtaining an occupational license that resulted from their conviction, opening up greater opportunity for them to improve their lives and ensuring that Arizonan talent is not wasted because of past mistakes.
Representative Rep. Brett Roberts (R – Maricopa), explained the bill provides 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 pursue housing, employment, and self-employment opportunities. Thus allowing them a “second chance” to achieve their goals in life, while reducing their likelihood to recidivate and offend again.
To be eligible for a Certificate, the applicant must be eligible for a set aside of conviction and the offense must be: a misdemeanor; or a class 4, 5 or 6 felony with two years having passed since completion of sentence; or a class 2 or 3 felony with five years having passed since completion of sentence. If the conditions for eligibility are met, and the applicant does not have a prior Certificate, the court must include a Certificate when granting a set aside of conviction.
Not all offenses are eligible. 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. Certificates can be revoked if the applicant is convicted of a subsequent offense.
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 that demonstrate rehabilitation. 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. So those individuals who earned a set aside before the enactment of this law, may return to the court and apply for the Certificate. 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 talented people who have rehabilitated themselves a greater opportunity, to obtain professional licenses such as those required for real estate, nursing, private investigating, engineering, contracting, etc. The certificate is not a recommendation or sponsorship for licensure, employment or housing, but can be helpful when disclosing a prior conviction to those licensing bodies. The Certificate does speak to your rehabilitation and offers certain liability protections to employers when hiring, reducing the risk to employers who take a chance on a qualified applicant with a past. It also offers certain liability protections to employers when hiring, The Certificate will open up more opportunities for deserving individuals to pursue economic freedom and be fuller members of their communities.
Recordgone is excited about the passage of this new law, and looks forward to being able to provide additional services to our clients. If you are in need of set aside services please take our online eligibility test or contact us at (877) 573-7273.