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Completing the Petition to Seal Criminal Case Records
Please read A.R.S. § 13-911 in its entirety. These Info Sheets are intended to help those who are seeking to file a petition or have had a ruling on a petition to seal a criminal case record under A.R.S. § 13-911. Nothing in these Info Sheets supersedes what is provided in statute and does not restrict local rules and practice of a particular court in processing petitions.

As of December 31, 2022, a person who is arrested, convicted or sentenced before, on or after December 31, 2022, may petition the court to have their criminal case record sealed. If the court grants the petition under A.R.S. § 13-911, the petitioner is allowed to state on employment, housing, and financial aid or loan applications that they have never been arrested for, charged with or convicted of the crime that is the subject of the arrest or conviction. The petitioner must apply to seal their records in each court in which they have been convicted.

The sealing of case records refers solely to the records that exist under the control of criminal justice entities including the courts, Department of Public Safety (Central State Repository), prosecutor’s offices and law enforcement agencies. Any case record that was published or distributed prior to sealing may still be accessible and may not be impacted by the granting of an order to seal case records.

You may file a petition to seal all case records related to a criminal offense if you were:

  1. Convicted of a criminal offense and have completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence that were imposed by the court, including the payment of all monetary obligations and restitution to all victims.

    NOTE: Cases do not qualify for being sealed if the financial obligations were converted to a civil obligation via a Criminal Restitution Order at the expiration of the sentence (A.R.S. § 13-805) because the court-ordered obligations are not dismissed.

  2. Charged with a criminal offense and the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at trial.

  3. Arrested for a criminal offense and no charges were filed.

If you file a petition to seal your criminal case records, you should provide as much information as possible regarding (1) your arrest, (2) any charges levied (including those not filed) and (3) case information (including dates, arresting agency, location of booking, copy of citation or citation number, DR number, and incident number) that will help the court process your petition.

You may contact the arresting agency or search public record archives to gather pertinent information.

The court will not have information about the requested records if no charges were filed with the court.

You must provide adequate information for the court to determine if files exist and if they are appropriate for being sealed.

You may petition the court to seal your records of arrest, conviction and sentence after you complete all the terms and conditions of your sentence (including paying all fines, fees and restitution that are ordered by the court)

AND

You have not been convicted of any other offenses, except a misdemeanor traffic violation (Title 28) and excluding a conviction for driving under the influence (A.R.S. §§ 28-1381 through 28-1383.)

AND

The following period of time has passed since you completed the conditions of probation or sentence and was discharged by the court:

  • 10 years for a class 2 or 3 felony.
  • 5 years for a class 4, 5 or 6 felony.
  • 3 years for a class 1 misdemeanor.
  • 2 years for a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor.

The expiration of a sentence does not mean that you have completed your sentence if financial obligations exist under a Criminal Restitution Order. The date of completion of a Criminal Restitution Order should be considered the date of completion of the sentence.

You must file the petition to seal case records in the correct jurisdiction; otherwise, your petition may be dismissed and returned with no ruling.

  1. You must file in the court where you were convicted of an offense.

  2. If the charges were dismissed, or you were found not guilty, or your conviction was vacated––you must file in the court where an indictment, information, criminal citation or complaint was filed against you. (Exception: if the complaint was filed in a justice court and subsequent information was filed, the petition must be filed in the superior court)

  3. If charges were not filed––you must file in the court where you had an initial appearance.

  4. If you did not have an initial appearance and no charges were filed––you must file the petition in the superior court in the county where you were arrested.

Your petition may also be dismissed and returned with no ruling if there is not enough information provided for the court to gather what it needs to make a ruling, or if no fee was paid. You may refile with additional information or file in the superior court. If your petition is denied in a ruling, the only recourse is to appeal the ruling or wait 3 years from the date of denial prior to refiling.

A hearing is not required for the court to make a ruling. A hearing may be held if one is requested by the petitioner, prosecutor, victim or on the court’s own motion.

  • If the court determines that a petition is not valid and no hearing is requested, then the court may dismiss the petition without a hearing.

  • If the court determines that it needs additional information in order to make a ruling, and no hearing has been requested by a party, then the court may set a hearing on its own without being requested by a party.

Keep in mind that you cannot request a hearing after the court rules on your petition to seal criminal case records. You must make the request beforehand. If you do not, your only recourse is to appeal but only if the petition is denied because it is not valid. No other basis for appeal is allowed per A.R.S. § 13-4033. If your petition is denied for another reason and you do not request a hearing, you must wait 3 years from the date of denial to file another petition.