What does "expungement" mean?
Under the laws adopted by Prop 207, if a court grants a request to expunge a marijuana-related criminal charge, the case file and law enforcement records will be sealed; the conviction and sentence will be vacated along with any outstanding court debt imposed in connection with the expunged charge, and the defendant’s civil rights will be restored as to the marijuana-related charges.
- The arresting law enforcement agency and the prosecuting agency will stop making the records available to the public.
- The Arizona Department of Public Safety will seal the records of the offense in its criminal history database, which means the records will not be available to the public.
- A.R.S. § 36-2862 states that an individual whose records are expunged “may state that the individual has never been arrested for, charged with, adjudicated or convicted of, or sentenced for the crime that is the subject of the expungement.” In addition, the law states that the expunged charge “may not be used in a subsequent prosecution by a prosecuting agency or court for any purpose.”
Can I petition the court for expungement?
You may seek expungement of your marijuana-related* criminal records by filing the petition form that is available on this website, if you were either arrested, charged, convicted or acquitted of any of the following offenses:
- Possessing, consuming, or transporting two and one-half ounces or less of marijuana, of which not more than twelve and one-half grams was in the form of marijuana concentrate.
- Possessing, transporting, cultivating, or processing not more than six marijuana plants at your primary residence for personal use.
- Possessing, using, or transporting paraphernalia related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing, or consumption of marijuana.
*marijuana includes cannabis.
I was a minor when I got a marijuana-related charge. Can I still file to have the records expunged?
Yes. Expungement applies to adult and juvenile offenses.
In which court should I file my petition for expungement?
If you are seeking expungement of ONLY law enforcement records relating to an arrest that did not result in a criminal complaint being filed in court, then you must file your petition in the superior court located in the county where you were arrested. Otherwise, you must file your petition in the court where the case was resolved by either dismissal or conviction.
Can I get all my marijuana offenses expunged using one petition?
If you had more than one eligible offense under more than one case number, you must file a separate petition for each case number.
What information will I need to provide the court about my marijuana offense?
To complete the petition, you must, at a minimum, provide the court with the following information as required by Rule 36, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure for each case:
- Your name, address, date of birth, and email address, if you have an email address;
- A description of the offense for which you are seeking expungement as stated on the petition form;
- The name of the law enforcement agency that arrested you for the marijuana-related offense; and
- The court’s case number if your arrest resulted in a criminal complaint being filed with the court.
If you do not provide enough details about the records you want to have expunged, the court may dismiss your petition. If that occurs, you may file a new petition with additional details about your records. The court cannot order expungement of any arresting agency records if you do not identify the arresting agency.
I can’t remember some of the information about my marijuana offense. Where can I go to get the information I need for my petition?
If you were represented in court by an attorney, your defense attorney may be able to provide the information needed to fill out the petition. The supreme court Public Access Case Lookup website may be able to provide you with information about your case.
Will the court charge a filing fee for the Petition to Expunge?
If my conviction is expunged, are all court-ordered monetary obligations cancelled?
No, only outstanding balances are cancelled.
After a charge is expunged, am I entitled to a refund of fines and fees already paid under the expunged charges?
No, fines and fees were properly collected under the law in effect at the time of payment. The new law is not retroactive.
Does “expunged” mean the court records are gone?
Not necessarily. Under Arizona law, related records may still be subject to public records requests, but marijuana-related information will be redacted or sealed, as required by law. However, some court records will be destroyed at some point, based on records retention schedules that set timeframes for when types of records must be destroyed.
If one count is expunged in a multi-count complaint, information or indictment and another count is not expunged, will all the counts be sealed?
No. The non-eligible offenses must continue to be open for public inspection.
Does an expungement order allow me to say I’ve never been arrested or convicted of a marijuana-related offense?
It depends. Read the initiative. Note that some employers, regulatory agencies, the military, or others may have specific requirements.
What happens after my records are expunged?
Keep your copy of the court’s order showing your records were expunged.
Can I file a motion to dismiss under A.R.S. § 36-2862(G) if I have already been sentenced and the sentence (or suspension of sentence) is not completed?
No. Under the statute, a complaint, information or indictment must be pending when the motion to dismiss is filed. If a person has been sentenced, the complaint, information, or indictment is no longer pending, so the motion to dismiss cannot be granted.
Will the prosecutor file to expunge on my behalf?
Maybe. The prosecutor is permitted to file on your behalf on request but it is not required. Check with the office that did the original prosecution. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Attorney’s Office will file on your behalf if you meet all the requirements posted on their websites. For Maricopa County, see https://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/446/Prop-207-Marijuana-Conviction-Expungement. For Pima County, see https://www.pcao.pima.gov/prop207/.
Why should I erase my marijuana case?
Criminal records can result in a loss of civil rights, often affecting a person’s ability to obtain housing, employment, loads, volunteer opportunities, etc. They can also be embarrassing reminders from the past. Having your marijuana case finally erased brings closure to the next chapter of your life and allows you to live with peace of mind knowing that your record will forever be sealed away from the public. Expungement and erasure will also allow you to lawfully report that you have no prior charges or convictions (if your marijuana case is the only criminal record you have).
Can I erase other criminal charges or other drug cases?
You may be able to set aside other cases, expunge them if a misidentification occurred, or get your civil rights back but only marijuana-cases that involve the amount specified in ARS 36-2862 qualify for expungement and erasure. Contact The Baker Law Firm, LLC. for questions regarding expungement of other criminal charges or drug-related cases not specific in ARS-36-2862.
What if I have multiple counts or cases?
If you have multiple counts with one case number, we charge $499 per misdemeanor case and $899 per felony case. That means you could have any number of charges in one case and we will handle that for one case fee. However, if you have a separate case number we charge the same as we would for your first case. In other words, a new case number equals a second full fee, and so on.
Do I qualify for marijuana record expungement?
If you were charged with possessing, transporting, using, or cultivating less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, 12 grams of which can be marijuana concentrate, you qualify. Also, if you had paraphernalia related to the consumption of marijuana or packaging of marijuana, you qualify. It doesn’t matter whether your case was later dismissed, whether you obtained a diversion program, or ultimately were convicted, your case can be erased. It doesn’t matter how old or how new the case is.
What is the process?
If you qualify (see eligible offense in ARS-36-2862), we ask you to fill out your contact information, case information, sign a few forms, and that’s it. Once you are finished and we have all the information, we handle the rest. First, we print off the information you provided, verify it with court docketing, and then (on or after July 12, 2021) a Notice of Appearance, Petition for Expungement, and Order of Expungement is a field with the court. We estimate orders will take a minimum of 45 days and a maximum of 150 days. Once we get a signed order expunging your case we will then send it to you. The court clerk then electronically sends the expungement order to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), which is required by law to seal and erase your criminal record entirely, whether you received diversion, a dismissal, or a conviction.
How long will it take to erase my marijuana case?
We guarantee to all clients that your petition for expungement will be filed within four weeks of getting started. What we cannot guarantee is how long the courts will take to sign the order expunging your case. We estimate anywhere from 90 to 120 days for the court to sign the orders. You will be emailed the filed copy of the petition for expungement and the final order of expungement.
How do I find my case?
Visit the Arizona State Supreme Court’s Public Access to Case Information website to get started. Type in your name and other identifiers and your case information should appear. In some instances, if you know you have a case and it’s not appearing on the Public Access to Case Information site you should find your specific court location and address using our case information link and visit that city, town, or justice court’s specific docketing page.
How do I find my case if it is old and not on the electronic court dockets?
Unfortunately, for cases prior to 2000, it is very possible that your matter is not on an online public court docket. In this event, you will need to first figure out which court your case was held in and then call the clerk of that court to find out how to obtain your case number and case information. If after you have searched, called, and made efforts at locating your case information to no avail, we can assist you for a higher fee.
Do I need to attend a hearing?
It is possible that a hearing may be set, but very unlikely. The court is not required to set a hearing and only if something is questionable about your eligibility would we expect a hearing to be set. If a hearing is set we will appear with you but there is a slight additional $250 hearing fee required. But, to reiterate, it is very unlikely any hearing will take place on your matter.
What if my petition for expungement is denied
Your petition should not be denied. The only reason it could be denied is if you don’t qualify but indicated through a verification and case information you provided that you did qualify. The law says your charge, dismissal, conviction, etc, will be expunged by the court and then erased by the Arizona Department of Public Safety if you qualify. If you are denied, we will send you a copy of the denial along with your right to appeal the decision directly to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
What if I change my mind and don't want to proceed?
We understand people change their minds. However, due to the innovative approach to erasing your criminal marijuana record, once you submit your case and request for expungement, we immediately generate your notice of appearance, petition for expungement, and proposed order. Most firms would charge thousands for three pleadings being filed with the court and we charge a very reasonable low flat fixed fee ($499 for misdemeanors, $899 for felonies). If you click submit your case and change your mind, we can certainly not file your petition, but there would be no refund issued as the work has been completed.
Are you a law firm or document preparer?
Erase My Marijuana Case is the first and only law firm in Arizona dedicated to the erasure of marijuana criminal records. We were started by Phoenix attorney Michael Baker, founder of The Baker Law Firm, LLC. Mr. Baker has practiced for close to 20 years in criminal defense and has hundreds of five-star reviews. When you submit your case to us, The Baker Law Firm will formally prepare and file your documents.
*Some FAQS provided by AZCourts.gov