The Law Office of Gonzales & Poirier congratulates the 2,200 NAU students who graduated last Friday. Graduation is a time to celebrate the fun times you had, the good friends you made and the hard work, persistence and dedication it took to obtain you degree.
Do You Have a Criminal History that Will Hinder Your Future?
Many graduates are already starting the next chapters of their lives with an exciting new career. However, the status of the economy has made it tough for many qualified graduates to find jobs in the career field of their choice. For these graduates the days after graduation is a time spent applying for jobs, internships or graduate school.
Before you start filling out your applications, you should consider if there is anything in your past that might make it more difficult to obtain that job or get into graduate school. Numerous NAU students are arrested as an adult or minor for underage consumption, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct or trespassing. Many of these students are charged and obtain a diversion or just plead guilty to the court. At the time, it did not seem like a big deal but as you fill in your job or graduate applications, you start seeing questions such as “have you ever been arrested by the police” or “have you ever been found/plead guilty to a crime”. Before you answer those questions you should consult an attorney to see if you can set aside your judgment of guilt under A.R.S § 13-907.
Specifically, A.R.S. § 13-907 states:
A. Except as provided in subsection D of this section, every person convicted of a criminal offense, on fulfillment of the conditions of probation or sentence and discharge by the court, may apply to the judge, justice of the peace or magistrate who pronounced sentence or imposed probation or such judge, justice of the peace or magistrate’s successor in office to have the judgment of guilt set aside. The convicted person shall be informed of this right at the time of discharge.
B. The convicted person or, if authorized in writing, the convicted person’s attorney or probation officer may apply to set aside the judgment.
C. If the judge, justice of the peace or magistrate grants the application, the judge, justice of the peace or magistrate shall set aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the accusations or information and order that the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction except those imposed by:
1. The department of transportation pursuant to section 28-3304, 28-3306, 28-3307, 28-3308 or 28-3319, except that the conviction may be used as a conviction if the conviction would be admissible had it not been set aside and may be pleaded and proved in any subsequent prosecution of such person by the state or any of its subdivisions for any offense or used by the department of transportation in enforcing section 28-3304, 28-3306, 28-3307, 28-3308 or 28-3319 as if the judgment of guilt had not been set aside.
2. The game and fish commission pursuant to section 17-314 or 17-340.
Similarly, under A.R.S. § 8-349 adults who have juvenile records can apply to have their records destroyed by the juvenile court that placed them on probation. In order to qualify for the destruction of your juvenile records you need:
- To be at least 18 years old.
- You were not convicted of a felony offense or adjudicated delinquent for an offense listed in A.R.S. 13-501, subsection A or B or title 28, chapter 4.
- You do not have a criminal charge pending.
- You successfully completed all the terms and conditions of probation or you were successfully discharged from the department of juvenile correction, or you successfully completed your individual treatment plan.
- You paid all restitution and monetary assessments in full.
- The destruction of record is in interest of justice and furthers the rehabilitation process.
Under A.R.S. § 8-349 do you qualify to have your juvenile record destroyed or under A.R.S. § 13-907 can you set aside your adult conviction? Having a prior adult or juvenile criminal history could have serious implications to your future. A criminal history can influence whom a employer hires, especially if they have hundreds of well qualified applicants to choose from. Do you want to explain to a possible employer or graduate school why you plead guilty to trespassing, minor consumption, possession of marijuana or disorderly conduct?
These “small” and “petty” crimes will follow you and can have a long and lasting impact. A criminal history may make it difficult for you to pursue a career as an: attorney, teacher, social worker, police officer, fireman, EMT, Peace Corp and any job you may need a security clearance. Even if you do not need a security clearance for your dream job, more employers are doing background checks and will learn if you were arrested and/or convicted of a crime. Since the job market has become extremely competitive, do you really want to explain to your future boss why your possession of marijuana when you were 17, 18, 19 and 20 was no big deal because everyone was doing it?
If you are NAU graduate or a parent of a NAU graduate that has been arrested or plead guilty to a crime, call us for a free consultation at 928-774-5400 and ask to speak to one of our three attorneys Tony, Matt or Daniel. We can assist you in setting aside your judgment of guilty and/or destroying your juvenile record. We understand that you just graduated school and offer discounts and easy payment plans for every budget.