Arizona voters passed Proposition 207 in November, 2020. Among its provisions is the ability to petition a court at no cost to expunge certain marijuana-related records. What does this mean and how do you proceed?
Note: the information on this page is not intended to constitute legal advice and is provided as an education service. For legal assistance, please contact an attorney.
What Expungement Does
If the court grants an expungement petition under Prop 207, the following will happen related to the expunged charge:
- any conviction and sentence will be vacated;
- any fines still owed will be waived;
- any existing warrant(s) on the charge will be quashed;
- the court file will be sealed;
- law enforcement records will be sealed (arresting agency, prosecutor, DPS);
- sealed records will only be available to the defendant or their attorney;
- the offense cannot be used as a prior conviction;
- the defendant’s civil rights (voting, firearms) may be restored;
- the defendant may truthfully say that they have never been arrested, cited, charged, convicted, or sentenced for the charge being expunged.
What Expungement Does Not Do
Many people believe expungement erases any information about marijuana convictions. Be aware:
- fines/costs already paid on an expunged case will not be refunded;
- any fines/costs still owed on other charges may need a new payment plan arrangement;
- some marijuana charges are not eligible to be expunged. See below for those which are;
- ineligible charges on the same ticket or complaint will still be public and valid;
- multiple defendants in the same case will not have records expunged unless each files a petition which is then granted;
- voter registration is not automatic with expungement; the defendant will need to re-register online at https://servicearizona.com or in-person at a County Recorder’s Office.
What Offenses are Eligible
You can qualify for expungement even if you were never convicted or served jail time. In addition, you can qualify even if you have not completed the terms of a sentence for a qualifying offense. ARS § 36-2862 says eligible petitioners are those who were arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced, 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; or
- Possessing, using, or transporting paraphernalia related to the cultivation, manufacture, processing, or consumption of marijuana.
Note: marijuana includes cannabis
If you had more than one eligible offense under more than one case number, you must file a separate petition for each case number you wish to be expunged.
Where to File
- If your arrest did not result in a court case and you simply want the law enforcement records expunged, you must file your petition in the Superior Court for the county where the arrest took place.
- If your arrest did result in a court case, you must file your petition in the court that adjudicated the matter. In Maricopa County that could be any one of the 26 Justice Courts, the Superior Court, or any of the city Municipal Courts.
- If you were under the age of 18 when the case began, you must file your petition in the Superior Court for the county where you were adjudicated delinquent.
Search for Case Numbers or Other Details
You must use the form specific to the court where the petition will be filed. Make sure to get the instructions to learn more about the process.
For use in the Maricopa County Justice Courts:
For use in other County Justice Courts:
For use in any Superior Court:
For Juvenile expungement requests:
Timeline for Expungements
- Petitions were first accepted beginning July 12, 2021.
- Petitions with insufficient information will be dismissed if not corrected within 45 days. The court may advise you as to what more is needed. There is no fee to apply so you can re-apply if a petition is dismissed or denied.
- You have 14 days to file an appeal to a denial of a requested expungement.
- Petitions may be granted by default if the prosecuting agency does not respond within 45 days.
- Once the order is signed, copies will go to the defendant, prosecutor, defense attorney, arresting agency, and Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS).
- In the Maricopa County Justice Courts, once the signed order is entered into the case management system, the electronic and paper record will be sealed and the case will be removed from the online search page.