Legal Recreational Marijuana Use in Arizona
Currently, the possession or use of marijuana is considered a class 6 felony in Arizona. However, the State of Arizona recently announced that voters in the November, 2020 election will determine whether the recreational use of marijuana will become legal. If passed, the ballot measure would permit the possession, sale and consumption of up to one ounce of marijuana by people 21 years of age and older. Another important feature however is that individuals previously convicted of low level marijuana offenses can apply to have their convictions expunged.
What is an Expungement
In basic terms, "expunge" means to have something completely erased or removed. With respect to criminal convictions, expungements are the process by which any record pertaining to a conviction is sealed or destroyed from a person's state or federal criminal history. Expungements are orders to treat a conviction as if it never occurred. The benefits of having a conviction expunged include being granted fair access to jobs and housing, restoring your civil rights such as the right to vote and possess a firearm and having the ability to obtain professional licenses which might not otherwise be permitted. Usually, and certainly with respect to marijuana offenses in Arizona, applications for expungement of criminal convictions must be made in the state courts.
Currently, Arizona law only permits individuals to submit applications to have their criminal convictions "set aside." Unfortunately, a set aside does not operate to seal and destroy records of convictions as if they never occurred.
The Importance In Expunging Your Marijuana Conviction
As mentioned previously, most people prosecuted for marijuana offenses in Arizona will have a class one misdemeanor or class 6 felony on their record. Undoubtedly, any criminal conviction is serious as it may cause difficulties when applying for jobs or higher education, obtaining a professional license or trying to secure housing. Felony convictions pose even greater problems as people automatically lose important civil rights such as the right to vote, serve on a jury or possess a firearm. Expunging a marijuana conviction will free you from future challenges and allow you to claim that you were never convicted of this offense.
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Get You Marijuana Possession Conviction Expunged
If Arizona voters pass this initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, people with convictions for low level marijuana offenses should immediately pursue an expungement. Undoubtedly, an experienced criminal defense attorney could be of invaluable assistance in expediting this process and having your marijuana conviction sealed. Attorney, Raymond Kimble has practiced criminal defense throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties for over twenty years and is available to assist in having your marijuana conviction expunged.