Why should I hire a lawyer for a Judgment to Set Aside?

The simple answer:  A good criminal defense lawyer works with Judges, Courts and Prosecutors every day and will be more persuasive and effective than most defendants’ pre-printed form filings.

Just what is a motion to set aside judgment?  Motions to set aside a judgment of guilt, require that the Defendant, either personally or through  a lawyer, ask the judge to undo the conviction and dismiss the charges.  See A.R.S. 13-905.   If the judge grants this request, the Defendant’s criminal record will look cleaner because the record should show that the offense was ultimately dismissed, rather than show up as a conviction.

Although many courts offer pre-printed set aside forms, generally, lawyers can make a much more persuasive argument than the Defendant can through a form.  Keep in mind the following facts:

  • Pre-printed forms generally will not allow enough space to attach exhibits (resumes, housing applications, job applications inquiring about the Defendant’s criminal background, etc.)
  • Pre-printed forms generally only have a small space to explain whyyou deserve to have this conviction undone.  Compare that fact with a competent lawyers’ pleadings that will detail your growth, change in behavior, and potential recovery.
  • A lawyer’s pleadings can detail why the conviction has unfairly (or potentially will unfairly) inhibit you from academic, housing, workplace and career achievements.  This can be very persuasive, but often takes substantial space and the right words- something that may be curbed if you use a form.
  • The Prosecutor may object.  Perhaps, the most significant reason that you should hire a lawyer is this:  The prosecutor often objects and uses a well-written, or well-constructed verbal argument, to persuade the judge to reject or deny your request to set aside the conviction.  Will a pre-printed form hand written by the Defendant stand up to a prosecutor’s objection?  Will you know what to do if the prosecutor files an objection? Would the prosecutor have even objected had the defendant hired an experienced lawyer to prepare a well-crafted argument (rather than a pre-printed form pleading)?
  • Laws regarding Set Asides will be changing again on January 1, 2019. Most of the pre-printed forms available now will very quickly be outdated.  A good lawyer will be aware of the current and changing laws and know the best way to craft your Motion to Set Aside.


These are just some of the reasons why it is usually best to find a good lawyer when requesting the Court set aside a judgment of guilt.

My law firm has substantial experience litigating motions to set aside.  We can offer this service at a fair and competitive price and are usually very successful in setting aside convictions.  Call me today for a free consultation and quote  602-402-8708


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