What Disqualifies You From Getting an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card?
Disqualifications for an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card include certain criminal offenses. These offenses range from specific misdemeanors to felonies, particularly those involving harm to minors, sexual offenses, and violent crimes. The exact nature and recency of the offense play a crucial role in determining eligibility.
There are a couple of different ways. The first way is if you have any criminal history considered a precluded offense. A list of these precluded offenses in Arizona State statutes says that if you are convicted of any of these crimes, you will not be able to get a good cause exception to obtain your fingerprint clearance card.
In summary, if you have any of those offenses—most of them deal with child abuse, elder abuse, sexual crimes, or highly violent crimes, and they do enumerate them.
Having a Criminal Record Outside of Arizona State
Now, if this offense happened and it wasn’t in Arizona but would be comparable to those offenses, you will not be considered for a good cause exception and will just be flat-out denied.
A precluded offense will disqualify you from obtaining your clearance card.
After applying for your clearance card, you’ll likely get a denial letter if you have a criminal history or arrest. You must then ask for a good cause exception to get your fingerprint clearance card.
The Board can grant your good cause exception if:
- They feel you have disclosed your criminal history.
- Supplied all records—so all court documents show that nothing is pending.
- Fulfilled all your sentences, or the charges related to those arrests were dropped.
All of that needs to be in official court documents.
When the Arrest Occurred During the Last Five Years
If the arrest happened within five years, you must supply police reports as well. You also have to give a minimum of two letters of reference and then a personal statement that you’ve taken responsibility for your actions, showing that you have rehabilitated and that these actions will not happen again. If you do all that correctly, you would likely receive a good cause exception.
However, suppose the Board feels like maybe you’re not rehabilitated or possibly some charges or a sentence hasn’t been completed or fulfilled. They will likely send you to a hearing with an administrative law judge in that case.
At that point, you could still obtain your card if the judge makes a finding of fact and conclusion of law that you have been rehabilitated, that nothing is pending, and that you should be granted the card. Once they make that finding, they pass it to the Board of fingerprinting, which accepts, rejects, or amends the judge’s finding. Most of the time, they get the judge’s conclusion and grant you a card.
But again, if you’re not taking responsibility for your criminal history or haven’t taken any tangible steps to rehabilitate yourself, they may deny you a good cause exception. Then, you’re disqualified from getting your fingerprint clearance card.
In summary, once more, you will be disqualified if you have any criminal history considered a precluded offense or if the Board or administrative law judge finds you are not rehabilitated. Or they feel like there is something out there pending. It may be a pending trial, and they’re still determining how it will go. That would disqualify you from getting a good cause exception and your card.
So, that’s it. Again, one more time, reiterate, rehabilitate, and make sure all your documents give a complete picture of the disposition of your case.
Can I Get a Fingerprint Clearance Card in Arizona with a Felony?
Is it possible to get an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card if you have a felony?
It depends, but it is possible.
Now, on the denial letter, it would likely have that felony listed.
Disclosing Felony Records
If it doesn’t, you still have to disclose it. You have a duty to. When you apply for the good cause exception if the arrest for a felony occurred within five years, you must supply the police report of the arrest and court documents. These court documents would state if you were convicted, the charges were dropped, what the court sentenced you to, and if you fulfilled your sentence. You need to explain that nothing is pending, that you have this felony, but everything is handled.
You must also write a statement or have an attorney do that. Just stating that you’re taking responsibility for your actions, you’ve learned from these mistakes, you’ve rehabilitated, and this will not be something that will happen in the future. They will likely grant you your good cause exception if you can complete it.
Or the Board may kick it to a hearing. Suppose that happens, and the Board doesn’t feel there is adequate proof that nothing is pending or that you haven’t been rehabilitated. In that case, you would likely go before an administrative law judge or have an attorney represent you before that administrative law judge in a hearing at the fingerprint board.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
You would then state that there’s nothing pending and that you’ve been rehabilitated. Afterward, the judge will make findings of fact and conclusions of law and decide if you should be granted your card. It will go to the Board. They likely affirm the administrative law judge’s findings but can reject or amend it if they feel differently.
Some felonies or crimes, even misdemeanors, are on a precluded list detailed in the Arizona State statutes. And those say there is no good cause exception for those offenses. To sum it up, any child abuse, sexual crime, or sexual abuse of a minor or an adult. So any adult abuse, or something that’s highly violent—those types of felonies. If they’re on the precluded list, they will not likely grant you a good cause exception. They would probably deny your fingerprint clearance card.
However, if it’s a felony not listed on the precluded offenses and everything is taken care of, they may grant you a good cause exception. Felonies are serious crimes, so you must ensure you handle your application to the best of your ability. Make sure you disclose any other criminal history, even if it’s not on the denial letter, and attach all the documents you need, your personal information, and your letters of reference.
Who Needs an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card?
So, the latest data from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) states that in 2019, around 800,000 people had fingerprint clearance cards.
One would need a fingerprint clearance card because it is statutorily required that some employers make all their employees have one of those cards. To get a fingerprint clearance card, you would apply to DPS, and with your fingerprints, they would do a criminal background check. If something popped up, they would essentially deny it.
Two Types of Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Cards
There are two types of cards.
Level 1 is harder to get and more challenging to keep, and several organizations require Level 1. Most of those would be organizations that involve childcare.
To name a few, anyone applying for a childcare group home license, childcare employees, childcare facilities, contractors, daycare home providers, the Division of Developmental Disabilities employees, so anyone working directly or around children can require the higher-level card.
Now, if you are applying, what could stop you from getting the card?
The Board has several precluded offenses, which means if somebody has a specific criminal conviction in their past, the Board may prevent them from getting a card, meaning they will never get one under any circumstances. There’s no appeal that we could even do for you. That is listed within the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Applying for A Good Cause Exception
They also have a list of offenses that don’t necessarily stop you from getting the card, but you would have to make a good cause exception and then get it granted through the Board of Fingerprinting. There is another scenario where you would have to go through the Board of Fingerprinting for a central registry exception.
There are some similar organizations that, when doing a background check, say someone landed on the central registry through child services. If they have some substantiated abuse claim in their past, they will have to apply for a central registry exception with the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. Then, they would have to have the central registry exception granted before getting employment with that agency.
It’s not a complicated process to get either a good cause or a central registry exception. Most of the time, it’s granted.
The only time where it’s, I guess, a little more complicated is if you have a pending criminal charge or a recent one where you’re still on probation.
Say your license or fingerprint clearance card was suspended or denied because of a recent criminal incident. In that case, the Board will not grant it, most likely during an expedited review, where they decide within 20 days. They’ll forward it to a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Suppose that the judge believes you are not entirely rehabilitated, or there isn’t even a criminal decision. In that case, they may deny it, and then you’d have to reapply once circumstances have changed. So, that’s who needs a card.
Who needs the cards is anyone involving a vulnerable population, and if their employer is required to run the check. There are, as I said, two types of cards. You have Level 1 and just the standard card.