Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record in Colorado
Generally, criminal court records, and thus your conviction are public records. Which means that a search of local records could allow a person to find your conviction or arrest without your knowledge. These records are permanent, and do not go away after a period of time. If you were previously arrested and charged with a crime; you may qualify pursuant to Colorado Statutes to seal certain, non-identifying information. This is not an automatic process that occurs after a number of years, it is a request that you must do through the court.
Expungement and Seal Records in Colorado
Currently in Colorado only a juvenile conviction can be expunged. However, there are a number of situations in which a record could be sealed. Many people use the words interchangeably, but they do have different meanings.
Expungement of record – this refers to a process that essentially wipes the slate clean. Expungement refers to the legal process of striking out a criminal conviction or information contained in files relating to criminal charges. The expungement process removes the record and it is not available for anyone to see except law enforcement, excluding the military. Expungement rules are found in Colorado Revised Statute 19-1-306. In Colorado, if a juvenile record qualifies for expungement depends on the classification of crimes and how long it has been since the case was dismissed by the judge. Expungement of a juvenile record is not automatic. You must petition the court to expunge the record. If granted, then and only then is the juvenile record considered expunged.
Seal records – this refers to a process that does not allow a person to see the record through normal channels. The sealed record still exists but cannot be seen without a court order to unseal the record and it can be seen by law enforcement. For example, a private employer would not be able to access the record, but the courts and law enforcement would be able to see the sealed record.
Who Can Seal Records of Criminal Arrests in Colorado
If a person is eligible to seal records of arrest in Colorado, all information, except identifying information is restricted from public access. If you are eligible to seal records in Colorado depends on what happened during the criminal process. Generally, if you are convicted of a crime, meaning you pled guilty or are found guilty, you may not be eligible to seal the record. There are exceptions such as successfully completing diversion or a deferred entry program may not be considered a conviction and thus eligible to seal the record.
You may be eligible to seal records of a criminal matter if you:
- Were acquitted of the charges or found not guilty by a jury
- If the case was dismissed (unless the dismissal was for a plea in another case) If you were arrested and not charged and the statutes of limitations for the potential criminal activity has passed
- If you were arrested and not charged and the statutes of limitations for the potential criminal activity has passed
- If you were convicted of most municipal court violations or a petty offense
- Successful completion of some diversion or deferred entry programs
- Certain drug crimes
A Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney will evaluate your case and provide an analysis of what you may be entitled to, based on the facts, circumstances, and posture, of your case. Being convicted of a crime can impact your life significantly, Ms. Schmidt understands the stigma and consequences of a criminal conviction. She works to ensure all of her eligible clients obtain the full benefits allowable under Colorado law. To determine if you are eligible to seal records or for an expungement, contact us today for a free case evaluation or call use at (303) 747-4686.