Getting your criminal record sealed can open up whole new worlds to you. Employers and housing can legally discriminate against people with criminal records, so sealing yours can be life-changing.
There’s very little in the legal system that’s simple, though, and sealing a criminal record is no different. To get your record sealed, you’ll need to take the following seven steps.
1. Obtain the Records
In order to get your records sealed in Colorado, the first step is to get copies of your records in the first place. Your criminal records are typically held within the police department that made the arrest. You can contact that department directly and request copies of your records.
You should ask for at least three copies since you will be sending one to the courts and keeping a minimum of one copy for your own records. It may take a week or two to receive them.
2. Get Your Criminal History Report
Your criminal history report is different from your criminal record. This is the state’s copy of your entire criminal history.
If you’ve been arrested or convicted multiple times, this report will include all incidents, not just one. You can find your criminal history on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation website in minutes.
3. Complete the Appropriate Petition Forms
Completing your petition to seal form is typically the most confusing part of the record-sealing process. There are multiple forms you may need to fill out in Colorado.
Ther forms are different depending on whether you were a minor when you committed an offense, whether the offense was drug or alcohol-related, and what specific part of your record you want to be sealed, for instance.
4. File the Correct Petition with the Appropriate Court
Filing the petition is simple. Take the completed forms and copies of your criminal history and criminal record to the appropriate court. This is the court where your trial was first held. They will have a submission desk where you can turn in the petition.
5. Wait for the Court to Review the Petition
Courts are quite busy throughout Colorado. It can take up to six weeks for the court to review your petition. When they have reviewed it, they will do one of three things:
- Approve your petition
- Deny your petition
- Set a hearing date for more information
If they set a hearing date, you will need to attend to argue your case. A qualified attorney can help you have a smooth hearing and a better argument for sealing your records.
6. Send Orders to Seal Your Record to Appropriate Agencies
If the court approves your petition, then the judge will issue an order to seal. You can then send copies of this order to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the police departments with your records on file, and anywhere else that might have your criminal record.
7. Have Rights Restored
In another six weeks, you should see your criminal record disappear. As a result, you’ll have your rights fully restored. You will regain rights like the ability to own a firearm, the right to vote nationwide, and even the right to hold office.
Furthermore, you’ll no longer have a criminal record on background checks, so you will be able to find jobs and housing much more easily.
A criminal record is a serious thing. By sealing your criminal record, you’re making your life easier for decades to come. If you want to seal your record, reach out to a qualified Colorado attorney today for help with the sealing process.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.