A criminal record can follow you around for life. Every time you apply for housing, apply for a job, or even apply for financial aid, your criminal history can have a negative impact on your future. That’s why many people consider sealing their criminal records in Colorado.
If you’re thinking of having your criminal record sealed in Colorado, then there are a few things you need to know first. Learn what you need to know about giving yourself a clean slate by having your criminal record sealed in the new year.
What Does it Mean to Seal a Criminal Record?
When you are arrested or convicted of a crime in Colorado, you have a criminal record. These types of records are usually available to the public through background checks performed through the internet.
Making Your Criminal History Invisible
When you seal your criminal record in Colorado, what you are doing is making it impossible for your criminal record to come up in these types of public background searches. It basically makes your criminal record invisible.
The Types of Cases That Can Be Sealed
Not every criminal record in Colorado can be sealed, though. In general, you can pursue sealing your criminal records in these circumstances:
- The case against you was dismissed
- You were acquitted of charges
- You successfully completed a diversion program
- You were arrested but not charged in court and the statute of limitations to be charged has run out
- You have paid all restitution, court fees, late fees, fines, or any other court-ordered feeds related to your case
Crimes That May Not Be Sealed
It’s also important to understand that not all crimes are eligible for record sealing. If you were convicted of these crimes, then you cannot pursue this option:
- Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanor traffic crimes
- Class A and Class B traffic infractions
- Deferred judgments or sentences for unlawful sexual behavior
- Deferred judgments or sentences for commercial driver’s license holders
- Deferred judgments for DWAIs, DUIs, or DUI per se
How To Seal a Criminal Record
If you want to inquire about sealing your Colorado criminal record, then you should contact an attorney. They’ll help you understand if you’re eligible and the process required to get it done.
The court must be petitioned to seal a criminal record. On the Colorado Judicial Branch website, you can find the forms required to petition the court.
There is a filing fee associated with it, but if you cannot afford to pay it, then you can also file the motion without payment by completing a Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit.
Steps in the Record Sealing Process
The process will require you to:
- Obtain all criminal records, arrest records, and associated tracking numbers
- Fill out the forms required by the state
- File the case
- Wait for the court to set a hearing or to find out that they have denied your request
You can expect records sealing to several months, usually about 30 to 60 days from the time you submit the paperwork for the court to respond. If it is approved, then your attorney can send the order to the applicable agencies to have your records sealed.
Arrests and charges can have a big impact on your future, no matter how insignificant the charges may have been at the time. Petitioning the court takes time and is a process that can be complicated to understand – but not impossible.
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.