My Colorado Case Got Dismissed, But What About My Record?

When most people think of criminal records, they think they come about by being arrested, charged, and ultimately found guilty of a crime. However, that’s not entirely accurate.

While it is true that you will have a criminal record after being found guilty of a crime, you also will have a criminal record if:

  • you are arrested but not charged
  • you are arrested and and charged, but later have the charges against you dismissed or you’re acquitted at trial

This is a big deal because it can impact future opportunities.

If you were arrested and charged with a crime but the case against you was ultimately dismissed, you need to understand the importance of having your criminal record sealed in Colorado. Read on to find out what you need to know.

What Is Sealing or Expungement in Colorado?

In Colorado, expungement refers to the court process for sealing juvenile records, while sealing refers to a similar process for adult criminal records.

When an adult criminal record gets sealed, it still exists but will not be accessible to the public. So, once an adult criminal record gets sealed in Colorado, public background checks will not see it – only law enforcement and the courts will have access to it, as do professional licensing agencies. You don’t have to disclose sealed criminal records on an application for housing or employment.

Who Can Have Their Records Sealed?

Not everyone is eligible to have their criminal records sealed in Colorado.  The courts must consider several factors and review your eligible to seal your case.  They will look to see if charges were filed, dismissed, or if you were acquitted. They will determine what kind of offense occurred and how long it’s been since a conviction (if there was one).  There are certain charges and types of charges that cannot be sealed.  For example, people are not eligible to seal any domestic violence charge or child abuse charge, no matter if the conviction is a low-level misdemeanor or a felony conviction.  Also, people cannot seal any type of traffic conviction, no matter what the charge was.  The types of convictions are statutorily ineligible to be sealed.

If your case did not result in a conviction (no were charges filed, the case was dismissed, or you were acquitted at trial), you are immediately eligible to petition to seal your matter.  If you plead guilty and received a deferred sentence, you are immediately eligible to seal your matter once the deferred sentence is dismissed.  If you plead guilty or were convicted at trial, you can potentially be eligible to seal your conviction once you are no longer on probation or you have completed your sentence.  However, a waiting period will apply before you are eligible, and this time period will be determined by the severity of your conviction.  It’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney if you have any questions about your eligibility.

Colorado SPrings Expungement Attorney

How Are Records Sealed in Colorado?

If the charges against you get dismissed, having a criminal record sealed in Colorado is relatively straightforward. If charges are filed against you but ultimately dismissed or you were acquitted, you can go through a simplified process in Colorado to have your criminal records sealed.

At the end of the case, the judge should be asked to seal the record. You can also file a motion to ask the court to do so. Typically, this doesn’t require you to fill out a petition to get it sealed and get a copy of your records for the court – it can typically be done all at once while in front of the judge and can happen immediately.

However, some offenses may fall under the crime victims act. This means the district attorney is legally obligated to notify the victim of the sealing.

If your records aren’t sealed at dismissal, you can file a motion directly with the court.


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.