Can criminal records be expunged in Colorado?

Learn how to clear your criminal record in Colorado. Discover what can be cleared from a record and how the process works.

Sometimes a person gets his or herself into a bad situation and ends up being arrested or charged with a crime. This can haunt a person for the rest of his or her life. It can stop people from being able to get jobs, find a place to live and even help out at their child's school. For this reason, Colorado has made it so some people may be able to seal certain criminal records.

Clearing a criminal record

The process of clearing a criminal record differs from state to state. Terms related to clearing a record also vary. In Colorado, only juveniles can have a criminal record expunged, according to the Colorado Legislative Council. Adults can have records sealed.

There are exceptions for who qualifies to have records sealed. Vehicle related cases and sexual related cases cannot be sealed nor can cases that still have unpaid fines and court costs or other money is still owed on them. Having a record sealed can be done by anyone who has an arrest record even without actual charges having been filed, had a case against them dismissed or in some circumstances by people who have been convicted of a crime.

It is important to note that sealing a record does not mean it goes completely away. That would be what happens in expungement, which is only open to minors. Sealing a record still makes it accessible to law enforcement, courts and any agency that is required by law to conduct a criminal background check.

In most cases, a person must wait until ten years after he or she has completed the court sanctioned requirements, such as probation or jail time, or after the case has been dismissed before being eligible to have his or her record sealed. In addition, the person must have a clean criminal record since then. The ten-year waiting period may not apply to some drug charges.

Steps to take

A person who wants to seal his or her criminal record must first file a petition with the court, along with any required fees, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch. This must be done in the county in which the criminal conviction, arrest or situation occurred in. The filing and court process may differ for those who have an actual conviction on their record.

Trying to clear a criminal record of any type can be difficult. The law is very specific, making the process somewhat confusing at times. If you need assistance, you might want to contact Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C.