Colorado is one of the states that allow expungement for those arrested or convicted of some crimes. Also known as expunction, this court-ordered process involves sealing or setting aside a criminal conviction. Expunging your criminal record can be a tremendous help for those trying to start over, get a job, find rental housing, accreditation, get a loan, or achieve other goals that involve a background check. For example, those with an expunged record can fill out a school application and legally claim that they did not commit a crime if it was expunged.
But is it really gone?
Most organizations will find no evidence of the expunged conviction, but law enforcement, criminal courts and government agencies will still see it. Obviously, this could impact sentencing for crimes committed after the expunged conviction. Agencies that handle immigration and deportation will also see the expunged conviction or charge.
Who qualifies for expungement?
Expungement is not always an option. Moreover, the case must be dismissed or closed (including serving your sentence, probation and addressing any penalties) before seeking to expunge your record. Certain crimes may have time limits after the case is closed before you can apply for expungement. Those who are acquitted or have their case dismissed after an arrest can request to have their case expunged.
Crimes not eligible for expungement include:
- Misdemeanors class 2-1
- Level 1 drug felonies
- Felonies class 3-1
- Sex crimes
- Domestic violence crimes
- Any crimes that involve a commercial driver’s license
- Traffic infractions class A-B
Expungement for juvenile arrests or convictions involving defendants under age 18 is generally allowed, particularly if the charge is underage drinking or driving convictions. Applicants cannot have extremely violent crimes or felony sex crimes expunged even if the defendant was a minor.
The length of the expungement application process can range from several days to several months. If the expungement was initially denied, the applicant will then need to wait a period of time before reapplying. The timeline depends upon the court and the nature of the crime.