Anyone who faces criminal charges is worried about the potential punishment involved. However, the charges go onto a criminal record, which can follow the convicted around for years, costing you job opportunities, career advancement, a fruitful military career, security clearance, housing options, and lending opportunities.
It’s not typically a situation where the individual handles it. An attorney with experience guiding clients through the expungement or record sealing process can be a tremendous asset. Even after completing the sentence and probation, those convicted in Colorado often do not have the option to have their criminal record sealed or expunged – sealed means that some can still access the record, while expunged destroys the record.
Unsealable and inexpungeable crimes include:
- Sex crimes
- Domestic violence
- Level 1 drug felonies
- Class 1-3 felonies (excepting Class 3 marijuana cultivation)
Crimes that can be sealed:
- Class 4-6 felonies
- Level 2-4 drug felonies
Any dismissed felony charge is automatically sealed. Juvenile offenses and underage drinking and driving convictions can also be expunged if the individual meets certain standards.
Petty offenses have a better chance for expungement
Those convicted in the local county court may be able to get their record sealed or expunged. The process can begin 1 to 2 years after the case concludes. Important factors weighed during the process include:
- The type of crime involved
- The defendant’s age
- When the case was ultimately closed or dismissed
The process for sealing felonies
There is a waiting period before individuals can petition for a felony record seal. Except for Level 2 drug felonies having a five-year wait, other charges can possibly get sealed once it is three years after the case ends.
Putting your past behind you
There are many benefits to sealing or expunging your criminal record, but it all boils down to putting your past indiscretions behind you and reclaiming your individual freedoms. There are exceptions, but the process also allows individuals to deny that they were convicted of a crime.
It should also be noted that getting more serious charges reduced to a sealable or expungable charge is often worth pursuing. Individuals should discuss this strategy with an attorney.