Though it can be difficult to keep your criminal charges private in Colorado, under certain conditions, it is possible.
Colorado Criminal Records and Privacy
As you know, a criminal record can negatively affect your life in a variety of important ways and prevent you from acquiring employment and housing, admittance to colleges and universities, denial of certain professional licenses, loan denials, and a compromised reputation.
Before the internet, complex bureaucratic hurdles had to be jumped to get access to a person’s criminal history. But these days, almost anyone can search your name through both private companies and government agencies that allow the public easy access to damaging, embarrassing information.
Every detail of any arrest, the specific criminal charges, court hearing dates, and case resolution can be found by anyone, even when you’ve been found not guilty or your charges were dismissed.
For good or bad, depending upon your perspective, Colorado allows almost complete public access to criminal court records. Though it’s unfair, any person with access to the internet can review your records and use the information to discriminate against you.
However, though challenging, there are some ways to keep your records from an employer, university, financial institution, landlord, licensing agency, and the public from learning your history.
Fortunately, under certain conditions, if you do not have any criminal convictions in Colorado, there are ways to have your record(s) cleared from the public eye.
Sealing A Criminal Record in Colorado
It is usually not possible to expunge or seal your conviction from a criminal record in Colorado. This holds true even if you have completed probation. However, there are exceptions for municipal violations, petty offenses, crimes involving controlled substances, and a few others.
If you were arrested and released without ever being charged with a crime, or if you were arrested and charged with a crime but never convicted, in either of these cases, you could potentially have your record sealed. After you have sealed your record, it will be as if your arrest or charge never occurred, with respect to records only, of course. In general, you will not have to disclose this information in the future if you wish not to.
Criminal Records in Colorado if You Were Not Convicted
You may petition to have your record sealed if:
- you were arrested but not charged with a crime and the CO statute of limitations has run
- you were arrested but not charged with a crime and you are no longer being investigated
- the case against you was dropped
- you completed a diversion program
- you were never found guilty of the charges brought against you
There are a few exceptions to this rule. If you weren’t charged because of a plea agreement or if you have failed to meet all of the conditions in your sentence, your record will not be sealed. This is unless you wait ten years after the disposition of your case to apply.
You cannot have been charged of any other crimes in this ten-year period in order for this to apply.
Sealing isn’t possible for any record concerning:
- Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses
- Class A or Class B traffic infractions
- Convictions for driving under the influence
- Convictions for offenses of unlawful sexual behavior
- Convictions involving any owner or a commercial driver’s license
If you were arrested as a result of mistaken identity, or you were thought to be someone else but not charged with a crime, then your record is eligible for expungement.
Within 90 days after your arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency must file an expungement petition with the court, stating that your arrest was due to a mistaken identity and that charges were never filed.
The court must then expunge the record within 90 days of filing.
Attorney Jeff Weeden On Sealing Records
Colorado laws regarding sealing records and deferred sentence agreements are complex and, to a non-attorney, can be confusing. To most efficiently and effectively make your records private or erase them altogether, it’s important to access the experience, knowledge, and skills of Colorado defense attorney Jeff Weeden.
With over 13 years of experience exclusively focused on defending good people who’ve made mistakes or those wrongly accused of a crime, attorney Weeden passionately fights to protect the Constitutional rights of Coloradoans.
As your neighbor, attorney Jeff Weeden is genuinely concerned about the people who share our beautiful state and provides vigilant, dedicated representation throughout Adams, Arapahoe, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Morgan, Weld counties and beyond.