Do you have a criminal record?
You may think that the answer to that question should be obvious, but many people have a mistaken notion of how criminal records are created in Colorado.
In this post, we’ll explain what causes you to get a criminal record, how to run a background check on yourself to learn if you’ve got one, and whether you can get your record sealed or expunged.
How You Get a Criminal Record in Colorado
First, let’s clear up the most common myth: you don’t need to actually be convicted to have a criminal record. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you win your case at trial or even if you get the charges dropped or dismissed.
All that needs to occur is a simple arrest. As soon as this occurs, that information goes on your record. It doesn’t matter if you were arrested for a misdemeanor crime like petty theft or trespassing, either. From there on your arrest will appear when someone runs a background check, and it can keep you from enjoying certain rights and privileges.
How to Know If You Have a Criminal Record
If you’re still not sure whether you have a criminal record after reading that, one of the best ways to find out is to run a background check on yourself. It’s easy and convenient to perform a check online. You will need to pay a fee, but you can obtain a background check at any of the following sites:
TruthFinder.com will provide information on criminal records, sex offender registry, contact information, location history, and social media profile data.
PeekYou.com looks at social media and search engines for links about you. You can access some information for free and a full report for cost.
BeenVerified.com is known to be an accurate way to search addresses, relatives, and other information.
Additionally, you can access your credit report through Credit Sesame or Credit Karma to know what your banker, employer, or landlord sees.
How to Get Your Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged
If you have a criminal record, it can have a negative impact on several areas of your life. Here are just some of the ways a criminal record makes your life harder:
- You may not be able to get certain licenses for specific jobs.
- You could be fired from a current job.
- You could be disqualified from applying for certain jobs.
- Your credit could take a hit, which may prevent you from getting loans for housing, education, or vehicles.
- Your landlord may not rent to you, or you may be charged a higher monthly rate or required to pay a higher deposit.
- You could lose your rights to vote, bear arms, or qualify for adopting a child.
Unfortunately, not all criminal acts qualify for sealing or expungement in Colorado. A knowledgeable Denver criminal lawyer will be able to tell you if yours does, then begin the process of sealing or expunging the crime from your permanent record.
If a crime is expunged from your record, it is completely removed and can never be held against you again. If a crime is sealed, only certain members of the legal profession have access to the record for specific purposes, such as if you commit another crime.
Sealing or expunging your record is typically a lengthy process. Your attorney will appeal for eligible sealing or expungement, and you will be required to fill out paperwork on a specific timeline. As the paperwork is approved, you will make gradual progress in cleaning up your criminal record. Once the record is clean, your freedoms can be restored.
About the Author:
Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney. Over the course of his career, Mr. Weeden’s work has been recognized in numerous ways, including being named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers, earning a 10.0 “Suberb” Avvo rating, receiving Martindale-Hubbard’s highest peer review rating — AV Preeminent, and being asked to speak on several issues of interest to the legal community. Additionally, he is someone who cares deeply about his community and those in need, and is an active member of a number of professional legal organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinators.