The New Year allows a lot of people to get a fresh start and move forward with their lives in a direction of their choosing. Unfortunately, people with criminal records don’t always feel that they have similar opportunities. Past arrests, charges, or convictions may turn off landlords, financial institutions, or employers who could help former offenders get that new start they crave.
What’s the solution? Getting your record sealed.
Studies from Stanford University show that the benefits of expungement and criminal record sealing outweigh the costs by over $5,800 in just one year. People with sealed records can lift themselves out of situations that necessitate government benefits and earn money from higher-paying jobs. This, in turn, encourages more spending and increased tax payments that benefit the local community.
Don’t let 2019 pass you by. If you qualify for expungement, it’s time to take your first steps and start working toward a life with more opportunities.
If you have questions about this process, do not be afraid to reach out to a Colorado criminal defense lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can help you determine whether or not you qualify and help you through every step of the process until your record is clean.
Learn If You Qualify
Even if you were never convicted of a crime, arrests or charges may still appear on your criminal record and hold you back. Employers and landlords are far more likely to choose someone with a “clean” record over someone who just has a single mark on their record.
If you only have arrests or charges on your criminal record, you will most likely qualify for criminal record expungement. Convictions may be expunged after you have served your sentence, maintained a clean record, and have waited a certain number of years. Read more about whether or not you qualify for expungement in Colorado.
Fill Out the Appropriate Forms
The Colorado Judicial Branch website has a list of forms that you need to fill out in order to apply for expungement. You must deliver these forms to the local District Court (unless you are a juvenile, in which case you must deliver the forms to the Juvenile Court.) If you have a criminal record that contains charges related to controlled substances, be careful about which forms you fill out – there are separate forms for this type of case.
Attend a Hearing
Once the application has been viewed by the courts, you will receive a letter in the mail with an update. The State of Colorado may request a hearing to bring up any objections to your expungement. It is crucial that you appear in court to show the judge that you deserve a fresh start. If you completed your sentence and haven’t caused any trouble since, this hearing may not take very long.
If there are no objections, your application will be accepted, and you can check expungement off your list of New Year’s Resolutions. It may take between one to three months before the record is officially sealed, so it is important to take the appropriate actions today. Remember, an expungement today is the first step in getting the job of your dreams or a loan to go back to school tomorrow.
We wish you a happy and prosperous 2019, and are ready to assist you with any help that you may need to get a fresh start in the New Year.
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.