If you have been convicted of a criminal offense in Colorado, you may have found that it has become increasingly difficult to find employment, secure housing or even get a loan. Having a criminal record can make many aspects of your life more difficult, but it is important to remember that you may have options. Under limited circumstances, it is possible to seek an expungement or request to have your record sealed.
Colorado uses both methods, but only for those who meet certain criteria.
The difference between expungement and record sealing is that expungement will destroy all records related to the crime and sealing will prevent most people from accessing your records. Generally, only law enforcement and criminal justice agencies would be able to access your files once they have been sealed; however, it is possible for them to be unsealed. If you are granted an expungement, the records will cease to exist—meaning that no one could prove that they were actually ever there.
Understanding the Requirements for Expungement
In Colorado, only certain offenses will be eligible for expungement or sealing. Most juvenile records are eligible for expungement, but you must meet certain requirements. This includes being acquitted of the charges, going through a juvenile diversion program and staying out of trouble with the law. If you were convicted of an aggravated or violent juvenile offense, however, you will not be eligible. If you were charged with a criminal offense as an adult, expungement or sealing would only be available if:
- Your charges were dismissed / you were acquitted
- It has been 10 years since the charges were filed
- Formal charges were not actually filed with the court
- The case was dismissed through a plea agreement
Criminal Offenses that Cannot Be Expunged or Sealed
If you were arrested for a crime as an adult, but not convicted, you may be eligible for expungement or sealing after 10 years have elapsed. One of the only exceptions to this rule is if you were convicted of an offense involving a controlled substance and you have satisfied all conditions of your sentence. Eligible drug offenses include Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 misdemeanors, and Class 5 and Class 6 felonies. The amount of time you will be required to wait will be determined by the severity of the drug offense.
In Colorado, sealing is not possible for records concerning:
Petitioning to Destroy Biological Evidence
According to Colorado Revised Statutes § 16-23-105, it is possible to have DNA evidence or other biological substance records destroyed if samples were collected while you were being investigated for a crime that were you later acquitted of. More specifically, you can petition to have this evidence expunged if your charges were dismissed, you were acquitted at trial or the charges resulted in a non-felony conviction. However, this would not apply if you were charged with a separate offense.
Find Out How Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC Can Assist You
Are you interested in having your criminal record sealed or expunged in Colorado Springs, CO? If so, you should waste no time in contacting the team at Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC. I have been working in the field of criminal justice for more than 15 years, and I even have experience as a former prosecutor. Schedule a free consultation with my office today to find out how I can assist you.
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