If you live in Colorado, getting your records sealed is much easier than it used to be. Landmark legislation (House Bill 19-1275) made it possible to seal many convictions and other types of criminal justice records that were never eligible for sealing in the past. You can even move to seal multiple convictions in some cases, and the rules allow for the sealing of many types of felonies, not just lower-level offenses. The new law even allows you to get records sealed for some types of sex offenses.
Who is eligible to have their records sealed?
If you have a case that resulted in a complete dismissal, acquittal, or you successfully completed a deferred judgment, then you may be eligible to have your records sealed automatically. This simplified process requires the court to seal your records and is very streamlined. In most of these cases, the prosecution cannot even object. It is your right to have your records sealed.
When can I have conviction records sealed?
The law also allows for the sealing of convictions for many types of offenses. For eligible types of convictions, if you have not been charged with any new crimes after the case you are trying to seal, you can move to have your records sealed after the passage of short waiting periods. Those waiting periods end after your conviction is final or your sentence is complete, whichever happens last. The waiting periods are:
- Petty offenses: 1 year
- Class 2 or 3 misdemeanors: 2 years
- Class 1 misdemeanors: 3 years
- Level 3 or 4 drug felony: 3 years
- Class 4, 5, or 6 felony: 3 years
- All others: 5 years
In addition to having a clean record after the conviction you want sealed, you also must ensure you’ve paid all your fines, costs, and restitution to be eligible. In general, to have conviction records sealed, “the court must determine that the harm to the privacy of the defendant or the dangers of unwarranted, adverse consequences to the defendant outweigh the public interest in retaining public access to the conviction records. In making this determination, the court shall, at a minimum, consider the severity of the offense that is the basis of the conviction records sought to be sealed, the criminal history of the defendant, the number of convictions and dates of the convictions for which the defendant is seeking to have the records sealed, and the need for the government agency to retain the records.” C.R.S. §24-72-706(1)(g).
What are the exceptions?
There are certain convictions that you cannot seal, but careful analysis of each case is necessary to determine eligibility. There is, however, an exception for certain misdemeanors that are normally prohibited from sealing “if the district attorney consents to the sealing or if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the petitioner’s need for sealing of the record is significant and substantial, the passage of time is such that the petitioner is no longer a threat to public safety, and the public disclosure of the record is no longer necessary to protect or inform the public.” C.R.S. §24-72-706(2)(b).
How can we help get your records sealed?
We help people seal their records in all types of cases, which can make a huge difference the next time a standard background check needs to be conducted, whether for work, housing, financing, or any other purpose. You can also move to seal certain municipal convictions as well. Call us today for a free consultation to determine your eligibility to get your records sealed, and to help us formulate the best strategy for putting your past where it belongs—behind you.