How to Seal Criminal Records in Colorado

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 18, 2016

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ColoradoColorado has recently changed its laws regarding sealing criminal records that are not related to convictions in the state.

Those who meet designated requirements can now request to have their criminal records sealed immediately. The request can be made informally in open court during dismissal or acquittal to expedite the process.

If you have already gone to court and received an acquittal or dismissal, you can follow government instructions to file a formal petition with the respective District Court to seal your arrest and criminal records. The formal process for sealing records usually takes several months to complete, so it’s best to take swift action to seal your criminal or arrest record in the state of Colorado.

In order to seal your records in Colorado, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Your case has been completely dismissed
  2. You are acquitted of all charges
  3. You have completed a diversion agreement or a deferred judgment and sentence
  4. You have an arrest record but you were not charged

You also must pay the necessary fees to cover the costs of the sealing process.

Sealing Records in Colorado FAQ

What happens when I request to seal my records?

If you make an informal request in court before the judge, he or she will decide whether or not to seal your records. If your request is granted, the court will promptly process the request and order all relevant agencies, such as the District Attorney, local law enforcement and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, to seal your record. You’ll also have to pay a $65 processing fee.

Should you submit a written request to seal your records, all related agencies will be notified of your request, including the county law enforcement agency, the District Attorney and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. If these agencies do not object, the petition may be granted without any hearing required. However, if there are one or more objections to the request, you may be required to attend a hearing.

What happens if my request is denied?

You will be notified by the court. You can submit a request to seal your court case once every 12 months.

What records cannot be sealed?

Even if you meet the necessary requirements, there are still some circumstances that may prevent you from having your records sealed, including:

  1. Your record relates to a dismissal that occurred as part of a plea agreement in a separate case (less than 10 years ago).
  2. You have outstanding restitution, fines, court costs, late fees, or other fees associated with your case.

In addition, the following types of records cannot be sealed:

  1. Records pertaining to class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses. Reckless driving, driving 25 mph over the posted speed limit, and failing to report an accident are just some examples of class 1 and class 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses in Colorado.
  2. Records pertaining to a class A or class B traffic infraction. Failing to pay a toll, driving with an expired license or without a license, and driving with expired registration are some examples of class A and B traffic infractions.
  3. Records pertaining to a deferred judgment and sentence for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior (i.e. sexual assault, indecent exposure, etc.).

Sealing vs expunging records: Are my records expunged?

Sealing records is not the same thing as expunging records. Expungement means your records are destroyed. If your case gets sealed, law enforcement, the court and criminal justice agencies can still access your records; however they will not be visible to the public.

Please note: This advice relates to cases other than criminal convictions. For more information regarding sealing criminal drug convictions in Colorado, visit the Colorado Judicial Branch’s website.

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