Certain items present on your criminal record in Colorado can be expunged or sealed, but many people assume that you can petition the court to seal or expunge nearly any type of conviction. In truth, people harbor a lot of misunderstandings about the expungement or record sealing process in Colorado. Many have a lot of questions about the process.
Record expungement can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. There are clear answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about record expungement and sealing in Colorado. Read on to find out a few.
Is There a Difference Between Sealing and Expunging?
Expungement and sealing are two phrases used interchangeably, but they are actually two separate actions.
In Colorado, an expungement is when a criminal record is destroyed rather than simply made invisible to public view. It is only available to those arrested as juveniles.
Record sealing doesn’t destroy the record, but it does make it invisible, except to law enforcement.
What Is Record Sealing?
Available to some who committed particular crimes as adults, record sealing is the process by which certain information regarding arrests and charges can be taken off criminal records available to the public. These records are still visible to law enforcement and the courts but not in any public background checks.
In the state of Colorado, you cannot seal or expunge a conviction from a criminal record, even if your sentence has been completed, save a few specific offenses such as petty crimes or municipal violations.
For the most part, record sealing is for those who were arrested for a crime but never charged—or charged and not convicted. If you are successful in your petition to seal those records, you do not have to disclose what happened moving forward.
How Long Does Record Sealing Take?
It can take several months to complete the record sealing process. The usual timeline is anywhere from three to six months.
How Does The Process of Record Sealing Work?
You have to petition the court to seal your records. If it’s determined you qualify and are granted the sealing, your attorney can notify the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and other agencies to initiate the sealing of your records.
How Long After Sealing Will It Be Publicly Reflected?
It can take as long as six weeks for your records to disappear from public searches after the petition has been granted. Keep in mind it takes time for agencies to be notified.
Can an Employer Ask About Sealed Cases When I Interview for Work?
Potential employers cannot ask about sealed cases in interviews or force to disclose any information about a sealed or expunged record. You do not have to disclose previous convictions that have either been expunged or sealed.
Do Plea Deals Require You to Give Up Record Sealing Later?
If you take a plea deal when charged with an offense, under the law, they cannot ask you to give up the right to apply for record sealing later.
Perhaps now you’re interested in having a juvenile record expunged or adult records sealed, or you’d like to find out if you’re eligible. To do either, you should consult with an attorney. It can be a complicated process, but it’s not an impossible one to help you have a brighter future.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.