When you get arrested for a crime, you receive a criminal record. Unfortunately, even if you beat your charges – or aren’t charged in the first place – that record stays. And it can follow you around for the rest of your life.
Insurance companies, potential employers, and even lenders for a home mortgage, as well as other entities, have access to a person’s criminal history and can make moving forward with them next to impossible.
The state of Colorado offers a solution to those who qualify to remove their records from the public view in a process called criminal record sealing. Yet some records can’t be sealed. Are you eligible? Read on to learn more about criminal record sealing in Colorado and the crimes that cannot be sealed.
What Is Record Sealing in Colorado?
When you seal a criminal record in Colorado, you are hiding your criminal history from public view. It will not appear on background searches done by employers and other similar entities. The only entities that will continue to have access are courts and law enforcement agencies.
As mentioned above, some Colorado criminal records can’t be sealed. This is because the state considers some offenses dangerous to the public and feels people have a right to know if someone’s criminal history includes them.
Crimes that Cannot Be Sealed in Colorado
Numerous convictions cannot be sealed in our state. These include:
Driving While Intoxicated
If you get convicted of driving while intoxicated (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI), your criminal record cannot be sealed. You can only petition the court to seal this type of crime for two reasons:
- You were found not guilty
- Charges against you got dismissed
Most felony convictions cannot be sealed in Colorado, but there are some specific types of crimes that fall into this category that can. Some types of drug convictions can be sealed, such as a Class 6 drug felony, but only if 10 years have passed since you completed the penalties for it and you’ve not committed any other crimes since.
If you have a felony conviction on your record, talk with an attorney about whether you are eligible for record sealing.
When you take a plea deal for a deferred judgment on a charge and a straight plea on another charge that doesn’t have a deferred judgment, you may not be eligible to have your criminal record sealed. Many factors influence this, such as:
- if you waived the right to seal during the plea, and
- the circumstances of your particular case.
If you have a CDL, you may not seal Class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses or Class A or B traffic infractions. This applies to those with commercial learners permits as well.
Record sealing isn’t available in civil cases such as divorce, restraining orders, or monetary judgments. It is only for criminal charges in Colorado.
In many cases where a plea bargain is involved, the prosecution will require the defendant to waive their right to seal their records. If this is the case, you cannot petition the court to seal your records – you’ve given up that right even if it could apply otherwise to your case.
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 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 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 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.