Having a criminal record can pose numerous challenges, particularly when it comes to securing employment, housing, or pursuing education. Fortunately, in certain cases, Colorado law provides individuals with the ability to seal, or hide, their criminal records from public view. This article will guide you through the steps on how to seal criminal records in Colorado.
What Does it Mean to Seal a Criminal Record?
Sealing a criminal record essentially makes it invisible to the general public. Once a record is sealed, it won’t show up in most background checks, allowing those with sealed records to move on with their lives without being haunted by past transgressions. It’s important to note, however, that sealed records can still be accessed by certain law enforcement agencies and courts.
Eligibility for Sealing Criminal Records
Before you start the process, you need to know if you’re eligible. Not all criminal records can be sealed in Colorado. In general, you may be able to seal your criminal records if:
- You were arrested but not charged with a crime.
- Your case was dismissed.
- You were acquitted at trial.
- You have completed a diversion agreement or deferred sentence.
- It’s been a certain number of years since you completed your sentence for a criminal conviction, and the conviction was for an eligible offense.
Remember, Colorado law excludes certain offenses from being sealed, such as certain types of felonies, any crime involving unlawful sexual behavior, and DUI/DWAI convictions.
The Process of Sealing Criminal Records in Colorado
If you determine that you’re eligible, the following steps will guide you on how to seal your criminal records:
- Obtain Your Criminal History: You need to know the specifics of your case, such as the date of your arrest, the charges filed, the case number, and the outcome of the case. You can obtain this information from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
- Petition the Court: You will need to file a petition with the court requesting to seal your criminal records. This involves completing the appropriate forms, which you can usually find on the Colorado Judicial Branch’s website. You may need to notify any victims and the district attorney’s office about your petition.
- Attend the Hearing (if required): A judge may require a hearing to consider your request. During the hearing, the judge will consider various factors, such as the nature of the crime, your behavior since the conviction, and the public’s right to access the records.
- Order to Seal Records: If the judge grants your petition, they will issue an order to seal your records. This order will be sent to all relevant law enforcement agencies and to the CBI.
Do Not Go At It Alone
Sealing a criminal record in Colorado can be a complex process that requires careful attention to detail. It’s advisable to consult with one of our experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers at Baker Law Group to ensure you’re eligible and to help you navigate the process. Remember, successfully sealing your criminal record can open the door to new opportunities and a fresh start.