Can I seal my criminal record?
If there is no conviction, then generally, yes. This means that every charge in the case was dismissed or won at trial. In some personal use drug cases, a conviction can be sealed. Sealing is a creature of statute, so things change over time. It may be that what can be sealed today, cannot be sealed next year. But, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar is trying to expand sealing of records. We hope to add to the convictions that can be sealed soon.
Often times, a person will plead guilty to a deferred sentence. A deferred sentence is where you plead guilty, but are not sentenced. You agree to stay out of trouble for the duration of the deferral and complete classes or community service. At the end of the deferred sentence, the guilty plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed. At that time, the case can be sealed. But this is only if all charges in the case are dismissed. The split plea, where one charge is a conviction and the more serious is a deferred sentence, does not allow for the case to be sealed.
Forms can be found here but I would recommend hiring an attorney for this process. The first time I did it, it was quite difficult. Also, if you do it wrong, then your records are still out there and you have wasted your time and money.
Adult sealing information:
- How do I know if my case is eligible to be sealed?
- Please see the instructions or review Colorado Revised Statues listed below:
- Sealing of Arrest and Criminal Records: 24-72-308
- Sealing of Criminal Conviction Records: 24-72-308.5
- Sealing Underage Drinking and Driving: 42-4-1715
- Sealing Underage Alcohol: 18-13-122(10)
24-72-308. Sealing of arrest and criminal records other than convictions
(1) (a) (I) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraphs (II) and (III) of this paragraph (a), any person in interest may petition the district court of the district in which any arrest and criminal records information pertaining to said person in interest is located for the sealing of all of said records, except basic identification information, if the records are a record of official actions involving a criminal offense for which said person in interest was not charged or entered into a diversion agreement pursuant to section 18-1.3-101, C.R.S., and the statute of limitations for the offense for which the person was arrested that has the longest statute of limitations has run, in any case which was completely dismissed, or in any case in which said person in interest was acquitted.
(II) Except as provided in subparagraph (III) of this paragraph (a), arrest or criminal records information may not be sealed if:
- (A) An offense is not charged due to a plea agreement in a separate case;
- (B) A dismissal occurs as part of a plea agreement in a separate case; or
- (C) The defendant still owes restitution, fines, court costs, late fees, or other fees ordered by the court in the case that is the subject of the petition to seal criminal records, unless the court that entered the order for restitution, fines, court costs, late fees, or other fees has vacated such order.
(III) A person in interest may petition the district court of the district in which any arrest and criminal records information pertaining to said person in interest is located for the sealing of all of said records, except basic identification information, if the records are a record of official actions involving a case that was dismissed due to a plea agreement in a separate case, and if:
- (A) The petition is filed ten years or more after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the person in interest; and
- (B) The person in interest has not been charged for a criminal offense in the ten years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the person in interest.
24-72-308.5. Sealing of criminal conviction records information for offenses involving controlled substances for convictions entered on or after July 1, 2008, and prior to July 1, 2011
(1) Definitions. For purposes of this section, "conviction records" means arrest and criminal records information and any records pertaining to a judgment of conviction.
(2) Sealing of conviction records. (a) (I) Subject to the limitations described in subsection (4) of this section, a defendant may petition the district court of the district in which any conviction records pertaining to the defendant are located for the sealing of the conviction records, except basic identifying information, if:
- (A) The petition is filed ten or more years after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction, whichever is later; and
- (B) The defendant has not been charged or convicted for a criminal offense in the ten or more years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against him or her or the date of the defendant's release from supervision, whichever is later.
Juvenile cases can be sealed or expunged.
Expungement of Juvenile Records: 19-1-306
You are eligible to Petition for an expungement order:
- Immediately, if you were found not guilty at trial.
- After one year, if you were given a ticket or were arrested, but no further action was taken; or you completed a juvenile diversion program or informal adjustment.
- After four years, if the Court has terminated jurisdiction; or you were unconditionally released from commitment to the department of human services; or you were unconditionally released from parole supervision.
- After ten years, if you have been adjudicated a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender, and the Court has terminated jurisdiction or you are unconditionally released from parole supervision, whichever date is later.
You are not eligible to Petition for an expungement order if:
- You were adjudicated for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior as defined in §16-22-102(9), C.R.S.; or
- You were adjudicated an aggravated juvenile offender; or
- You were adjudicated a violent juvenile offender; or
- You were adjudicated for an offense that would be a crime of violence if committed by an adult; or
- You were charged by the direct filing of an indictment or information in district court as a juvenile and you received an adult sentence.