September 19, 2023
Everyone makes mistakes. Especially when we’re young, figuring out who we are and learning about the world. What no one wants is the mistakes of their wayward youth to follow them around when they become adults.
That’s why a bill that Governor John Hickenlooper signed in May is so important.
Co-sponsored by state Representative Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and state Senator John Cooke, R-Weld County, the bill makes it easier for juveniles to have their criminal records expunged for certain low-level offenses, such as stealing or selling drugs.
According to the new law, criminal records will be immediately expunged
- If the juvenile is found not guilty;
- If the case is dismissed; or
- When the juvenile completes the imposed sentence.
Repeat offenders, however, and juveniles who commit violent crimes – such as homicide or vehicular homicide – won’t be able to get their records expunged.
Hickenlooper believes the new law will help put juveniles on a better path, saying, “Whenever you address an issue like this you run the risk that people are going to say, ‘You’re soft on crime; you don’t care about public safety.’ In truth, it’s just the opposite. A bill like this allows us to give kids a real chance to figure things out.”
Bottom line? If you were convicted or charged with a juvenile crime, it’s now more possible than ever to have your criminal record expunged. Let’s look at what qualifies for expungement and how you can get this process started.
What Qualifies for Juvenile Expungement in Colorado?
Your juvenile record might be eligible for expungement if
- You were not convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense;
- You were not adjudicated for another juvenile offense;
- There are no criminal or juvenile delinquency proceedings pending against you;
- You have been rehabilitated; and
- Expunging the record is in the best interest of you and the community.
Your juvenile record is ineligible for expungement if
- You were an aggravated or violent juvenile offender;
- You committed an offense that would be classified as an adult crime of violence;
- You committed an unlawful sexual offense; or
- You were charged, as a juvenile, by the direct filing in the district court of an information or indictment, unless you were sentenced as a juvenile in the same matter.
When Can I Apply for Juvenile Expungement?
If you were found not guilty, you can apply for expungement immediately. Otherwise, you can apply for expungement:
- One year from the date of law enforcement contact that did not result in any further action against you;
- One year after completing probation;
- Three years after your release from parole;
- Three years after you’re released from your commitment to the Department of Human Services;
- Five years after your probation or parole release if you were adjudicated a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender and haven’t violated any other criminal laws; or
- At any time if you were convicted of a prostitution-related offense.
How Can I Apply for Juvenile Expungement?
Applying for juvenile expungement requires you to fill out a number of forms, in detail, order your records, file your case with the court, and then participate in a hearing to determine if your expungement is granted.
If you want to ensure that you go through the expungement process properly and give yourself the best chance at success, reach out to an experienced Colorado defense attorney who will help you keep the past in the past.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.