December 9, 2023
For anyone with a criminal record, having a background check done to get a new job or secure a new apartment can be quite stressful. Background checks will show any criminal convictions and even arrests that have taken place, which can be a barrier for some people when it comes to finding a new job or getting a new place to live.
Thankfully, for many people, there is a legal remedy to this problem: record sealing or expungement. There are many benefits to getting your record sealed or expunged in Colorado, so it may be a great way to start the new year.
Here’s what you need to know about criminal record sealing and expungement in Colorado and what you can do to take advantage of it.
The Difference Between Expunging and Sealing Records in Colorado
When someone’s record is expunged, that means that the record for all intents and purposes no longer exists. It cannot be accessed by anyone once it is expunged. Your criminal history will not show up on any background check.
A record sealing, on the other hand, means the record still exists and can be accessed by law enforcement. It will not show up on background checks done by the public, but still can for certain government agencies.
Who Is Eligible for Sealing and Expunging Their Records?
While most people would prefer a record expungement, not everyone is eligible for it in Colorado. In fact, only juvenile criminal records can be expunged in our state. Even then, not all juvenile crimes are eligible. Any crime that had aggravating factors or was violent cannot be expunged.
However, there are many types of crimes that can be sealed in Colorado. A conviction for petty offenses, arrest records, and certain drug crimes may all be eligible. However, it is a complicated process that is best left up to an attorney to handle. An experienced lawyer can tell you if you are eligible and what steps must be taken to have your record sealed.
Also, a certain amount of time must pass before anyone can have their criminal record sealed or expunged. How much time depends on what you are trying to expunge or seal. For example, an arrest can be sealed immediately if there was no conviction for a crime, but other crimes may have to wait as long as five years to have the record sealed.
What Are the Benefits of Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records in Colorado?
Let’s face it, criminal convictions and records have a detrimental impact on a person’s life. A record that has been expunged or sealed means that you don’t have to disclose what you may have on your criminal record during a job interview or house hunt, which are major benefits.
Once it’s been expunged or sealed, you are not legally required to mention it when someone asks if you’ve been convicted of a crime. You basically get to start over fresh and will have new opportunities available to you as a result.
Record expungement and sealing take some effort to get done, but it’s worth it, in the end, to get a new lease on life and leave mistakes in the past where they belong. If you are interested in having your record expunged or sealed, or you’re simply curious as to whether you are eligible, then start working toward it today.
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 recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.