There have been a lot of changes in regards to your ability to seal a criminal record in the State of Colorado over the past year. We have extensive blog posts about these various rules, however, this will be the updated summary of the changes that have been made to sealing records to date. There are three relevant statutes to sealing records.
This sealing law is the most recent addition to Colorado law. This is the most simplified process in sealing your record because it forces the court to do all the leg work instead of you or your attorney. This statue allows you only to seal your record once your case is dismissed. This does not include plea deals, only dismissals, acquittals, and any sort of deferred prosecution that ultimately leads to a dismissal. You can do this in two ways;
1. To ask the judge right there in court to seal your record. The judge will create an order to seal your record. Then you will be told you have to pay a $65.00 sealing fee. This will trigger the court to send the judge’s order to seal your criminal case to the proper channels.
2. If you do not ask for your record to be sealed right in the courtroom, you can file the appropriate paperwork at a later date. Either way, you must pay the $65.00 sealing fee.
This is the most simplified process of sealing your record.
This statute refers to sealing records other than convictions. This statute is very similar to the simplified process above. However, according to this statute, you can not ask for this kind of sealing in the courtroom. This requires you, or your attorney, to file the appropriate paperwork. There are kinds of cases that can be sealed under this statute and others that can not.
Cases that can be sealed under C.R.S. 24-72-702:
1. a criminal offense for which the person of interest completed a diversion agreement,
2. a criminal offense that was not charged and the statute of limitations for the offense has run out,
3. a criminal offense that was not charged and that statute of limitations has not run out but the person is no longer being investigated by law enforcement,
4. a criminal offense in which the case was completely dismissed,
5. or a criminal record where the person was completely acquitted.
6. You may seal records of a case that was dismissed due to a plea agreement if the petition is filed ten years or more after the final disposition date, and
7. the person has not committed any other crime in those ten years.
Cases that can NOT be sealed under C.R.S. 24-72-702:
1. An offense that is not charged due to a plea agreement,
2. a dismissal occurs as part of a plea agreement,
3. if the defendant still owes restitution, fines, court costs, late fees or other fees that are ordered to be paid by the court,
However, even if you do meet some of the above requirement, the court has the final say if the petition will be granted or denied. If the court does not feel you meet the above requirements for any reason, they may deny the petition. The court will have to specify the reason for denial which your attorney might be able to argue against.
If the court decides that the petition is ready for sealing they will set a hearing date. They will then notify all relevant agencies of this hearing date to come and voice any objections they might have. If it is determined that the benefit of allowing you to seal your record outweighs the danger to the community, the court will grant your petition. There is, of course, added fees to seal the record.
This sealing statute outlines the specific rules for sealing a criminal conviction record. It specifically states that when being sentenced, the court will advise you of your rights regarding the sealing of your criminal conviction. This specific statute encompasses a plethora of statutes that relate to different crimes. We will go over them below.
For most of the types of crimes, you may file a petition to seal your conviction record if;
1. the petition is filed after ten or more years from your final contact with the court or any other court entity.
2. you have not been charged or convicted of a criminal offense within those ten or more years.
In regards to charges involving controlled substances between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2011, you may seal your record of;
a) Any petty offense or misdemeanor in violation of a provision of article 18 of title 18 ;
b) Any class 5 or class 6 felony in violation of provision of article 18 of title 18 with the exception of class 5 or 6 felonies for the sale, manufacturing or dispensing of a controlled substance, attempt of conspiracy to commit the sale, manufacturing or dispensing of a controlled substance, or possession with the intent to manufacture, dispense, or sell a controlled substance;
Further statutes outline the specifics for the following crimes. All of these sealing provisions do follow the required ten or more year from your final contact with the court or any other court entity unless otherwise specified.
c) See statute C.R.S. 24-72-704 to see the specific details related to controlled substances that may or may not be sealed between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2011.
d) See statute C.R.S. 24-72-705 to see the specific details related to controlled substances that may or may not be sealed after July 1, 2011.
e) See statute C.R.S. 24-72-706 to see specific details related to victims of human trafficking and people convicted of prostitution.
f) See statute C.R.S 24-72-707 to see specific details related to offenses involving theft of public transportation services.
The final statute, C.R.S. 24-72-708, relays the specifics of sealing petty offenses and municipal offenses for convictions. Sealing records of this nature are a little simpler. For example, you only have to wait three years instead of ten. This does not apply to people who are convicted of a traffic violation while holding a commercial driver’s license.
It is important to remember that the court only has jurisdiction over the government agencies that would have this kind of information. If a private agency somehow gets your personal information and they use it on their personal internet website, the court does not have jurisdiction to compel them to take any of your information down. You may be able to pay them to release the information to you, but, there is nothing that says private companies have to comply with these specific sealing laws. Also, the court can only seal it from the public and can not seal anything from other branches of the government, for example, the FBI.
For more information on sealing your record, view the attached hyperlinks on this blog post. Or, contact M. Colin Bresee, an experienced lawyer, to assess your unique case.
By Shannon Lynch