Expungement

Those who have been arrested, charged, and/or convicted of crimes often want the records of that event to disappear. At law, the process is called expungement or sealing, and in Colorado, it can only happen for certain charges and convictions, and at a certain time. Generally speaking, and with exceptions, expungement of your record, other than basic identification information, may be available:
  • When the arrest was due to mistaken identify
  •  When the arrested person was not charged or convicted or was acquitted
  • For minor offenses, drug crimes, and human trafficking victims 

Expungement is generally not available for most felony convictions, although there are exceptions. 

After records have been expunged, you generally don’t have to disclose the facts that were sealed to anyone – including employers.

Other than for mistaken identity, the process requires court filings and hearings that are best navigated with the assistance of an experienced and skillful attorney.

Mistaken Identity

If you were mistaken for someone else and arrested, and then the law enforcement agency realizes its mistake, within 90 days that agency should start the process for expunging the records of this arrest, and within 90 days of that, the court should order the records sealed – all at no cost to you.

Arrested, Charged, But Not Convicted

With limited exceptions, if you were arrested and/or charged but never convicted of the crime, the records of your arrest, other than basic identification information, can be sealed after a petition is filed. This includes if:

 

  • The case was dismissed.
  • You completed a diversion program.
  •  You were arrested but not charged and the statute of limitations (the time the State has to bring the charges) has expired.
  • You were arrested and not charged, and are no longer being investigated for the crime.
  • You were found not guilty.

 

If you entered a plea agreement in another case and this led to the charges being dropped or dismissed, this could raise a complication to expunge your records that are best discussed with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

 

Convicted of Minor and/or Other Particular Offenses

For many minor offenses, drug crimes, and other particular offenses, expungement is possible. Again, this process requires a motion and court process that is best managed by an experienced attorney because of the complicated laws, rules, and procedures involved.

 

For example, you generally have to wait a while after the criminal matter was decided or supervised release ended before the motion can even be filed, and this time period depends on the offense:

Offense Time to File
Petty offense or drug petty offense 1 year
Class 2 or 3 misdemeanor or drug misdemeanor 2 years
Class 4, 5, 6 felony or level 3 or 4 drug felony or Class 1 misdemeanor or municipal violation 3 years
All other offenses sealable 5 years
Human trafficking victim Anytime
In addition, certain convictions, even though relatively minor, cannot be expunged, including: 
  • Class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses (speeding of 25 mph in a construction zone, racing, careless driving, driving without a license)
  • Class A or B traffic infractions (underage DUI, safety zone violation, driving with an expired license, allowing an unauthorized person to drive)
  • Driving under the influence 
  • Convictions with underlying unlawful sexual behavior
  • Convictions with underlying child and domestic abuse

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Questions about expungement? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.