Sealing of Arrest and Criminal Records other than convictions (C.R.S. 24-72-308) in Colorado is not automatic! If you were arrested and never convicted of a crime, if your criminal case was dismissed, or if you went to trial in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, or Jefferson County and were found not-guilty, you still have a record if it was not sealed. This is also true if you pled guilty to a crime and received a deferred judgment and sentence. Record sealing is possible in many cases.
Deferred judgments are sometimes offered by a prosecutor in exchange for a guilty plea. There are always strings attached to the agreement such as payment of restitution, classes, therapy, and not getting into any more trouble for a specific period of time. If a defendant agrees to all the terms, and lives up to his end of the bargain, the case will be dismissed. After the case is dismissed, it will not show a conviction, but the arrest record and the case details will remain on a background check. Any curious person can pay a small fee to have access to your court records.
Today, we received a call from a man that was arrested for Domestic Violence a few years ago in Adams County. He was defending another person and had a good chance of winning at trial. Since he was offered a deferred judgment, and to avoid any risk of a permanent conviction from trial, he took the guilty plea. Eventually his case was dismissed, but he was under the false impression that nobody would ever see his record. Now he and his wife are trying to adopt a child, and he is concerned their application will be denied because he has never requested a record sealing.
Many times employers in Larimer, Weld, or Arapahoe County will not hire people with arrest records. Churches or other non-profit organizations also run background checks before allowing someone to volunteer. Apartment buildings or landlords may also check to see what's in a person's past before renting. Most background checks show arrest and case dispositions as well as convictions. Since there is no way to determine the real reason you were not selected for the job you applied for, it is important to seal your record if at all possible.
After a record is sealed a person "may state that no such action has ever occurred" (C.R.S. 27-72-308(1)(f)(I)). So, if you think you may have a record that is sealable, we recommend you call the O'Malley Law Office, P.C. at 303-731-0719 and talk with one of our attorneys. Together, we can protect your future.