In many instances, Colorado criminal records and convictions can be sealed. Yet, often, we have to tell nice people that they cannot seal their Denver criminal record or criminal conviction. (Record Sealing, C.R.S. 24-72-308). Some people call us years after their convictions and they are under the impression that Colorado law allows them to seal their record automatically after a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, as the law currently exists in jurisdictions such as Arapahoe, Douglas, and Adams County, that is untrue with most crimes.
Colorado law distinguishes between criminal charges and criminal convictions for record sealing. If you were charged with a crime by the Denver, Aurora, or Westminster police, and those charges were later dismissed, you can seal the record of the charges. This is true whether you were acquitted at trial, the charges were dismissed under a deferred judgment, or the prosecutor declined to prosecute you. However, this is not a process that happens automatically. After the charges are dismissed, they will still appear on your record until you petition the district court in a county like Larimer, El Paso or Grand County, in a new civil law case, to seal your record and the court orders it sealed.
On the other hand, if you plead guilty to a crime (even to a lesser charge) or are convicted at trial, that conviction record cannot be sealed, no matter how old the conviction is. In our opinion, this is truly unfair because people are not only punished for the crime they were convicted of, but also by employers and landlords for having a criminal record. There are a few exceptions to the rule that you cannot seal criminal conviction records, but they are limited to convictions for certain drug offenses relating to possession of controlled substances (Drug Record Sealing, C.R.S. 24-72-308.6). Also, certain charges for traffic offenses cannot be sealed. Any temporary convictions under a deferred judgment for DUI, DWAI, or sexual offenses, cannot be sealed following the deferred, even if the charges were dismissed.
Your record is precious and should protected. If you have been charged with a crime in Jefferson, Weld, or Broomfield County, DO NOT accept a plea bargain until you fully understand how it will affect your record and sealing. It may sound like a good deal, but the conviction could permanently haunt you for the rest of your life. The attorneys at the O’Malley Law Office can advise you about the risks and benefits of any plea offer. So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.