Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Criminal Record Sealing vs. Expungement

| Jun 16, 2014 | Expungement |

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Let’s start our discussion of this subject by defining some terms which are important in the legal world. “Sealing” occurs in adult criminal cases and “expungement” in juvenile criminal cases. The law favors juvenile expungement over adult sealing of criminal cases.

Adult Sealing General Rules

To be sealable in Denver or Arapahoe County, an adult’s case must have been resolved by 1) no charges being filed, 2) the case being dismissed outright, 3) the successful completion of a deferred judgment and sentence or deferred prosecution, or 4) a conviction for a municipal case after three years; and county court petty offenses after three years. This last set of cases includes the requirement that you not have any convictions since the conviction you are trying to seal.

There are special rules which permit the sealing of some drug possession (not distribution) convictions after a period of time. Most felony sexual offenses cannot be sealed, even following a successful deferred judgment.

Juvenile Expungement (Sealing) General Rules

Our legal system labels juvenile convictions as “adjudications” in Jefferson, Adams and Douglas County. Although there is a rule which says these cases are civil in nature, that label fails to appreciate the effect of an adjudication in the real world. Employers and the public see adjudications for crimes like Sexual Assault on a Child, for example, just as negatively as they do an adult conviction for the same. And, since certain crimes like Sexual Assault cannot be expunged, they will reduce the prospects of a good life forever.

Juvenile cases can be expunged immediately upon 1) a not guilty at an adjudicatory trial; dismissal of the petition; or the successful completion of diversion, a deferred adjudication or informal adjustment. Cases which cannot be expunged include: 1) aggravated juvenile offenders, 20 violent juvenile offenders, 3) direct fling cases, 4) those involving unlawful sexual behavior, and 5) those where restitution has not been paid to a victim.

The Real World on Criminal Records

Employers, landlords and the general public in Park and Fremont County harshly view men and women with a criminal record. Sealing and expungement offer an excellent opportunity to set aside the past and move forward. Although the rules can be complicated, Colorado’s lawmakers have taken many steps to give citizens a second chance. Don’t let your past rule your future.

If you would like to take advantage of Colorado’s laws which permit sealing or expungement of your felony or misdemeanor criminal record, contact one of our record sealing lawyers today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net