Did you know that anyone in Colorado is eligible to petition the courts to have their criminal records sealed? If you have a criminal past in the state, you do not have to endure ongoing discrimination and other negative consequences. In fact, even those who never had to mount a criminal defense -- perhaps they were just arrested -- can benefit from the sealing process.
How can I qualify to have my criminal case records sealed?
You must meet specific qualifications to have your criminal charge information sealed. Even those people who faced felonies or other serious violations may be eligible. To qualify, you must have either been acquitted or had your case dismissed. Even if you were never charged -- just arrested -- you can have that information sealed away from public inquiry. If you were arrested and either not charged or your case fell under the relevant statute of limitations, you could be eligible for having your court records sealed.
Why should I consider having my records sealed after facing criminal allegations?
If you do not petition the court to have your criminal records sealed in Colorado, you could face a number of unpleasant consequences. For example, since your records will be publicly available, your employer could find out that you were arrested or charged. This information could also be made available to anyone conducting a background check, including your landlord and other influential decision-makers.
So, how do I get started?
Those who want to have their court records sealed may only submit one petition per 12-month period. It behooves criminal defendants with dismissals, acquittals and even simple arrest records to consider having their records sealed. With the help of your criminal defense attorney, you can protect your future and ensure that you are treated fairly despite previous unfounded allegations.
Source: Colorado Judicial Branch, "Instructions to file a petition to seal arrest and criminal records other than convictions" Oct. 28, 2014