Getting a criminal record at any age is bad, but it can have especially negative effects on the future of a person who is just starting out in life. Fortunately though, there are solutions for many young people who have gotten in trouble with the law.
In many cases, it's possible to seal a juvenile record, a process known in Colorado as expungement. By accomplishing this, parties outside the justice system such as prospective employers and college admission offices cannot learn about a young person's involvement in a crime, an arrest, or a subsequent conviction. Considering the benefits of getting an expungement, it can be well-worth the time, expense, and effort it takes.
Who is eligible for a juvenile expungement?
Generally speaking, a person can obtain the expungement of a juvenile record if all of the following are true:
- The person has not been declared a juvenile delinquent, or convicted of a sex crime, possession of a weapon, a violent crime, domestic violence, or if the person was charged as an adult.
- There are no pending criminal or juvenile delinquency actions.
- The person has paid all restitution required by the court, or is current on the payment of such restitution.
Underage UDD expungements
A person who was convicted of underage drinking and driving (UDD) and who had blood alcohol content between .02 and .05 can get an expungement, if all of these conditions are met:
- The person is now over the age of 21.
- There has been only one UDD.
- The person has completed the terms of the sentence, including payment of the fine, completion of community service, etc.
- The person has never held a commercial driver's license and was not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense.
Sealings for underage alcohol and marijuana offenses
If the offense involved possession or consumption of alcohol and it occurred before July 1, 2014, a person can get the record sealed if at least one year has passed and there has been no subsequent alcohol possession or consumption offense.
If the offense involved possession or consumption of alcohol or possession of marijuana or paraphernalia after July 1, 2014, a person can get the record sealed if:
- At least one year has passed since the offense.
- The person has obtained a verified record of his or her criminal record that's current as of 20 or more days before the date of the petition to seal.
It must be stressed that getting an expungement or record sealing is at the discretion of the court. Considering the many complex aspects of the law concerning expungement and record sealing, it's best to seek advice and representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.