In Colorado, a history of criminal activities may be expunged for juveniles. For adults, records of criminal convictions may be sealed according to state law. Expungement indicates that the records have been destroyed, whereas sealing a record only makes the conviction unavailable for viewing by the general public.
For adult convictions, Colorado allows both misdemeanor and felony convictions to be sealed under certain circumstances. A waiting period is required (usually 10 years in Colorado) before a petition to seal the record may be filed.
Additionally, a criminal conviction may be reversed in cases where a mistake was made in the original ruling or when new evidence has become available to establish a defendant’s innocence.
Individuals may file a petition to seal criminal records if:
All charges against them were dismissed
The individual was acquitted
No charges were actually filed in court (only an arrest record remains)
The case was dismissed as a result of a plea bargain agreement AND:
At least 10 years have passed since the final disposition was entered and
The defendant has no further crimes charged against them
A petition for a sealed record is unavailable when:
Fees or other types of restitution are still owed
The conviction was for certain types of crimes related to unlawful sexual conduct
The violation involves a traffic infraction
The fee for filing for a juvenile expungement is $20 per document. Filing fees for sealing adult records are $224. Criminal convictions involving controlled substances require an entirely different set of forms. All forms for expungement and sealing records in Colorado are available at any courthouse or online.
If the petition has successfully been granted by the court, the sealed record may not be accessed by the public without a proper court order (which is generally difficult for the public to obtain). From that point on, the defendant my lawfully indicate in an employment application that the criminal record does not exist.