There always seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding the current state of the law in Colorado that is passed by word of mouth. And many people with a criminal record may have heard that it is possible to seal and expunge their criminal records. After committing an offense or being falsely accused, many people would like a second chance in the form of a sealed record. But how does it work, and what does it mean to have your record expunged?

 

What is the Difference between Expungement vs Sealed Records?

A sealed record is the same thing as expunging your records. Essentially, it is the ability to remove or strike out information that is contained on computers and databases that store your records. But you need to fully understand what this means, because the records don’t vanish completely. However, even though the data still exists, that information is sealed and cannot be used or accessed civilly by general law enforcement personnel. There are some special circumstances that will allow legal entities to access the information that was sealed, but this typically requires special authorization or a court order.

Can Anyone Get Their Records Expunged?

No, not everyone is eligible to get there records expunged—there are many caveats and stipulations. Firstly, know that you are eligible to expunge your criminal records if you were not convicted. The following outlines some basic criteria that need to be met in order to be eligible for expungement:

  1. You were not legally charged with a crime even though you were arrested.
  2. Your case was dismissed.
  3. You were legally charged for an offense, but you were found to be innocent.
  4. You have met all the requirements of a sentence regarding a controlled substance.

You should note, however, that any plea agreements would negate your eligibility. Furthermore, there are certain circumstances that bar eligibility such as:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol with exception to a UDD first-time conviction
  2. Class A and B traffic infractions
  3. Class 1 and 2 traffic offenses that qualify as misdemeanors
  4. Convictions concerning sexual behavior that was deemed unlawful

What Information Becomes Sealed?

There are a variety of types of information that can become expunged such as data from a correctional program, court records, and records of law enforcement and criminal justice organizations. This information usually pertains to the manner and date of your apprehension, arrest, and the details of your trial among other pieces of information. However, some pieces of information cannot be sealed such as civil lawsuits and other records such as the deed to a property.

How to See if You Qualify

The best thing to do to find out if you qualify is to seek legal counsel. This is just a high level overview of the expungement process, and there are many other unique circumstances that can potentially qualify for expungement. In the end, you will be much better off if you have an experienced attorney guiding you through the process.

Contact Rogers & Moss for your free, no-risk, consultation.