Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
Once your criminal record gets sealed, you can lawfully say in job interviews or under oath that you never had a criminal record. (Though for certain jobs, you may still have to disclose your sealed records.)1
2. It is still quicker to petition to seal your records
Colorado will not automatically seal your criminal records until years after you become eligible for a record seal. Therefore, it is still in your interest to formally petition for a record seal as soon as you qualify.
The waiting period before you can petition for a record seal depends on your case.
The process of sealing your criminal records is paperwork-heavy and requires detailed information, and one mistake can put you back to square one. Therefore, you are advised to retain an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney to handle everything for you.2
3. Not all convictions can be sealed
Convictions for the following crimes can not be sealed in the state of Colorado:
However, state law allows district courts to seal normally unsealable misdemeanor convictions if you can show the court by clear and convincing evidence that you have a significant and substantial need for a record seal, sufficient time has passed, and it would not threaten public safety.3
4. Sealed criminal records should not show up on background checks
Once all the relevant agencies have complied with the court’s order to seal your record, your criminal history should not show up on standard background record searches.
In fact, Colorado law requires consumer reporting agencies to exclude all sealed and expunged records from background checks unless the person or entity requesting the report can demonstrate they are lawfully required to consider the sealed/expunged records.
However, sealed records sometimes do show up on FBI background checks, which you must undergo to apply to work for
the federal government,
law enforcement agencies,
certain other entities.
The FBI does not always comply with “orders to seal records” because it is not under the jurisdiction of Colorado courts.
Even if your criminal records are not sealed, Colorado’s Ban the Box law affords job applicants certain protections. With some exceptions, private employers are forbidden from:
Requiring you to disclose your criminal history on an initial job application;
Asking about your criminal history on an initial job application; and
Stating in an advertisement or application that people with criminal histories may not apply.4
5. Record seals and expungements are technically different in Colorado
Sealing makes criminal justice records invisible, but they are still there. In contrast, expunging physically destroys the record.
In Colorado, most criminal records are sealable but not expungeable. Only the following records can be expunged:
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.