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.
There is a waiting period to seal certain types of felony convictions under Colorado law, and some of the more serious felonies may not be sealed at all. But if the felony charge gets dismissed, then it can be sealed right away. The following table summarizes the waiting period for sealing Colorado criminal records for felony crimes:
Fill out the appropriate forms: JDF 417 Form (for a petition to seal arrest records) or JDF 612 Form (for a petition to seal conviction records).
File the form with the Colorado court where the case occurred, which involves also paying court costs / filing fees.
Wait for the court to accept or deny the petition. This may take several weeks. Sometimes, the court may schedule a hearing.
If the court issues an order to seal, send copies to all the agencies that have the conviction on file. This includes the CBI and the police department. The agencies usually seal the records within a few weeks.
Sometimes defendants make mistakes on the petition. When this happens, the court notifies the defendant. The defendant then has the opportunity to resubmit the petition.
Note that there is no such thing as partial record seals. If a person has one unsealable conviction, then nothing else on the criminal record may be sealed. In short, record sealing is all or nothing.
This entire process of getting records sealed may take several weeks if not months. And since the paperwork can get very confusing, defendants are advised to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to manage the process.
Why criminal record seals are important
Every arrest by a law enforcement agency and every conviction in a criminal case go on people’s record. This record is then visible to anyone who runs a background check. This, in turn, can hurt people’s ability to get jobs, housing, scholarships, loans, credit, and professional licenses.
What record sealing does is mask criminal records so they no longer appear on background checks. And once the record is sealed, the person can legally deny under oath or during job interviews that they ever had a criminal record. (There are some exceptions to this. In some applications for certain professional licenses, people may be required to disclose a sealed criminal record.) In short, sealed records level the playing field.
Sealing versus expunging
Sealing is different from expunging, which is when records of criminal offenses are physically destroyed – not merely sealed. Colorado allows expungement only convictions of underage drinking and driving (UDD) and juvenile records.
A conviction for a UDD can be expunged immediately once the defendant turns 21.
Since the incident, the defendant has not been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for, or convicted of, any felony or misdemeanor offense of domestic violence, unlawful sexual behavior, or weapons possession; and
The defendant has no felony, misdemeanor, or delinquency actions pending; and
The defendant is caught up on all court-restitution payments or is on a restitution repayment plan
Note that a court hearing is required to get an expungement.
About the Author
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.