Expungement is the process of getting your juvenile records or underage drinking and driving (UDD) records physically destroyed so that they no longer appear on criminal background checks. Our Colorado expungement attorneys manage the entire process so it gets done right on the first try and as fast as possible.
1. What does record expungement mean?
In Colorado, expungement is physically destroying a criminal record so it no longer exists. This is a different process from record sealing, which makes the criminal record invisible to public view – but the record is still there.
In Colorado, certain types of criminal records can be expunged, and others can be sealed:
Once a record is expunged or sealed, the defendant can lawfully deny ever having had a criminal past (with rare exceptions).1
To learn more about the record sealing process, go to our article on sealing criminal records in Colorado.
2. Am I eligible for an expungement?
Colorado juvenile delinquency or underage drunk driving (UDD) charges that get dismissed can be expunged immediately. Otherwise, there is a waiting period:
Wait to petition for a record expungement
|You successfully finished juvenile probation; or
The contact with law enforcement did not lead to a referral to another agency
|1 year after case ends|
|You got an unconditional release from juvenile parole supervision or from a commitment to the Department of Human Services||3 years after case ends|
|You were released from your juvenile sentence as a repeat offender or mandatory offender.||5 years after case ends|
|Underage drinking and driving conviction||After you turn 21 years old|
Note that you have no eligibility for a record expungement if any of the following three conditions is true:
- You were adjudicated as a violent juvenile offender or an aggravated juvenile offender;
- You were convicted of a sex felony offense; or
- You were convicted of a homicide or related offense2
3. What is the process?
For juvenile and UDD cases, our Colorado expungement attorneys first compose a petition for expungement and an order for expungement. Then we file these forms with the court that heard your case.
If the court schedules a hearing before rendering a decision, our criminal defense attorneys would appear with you in court to argue in favor of the expungement. If the court grants you the expungement, we would then mail a copy of the “court order to expunge” to every state agency that has your records on file.
(In the event the court denies our petition, we can try the expungement process again in 12 months.)3
4. Is it worth it?
Everyone eligible to get their juvenile or UDD criminal histories expunged should do so as soon as possible. Having any sort of record compromises your chances of getting jobs from potential employers, acceptance into schools, housing, loans, or professional licenses.
An expungement gives you a clean slate and puts you on a more even playing field with everyone else.
5. Do I need a Colorado expungement attorney?
The process of getting your conviction- and arrest records expunged is confusing, paperwork-heavy, and time-consuming. Therefore, it is very easy to make a mistake that will cause the court to reject your petition and set you back to the beginning.
Our Colorado expungement lawyers have been through the process countless times, and we learned how to navigate the system to increase the chances of your records being sealed quickly and on the first attempt. And the sooner your records get expunged, the sooner your employment and educational opportunities expand.
Contact our criminal law firm for a case evaluation on expunging or sealing your Colorado criminal record. Our criminal defense lawyers are available for legal advice 24/7. And we have law offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Loveland. We handle all types of criminal proceedings.
See our related article on statute of limitations in the Colorado criminal justice system.
- CRS 19-1-306. See also C.B. v. People, (Colo. App. 2005) 122 P.3d 1065. CRS 42-4-1715. CRS 42-2-121. CRS 24-72-702. Note that certain criminal conviction records can never be sealed in Colorado, including DUI, domestic violence, misdemeanor traffic offenses, and class a and b traffic infractions.
- CRS 19-1-306. CRS 24-72-703. CRS 19-1-306. CRS 24-72-704. See also People v. Wright, (1979) 43 Colo. App. 30, 598 P.2d 157. CRS 42-4-1715. CRS 42-2-121. CRS 24-72-702.
- Expunge Juvenile Records, Colorado Judicial Branch. Expungement on Underage Drinking and Driving, Colorado Judicial Branch. CRS 24-72-701.5.