A Colorado juvenile record expungement seals your past delinquencies. Expungement means the record will be as if it never existed. It will not appear on future background checks.
Dismissed cases are sealable right away. Otherwise, there is a one-year wait after probation ends. There is a three-year wait after parole supervision ends.
Expungement is not automatic. You have to file a petition.
Below our Denver Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss:
- 1. What is expungement?
- 2. Do juvenile records disappear after a certain time?
- 3. Where do I file for record expungement?
- 4. Am I ineligible?
- 5. When can I petition for juvenile expungement?
- 6. Why should I seal my record?
- 7. How do I expunge my juvenile records?
- 8. Do I need an attorney?
Expunging is erasing a juvenile delinquent record in Colorado courts. It will be as if the court records never existed. The public will not be able to see the record.
After an order of expungement of your juvenile criminal justice records, you may legally claim you were never:
- Convicted (whether by trial or a plea agreement), or
- Sentenced for a crime.
This allows you to make a fresh start after an arrest or criminal conviction. Past mistakes will not hamper you for the rest of your lives.1
Note that expunged records may still be available to:
- A district attorney;
- Local police / law enforcement agency;
- The Department of Human Services;
- The State Judicial Department; and
- The victim (if any)
If you face future juvenile or adult sentencing hearings, expunged records are also available to a judge and the probation department.
In short, expunged records do not get destroyed. Though they are invisible to most people. If you have expunged records, you can lawfully misrepresent your past and say you were never in trouble with the law.
No. Juvenile case criminal records will not automatically seal themselves. It requires:
- The filing of a motion,
- A hearing, and
- A decision granting the expungement by the court.
You may petition for juvenile expungement in the county where:
- The police arrested you, or
- The court heard your case.
Sometimes, cases get transferred between counties. If this happens, you should petition in all the counties involved. This will ensure all records get sealed.2
You are ineligible for a Colorado juvenile expungement if you are adjudicated as either:
- An aggravated juvenile offender under CRS 19-2.5-1125(4); or
- A violent juvenile offender under CRS 19-2.5-1125(3);
Expungements are also unavailable if you were convicted of:
- A felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior under CRS 16-22- 102(9);
- A homicide or related offense; or
- A traffic offense / infraction.3
Finally, you are ineligible for expungement if you have a
- misdemeanor, or
- delinquency action
Otherwise, most felonies, misdemeanors, and petty offenses are expungeable. You are advised to seek a record seal as soon as you have eligibility.4
It depends on how the case ended in the justice system.
You are eligible for immediate expungement of your record if either:
- The court found you not guilty at trial;
- The prosecution dismissed the entire criminal complaint; or
- You successfully completed:
- A juvenile diversion program,
- A deferred adjudication, or
- An informal adjustment5
You are eligible for expungement 1 year after:
- Contact with law enforcement that did not result in referral to another agency, such as the prosecutor’s office; or
- Successful completion of probation, and the court’s jurisdiction terminates.6
You are eligible for expungement 3 years after:
- Your unconditional release from a commitment to the Department of Human Services; or
- Your unconditional release from parole supervision. 7
Finally, there is a 5-year wait to get an expungement after:
- You were adjudicated as a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender; and
- The court’s jurisdiction terminates
A Colorado criminal record seal prevents the public from knowing it happened. This is important for:
- Future employment,
- Application to colleges or universities, and
- Applications for special licenses or clearances
In short, sealed records of juvenile and criminal cases even the playing field.
The Colorado Judicial Branch website provides instructions for expunging juvenile records. There is no filing fee, but you need to complete the following forms:
- Form JDF302 – Petition to Expunge Court Records
- Form JDF304 – Order of Expungement of Records
- Form JDF324 – Petition for Expungement of Records for a Law Enforcement Contact Not Resulting in Referral to Another Agency
- Form JDF326 – Order of Expungement of Records for a Law Enforcement Contact Not Resulting in Referral to Another Agency
Depending on the case, the court may hold a hearing before determining whether to grant the expungement.
You may file an expungement petition only once in a one-year period, so you are advised to consult with an attorney to make sure there are no mistakes.
Note that if you are sentenced as a juvenile following a direct filing in District Court, the expungement petition can be filed in the District Court.
Also note that there are separate instructions and forms for expunging an underage drinking and driving case. Plus there are separate instructions and forms for sealing an underage alcohol and marijuana case. 8
Having a criminal defense attorney is a good idea to seal juvenile criminal records.
Colorado law’s criminal justice system is complex. Plus expungement paperwork for clearing criminal history is confusing.
One mistake can dash your chances of success for getting a court order of expungement.
See our related article, Expunge vs. Seal criminal records in Colorado – What’s the difference?