A Colorado juvenile record expungement functions to seal a person’s past delinquencies. Expungement means the record will be as if it never existed. And it will not appear on future background checks. Dismissed cases are sealable right away. Otherwise, there is a one-year wait after probation ends. And there is a three-year wait after parole supervision ends.
Where to File
People should file expungement petitions in all the counties where:
- They interacted with law enforcement; or
- The juvenile or district court heard the case
People are unqualified to expunge their records if they were adjudicated:
- For a felony involving unlawful sexual behavior;
- As an aggravated or violent juvenile offender;
- For a homicide or related crime; or
- For a traffic offense
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. Who is 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. And the public will not be able to see the record.
After an order of expungement of juvenile criminal justice records, people may legally claim they were never:
- Convicted (whether by trial or a plea agreement), or
- Sentenced for a crime.
This allows juvenile offenders to make a fresh start after an arrest or criminal conviction. Past mistakes will not hamper them for the rest of their 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)
Expunged records are also available to a judge and the probation department if the defendant faces future juvenile or adult sentencing hearings.
In short, expunged records do not get destroyed. But they are invisible to most people. And former defendants with expunged records can lawfully misrepresent their past and say they 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.
People may petition for juvenile expungement in the county where:
- The police arrested them, or
- The court heard their case.
Sometimes cases get transferred between counties. If this happens, people should petition in all the counties involved. This will ensure all records get sealed.2
Some people are ineligible for a Colorado juvenile expungement. This includes people adjudicated as either:
- An aggravated juvenile offender; or
- A violent juvenile offender;
Expungements are also unavailable to people convicted of:
- A felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior;
- A homicide or related offense; or
- A traffic offense / infraction.3
Finally, people are ineligible for expungement if have a felony, misdemeanor, or delinquency action currently pending. Otherwise, most felonies, misdemeanors, and petty offenses are expungeable. People are advised to seek a record seal as soon as they have eligibility.4
It depends on how the case ended in the justice system.
People are eligible for immediate expungement of their record if either:
- The court found the person not guilty at trial;
- The prosecution dismissed the entire criminal complaint; or
- The minor successfully completed:
- A juvenile diversion program,
- A deferred adjudication, or
- An informal adjustment5
People 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
People are eligible for expungement 3 years after:
- Their unconditional release from a commitment to the Department of Human Services; or
- Their unconditional release from parole supervision. 7
Finally, there is a 5-year wait to get an expungement after:
- The person was adjudicated as a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender; and
- The court’s jurisdiction terminates
Note that it is the defendant’s responsibility to notify state agencies and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations when the record is expunged.
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, including:
- Form JDF302 – Petition to Expunge Court Records
- Form JDF304 – Order of Expungement of Records
- Form JDF301 – How to Expunge a Juvenile Delinquency
People may file an expungement petition only once in a one-year period, so people are advised to consult with an attorney to make sure there are no mistakes.
Note that if a defendant is 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. And 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. And expungement paperwork for clearing criminal history is confusing. One mistake can dash a person’s chances of success for getting a court order of expungement.
Our law firm fights criminal charges and juvenile charges from DUI and child abuse to domestic violence and crimes of violence. We serve clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Arapahoe, and several nearby cities. Contact our law office for legal advice.