Collateral Relief in Colorado
CRS 18-1.3-107

In Colorado, the court may enter an order of collateral relief to improve the defendant's chances for success after a criminal conviction. Collateral relief may include sealing arrest or conviction records, juvenile expungement, or removal from the Colorado sex offender registry. A collateral relief order can increase the defendant's chances of finding a job or reintegrating back into society after a conviction. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

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Collateral relief may include sealing of arrest records, sealing records for a criminal conviction, expunging criminal records for juveniles, securing judicial orders of collateral relief, or removal from the Colorado sex offender registry.

1. What is collateral relief?

A criminal conviction has consequences that extend beyond jail time and fines. After a defendant enters into an alternative in sentencing, the defendant can petition for collateral relief to preserve or enhance the defendant's employment prospects and improve the defendant's likelihood of success in the alternative to sentencing program.1

Collateral relief may include sealing of arrest records, sealing records for a criminal conviction, expunging criminal records for juveniles, securing judicial orders of collateral relief, or removal from the Colorado sex offender registry.

“An order of collateral relief may relieve a defendant of any collateral consequences of the conviction, whether in housing or employment barriers or any other sanction or disqualification that the court shall specify, including but not limited to statutory, regulatory, or other collateral consequences that the court may see fit to relieve that will assist the defendant in successfully completing probation or a community corrections sentence.”2

2. What are collateral consequences of a criminal conviction?

The immediate consequences of a criminal conviction generally include possible prison time and fines. However, there are other consequences of a criminal conviction that stay with an individual long after they have served their criminal sentence. These are known as collateral consequences. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction depend on the class of criminal offense, specific crime, and the individual's criminal record.

After a criminal conviction in Colorado, the collateral consequences may limit an individual's ability to apply for or obtain:

  • Certain government jobs
  • Driver's license
  • Professional licenses
  • Commercial license
  • Serve on a jury
  • Own or possess a firearm
  • Become a teacher
  • Food stamps
  • College scholarship money
  • Public housing assistance
  • Work with children

These collateral consequences can make it difficult for an individual to get a job, earn a living, provide for their family, or live a normal life even after they have served their time.

Collateral consequences do not include:

  • Imprisonment
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Supervised Release
  • Forfeiture
  • Restitution
  • Fines
  • Assessments
  • Costs of prosecution
  • Restraints on driving privileges3

3. Who is eligible for collateral relief?

You may ask the court for an Order for Collateral Relief if you are sentenced to probation, a community corrections program, or you have entered into an alternative to sentencing.

However, collateral relief is not available for a defendant who:

  • Has been convicted of a felony that included an element that requires a victim to suffer permanent disability;
  • Has been convicted of a crime of violence; or
  • Is required to register as a sex offender.4

4. How do you get collateral relief?

When a defendant enters into an alternative in sentencing, they may petition for an order of collateral relief, or the court can petition for collateral relief on its own motion. “An application for an order of collateral relief must cite the grounds for granting the relief, the type of relief sought, and the specific collateral consequence from which the applicant is seeking relief.” 5

5. What is a collateral relief hearing?

The court will review the application for collateral relief. The court may review the application and make a decision without the need for a hearing and either grant or deny the application for collateral relief. If a hearing is granted, the hearing may be held at the same time as the applicant's sentencing hearing or at a separate time.6

If the court grants a hearing, the applicant may be required to give testimony under oath. The court may also hear testimony or arguments for or against your application from the district attorney, any victims, or other individuals who stand in support or opposition to your application.7

The court will decide an order of collateral relief based on whether:

  • An order of collateral relief is consistent with the applicant's rehabilitation, and
  • Granting the application would improve the applicant's likelihood of success in reintegrating into society and is in the public's interest.8

After the hearing, if the court grants your application for collateral relief, the court will issue an order and send a copy to be recorded in your criminal record with the Colorado Crime Information Center.

6. What happens if you are arrested after getting collateral relief?

The court can revoke an order of collateral relief after it has been issued. The district attorney, probation officer, or court can make a motion to revoke an order of collateral relief upon evidence of a subsequent criminal conviction or proof that the defendant is no longer entitled to relief.

After an order of collateral relief has been revoked, and bars, prohibitions, sanctions, and disqualifications shall be reinstated as of the date of the written order of revocation.9

7. Related Topics

7.1. Alternatives in Imposition of Sentence C.R.S. 18-1.3-104

In Colorado, the trial court has a number of alternatives in entering judgment for a criminal sentence. Sentencing options range from probation, specialized restitution, and community service programs to imprisonment or the death sentence. Sentencing alternatives depend on the specific crime, the defendant's history, and potential impact on the safety of the victims.

7.2. Alternative Imposition of Sentence for Drug Felonies C.R.S. 18-1.3-104.5

The law provides alternative imposition of sentences for certain level 4 drug felony cases. During sentencing or resentence after revocation of probation, the court may consider all reasonable and appropriate alternative sentences, including treatment programs or probation.

7.3. Home Detention Programs C.R.S. 18-1.3-106

Some individuals may be able to leave detention during necessary and reasonable hours for seeking employment, working, attending school, or seeking medical treatment. Home detention is an alternative correctional sentence where the defendant remains within their approved residence at all times except for court-approved activities.

7.4. Community Corrections Program C.R.S. 18-1.3-301

In Colorado, the community corrections program provides sentencing alternatives for individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes. Community corrections programs may be available for defendants who are otherwise ineligible for probation supervision or those who have served a portion of their prison sentence and are awaiting parole placement.

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If you have any questions collateral relief after a criminal conviction, contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.


Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(1)
  2. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(3)
  3. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(8)(b)
  4. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(4)(b)
  5. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(2)(a)
  6. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(5)(a)
  7. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(5)(b)
  8. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(6)(a)
  9. C.R.S. 18-1.3-107(6)(c)

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