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Can I seal or Expunge My Criminal Record?

I am often contacted by people who want to seal or expunge their criminal record. This only makes sense considering the prevalence of computer records today and the ease with which anyone can check on the background of others. In Colorado there are several laws that deal with these issues. Here is some basic information:


Adult criminal records that did not result in a conviction (excluding some drug cases) may only be sealed under the following conditions:

1. All charges were dismissed or you were acquitted of all charges. This includes any case in which you successfully completed a deferred judgment or diversion;

2. There is only an arrest record and no charges were filed and the statute of limitations for the offense for which the you were arrested that has the longest statute of limitations has run or the statute of limitations has not run and you are no longer being investigated by law enforcement for commission of the offense.

3. Charges in a criminal case were dismissed as part of a plea agreement in another case and at least 10 years have passed since the case was concluded and there have been no additional criminal charges filed against you since then.

Some records cannot be sealed:

1. Records pertain to a deferred judgment for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior as defined by C.R.S. §16-22-102(9);

2. Cases for which you still owe restitution, fines, court costs, late fees, or other fees ordered by the Court;

3. The offense in question was a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, or a class A or class B traffic infraction, or a DUI or DWAI conviction.

4. The records pertain to a deferred judgment and sentence for an offense concerning Driving under the Influence, C.R.S. § 42-4-1301(1) or (2).

5. Records pertaining to deferred judgment and sentence for an offense concerning the holder of a commercial driver’s license, or the operator of a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in C.R.S. § 42-2-402.

You may download self-help forms from the Colorado Judicial Branch here:


In some circumstances, Colorado law allows a record of a criminal conviction to be sealed if four conditions are met:

1. The conviction was for a municipal offense, or a a petty offense, or a misdemeanor or class 5 or class 6 felony drug possession charge other than the sale, manufacturing or dispensing of a controlled substance as defined at §18-18-102(5), C.R.S.

2. The conviction was for an or attempt to commit any of the offenses listed above or for possession with intent to manufacture, dispense or sell a controlled substance.

2. You obtain the permission of the prosecuting district attorney before filing the petition to seal a conviction record.

3. Ten or more years have passed from the final disposition of all criminal proceedings, including any period of probation;

4. You have not been charged or convicted for a criminal offense in the ten or more years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings, including any period of probation.

You may also download self-help forms from the Colorado Judicial Branch here:


If your record is a juvenile record, then the process is completely different. A person with a juvenile record may seek expungement:

1. Immediately, if found not guilty at trial.

2. After one year, if charged or arrested, but no further action was taken; or a juvenile diversion program or other “informal” result occurred.

3. After four years, if the Court has terminated jurisdiction; or after unconditional release from commitment to the department of human services or from parole supervision.

4. After ten years, if the adjudication was for a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender, and the Court has terminated jurisdiction or the unconditional release from parole supervision, whichever date is later.

A person’s record may not be expunged if:

1. The adjudication was for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior as defined in Section 16-22-102(9), C.R.S.; or

2. The adjudication in question was that of aggravated juvenile offender or violent juvenile offender; or

4. The offense would be a crime of violence if committed by an adult; or

5. The case was filed as a direct filing of an indictment or information in district court as a juvenile and an adult sentence was imposed.

You may download self-help forms form the Colorado Judicial Branch here:

Generally, a person may only petition to have records sealed once in a 12 month period. If you file a petition and are denied, even for a technical reason, you may not ask again for 12 months. If your record is relatively simple and you are comfortable handling legal matters on your own you may be able to handle expungement or record sealing on your own. If you feel you need professional assistance, please call the Davis Law Firm at 303-708-1842.

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