Colorado Springs Sealing Criminal Records Lawyers
Having Your Colorado Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged
Anyone who has been through Colorado’s legal system, even those who have successfully defended themselves in a court of law or have had charges against them dropped, has left a clear and traceable record of the proceedings that are accessible by the public. These records could come back to haunt them the next time they are applying for a job or being evaluated for a background check. Ensuring that your court records have been successfully sealed will prevent anyone other than certain government officials from gaining access to those records in the future.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that even when a case has been dismissed or they have been found not guilty of all charges, the records remain in publicly accessible databases. This can lead to many potential pitfalls. For instance, it may not matter to your potential employer that you were never convicted or that the charges were dropped if they see that you were previously arrested for a felony.
You should take every precaution to protect yourself by having your criminal records sealed or expunged whenever possible to avoid past mistakes or misunderstandings from impinging on your ability to find employment, enroll in school, or apply for opportunities. The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. has the experience and resources necessary to secure the privacy of our clients and we take issues of individual privacy very seriously.
How Can You Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record?
The process for sealing or expunging your criminal records in the state of Colorado can by quite difficult. First you must determine which situation applies to you. Expunging is reserved for juvenile cases and allows for records to be removed if the defendant was found not guilty or upon successful completion of a juvenile diversion program. Upon expungement, it is as if the records never existed in the first place.
Sealing is for adult cases in which criminal charges were dismissed. The process for sealing adult criminal records is slightly more complicated and many exceptions apply, but in general a person can request to seal a record after the final disposition has been entered, or ten years after the final disposition. In such instances, the public no longer has access to the records, although certain types of government officials will be able to view them. It should also be noted that in some cases, such as drug-related cases or petty and municipal offenses, it is even possible to seal a record when a conviction occurred.
The state government maintains a list of filing fees and surcharges that denote how much an individual must pay to seal or expunge a criminal record, but this list is subject to change. You should also be aware that many of the fees increase after a certain amount of time has passed so the sooner you file your request, the better.
In some instances, hearings will be necessary to ensure that your records are sealed. The judge will have to make a determination whether to give priority to an individual’s right to privacy versus the public’s right to know. The circumstances of the alleged crime, whether or not there was a conviction, and the amount of time that has passed will all come into play.
Charges That Are Difficult to Seal or Expunge
Certain types of charges are difficult to seal at all, even when no conviction has occurred. This includes sex offenses, DUIs, and other arrests that Colorado state law has found to be of interest to the public. Even convictions that only lead to probation are typically not eligible.
Another frequently asked question regards having a person’s DNA samples expunged from the state’s DNA database. According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety:
“DNA samples are collected from all adults arrested for felonies. The DNA profile will be entered into the DNA database once a person is charged with a felony. Under certain conditions, the person may apply to have their DNA sample removed.
You will qualify for sample expungement under the following conditions:
- Samples on file where the charges were dismissed, the case was acquitted, or the conviction for the offense was not a felony.
- Samples collected where no charges are filed or a felony charge was not filed within ninety days of arrest.
When attempting to navigate the complicated process of sealing or expunging state records, you need an experienced advocate on your side. The Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. have assisted numerous clients in successfully sealing criminal records. Don’t allow a past blemish on your permanent record to negatively impact your ability to find employment, apply for credit, or enroll in school. Contact us today at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free consultation.
- How Can I Have a Colorado Arrest or Criminal Record Sealed?
- What is the Difference between Sealing Criminal Records and Expungement?
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation - DNA Database Expungement