If you are arrested for a crime in Colorado, you will likely have a permanent criminal record. This is true even if the charges against you are dismissed. Criminal records can be accessed by potential employers and professional licensing agencies, and it may become difficult to get a job, obtain a loan, or even rent an apartment if you have a criminal record. However, in some cases you may be able to petition the court to seal your criminal record.
Who Is Eligible to Have Criminal Records Sealed?
Although Colorado allows for criminal records to be sealed, it can only be done when certain criteria are met or in specific circumstances. You may be eligible to have your records sealed if:
There were never any formal charges filed against you
The charges against you were dismissed
You were found not guilty during a criminal trial
How to Seal Your Criminal Records
If you are eligible to petition the court to seal your criminal records, there are several steps you must take. The process in which to have a criminal record sealed can be complex, and working with a seasoned Colorado criminal defense lawyer can give you the guidance and legal advice you need for success. After you contact a defense attorney, you will need to file a petition to have your records sealed with the District Court in the district where the case started.
Once the petition is filed, a hearing will be set and a notice will be sent to all parties involved. Any interested parties have the right to object to the sealing of your criminal records, however, they must file their objection by the date specified on the notice. If an objection is filed, the hearing will proceed before a Colorado judge. If no objections are filed, the petition may be granted without the hearing.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Criminal Record Sealed?
Living with a permanent criminal record can be challenging. Once an arrest is made, the matter becomes public, and employers or other agencies can easily locate your record by running a criminal background check. Criminal background checks are being used more frequently, and having a record may preclude you from getting the job you want, getting into a good school, or obtaining a professional license. Even real estate agencies are running background checks on renters and will decline those who have felonies or drug charges on their record.
Having your criminal record sealed is akin to it never having existed in the first place. Employers and other agencies will not be able to access your records, meaning that you will not be denied employment and education opportunities based on your past criminal history.
If you have been arrested, it's critical that you reach out to a seasoned Colorado criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. At Miller & Law, P.C., we can help protect your rights under the law and determine if you will be eligible to petition the court to have your criminal record sealed. We are able to guide you step by step through the process of having a record sealed, whether there are objections to your petition or not.
We know how difficult life can be for individuals living with a permanent criminal record hanging over their head. We are committed to providing you with the comprehensive legal advocacy needed to increase your chances of success. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your legal needs at (303) 722-6500.