What’s the Deal With Sealing My Criminal Record?
What is the importance of sealing criminal records?
Everyone knows the stigma that comes with a criminal record; it affects your family life, potential job opportunities, college acceptance, and renting a home. But why should your criminal record prevent you from moving forward with your life? What if you had the chance to lock that away, take a deep breath, and get a fresh start? This is what sealing your criminal record may do for you… let’s look at what that means.
Part of your relentless defense at Krizman Law is making sure you are able to move on with your life with the best opportunities. Many people think that as soon as your case is closed your record is clear but in fact you must request to seal your criminal record; here at Krizman Law we can help you with that.
As of August 3rd, 2019, the ‘Increased Eligibility for Criminal Record Sealing bill’ took affect. Governor Polis signed this bill to give more people the opportunity to qualify for requesting a sealed criminal record and to expedite the process for those who qualify. While in the past it has been common for district attorneys to include a provision in plea agreements that waives your right to ask for a sealed criminal record, as of August 3rd, 2019, the state now prohibits that. Contact Krizman Law if you have previously waived your right to a sealed record as you may be able to petition that.
In Colorado there is a difference between having your record ‘expunged’ and having your record ‘sealed.’ Only minors who have not been involved in violent crimes may have their records expunged, i.e your record never existed. Sealing your record deals with adult crimes and simply hides your record from the public, however, your record will be unsealed if you are convicted of another crime.
Now the question is, do you qualify for a sealed record? Let’s look at which records are eligible and which are not.
What is eligible to be sealed?
- Arrests that do not result in charges
- Arrests after which charges are dropped
- Arrests that result in an acquittal
- Arrests that are dismissed due to a guilty plea in a separate case
- A diversion agreement is completed and no charges are filed
- A deferred judgment and sentence are completed and all counts are dismissed
- If you are no longer being investigated and charges are dropped
- Certain drug convictions (even when there is a guilty plea)
- Convictions for offenses committed by human trafficking victims
What is NOT eligible to be sealed?
- If you are convicted of a class 1, 2, or 3 felony
- If you are convicted of a level 1 drug felony
- Sex offenses
- Domestic Violence Convictions that are not dismissed
- If you are convicted of a DUI
- Class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses
- Class A or B traffic infractions
How do I request to seal my criminal record?
Before your record can be sealed all court-ordered debts must be payed. For example court costs, fines, fees, and restitution. As well, not all requests to have your record sealed will be granted. If you are convicted of another crime typically the court will not authorize your request.
If you qualify for an expedited process under the Increased Eligibility for Criminal Record Sealing bill then you will not have to file a civil action, the court will include sealing your record in the criminal case.
If you do not qualify for the expedited process you must make a separate civil action to request your record be sealed. This can happen when you have been released of supervision or after your final disposition.
The process of sealing your record may take a few months and is not instantaneous. It is possible you may face an objection hearing. Should this be the case, Krizman Law we will fight for your rights. After filing the civil action with the courts you will have to wait for review and approval (with the possibility of an objection hearing) before you and other agencies are notified of the approved seal.
Mr. Krizman is a criminal defense attorney in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in providing relentless defense for domestic violence, DUI, and drug crimes. He is a former public defender who has also worked for a district attorney and is licensed in the State of Colorado, and the United States Federal Court, District of Colorado. Mr. Krizman is a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, and Arapahoe County Bar Association. A Colorado native, he has a law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa. Call him today at 720.819.7317.