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What Cases Can Be Sealed in Colorado?

Sealing your record is a way of moving on from your criminal history. It’s an opportunity to erase your criminal record so employers, licensing agencies or other entities will have no knowledge of your arrest, charges or conviction. However, not everyone is eligible for a record seal in Colorado.

Colorado law only allows certain cases to be sealed and each have different guidelines. Dismissed cases, untried cases and cases in which you were acquitted are all eligible for a record seal. Colorado is also unique to other states because you are allowed to even seal certain convictions such as petty offenses, municipal charges and some drug offenses.

If you or someone you know is wishing to erase their criminal record, it’s imperative you seek a criminal defense attorney.

Record Sealing Attorney in El Paso County, CO

Has your criminal history held you back professionally and personally? You might want to look into petitioning for a record seal. If you or someone you know wants to move on from their criminal past, it’s important you find quality legal representation.

Contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC now to speak to a well-qualified criminal defense attorney today. Our team has years of experience sealing and expunging criminal records for our clients. Call us now at (719) 328-1616 and set up a consultation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater El Paso County area and surrounding counties including Denver County and Arapahoe County.


Overview of What Cases Can be Sealed in Colorado


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Sealing Arrest Records and Criminal Charges

If you were never convicted of the crime, you may be able to seal your record immediately. Arrest records and criminal charges can be erased if the verdict of your case is not guilty. Some other scenarios where you can quickly petition for a record seal is if you:

  • Were arrested but never charged;
  • Were charged but the case was dismissed;
  • You were never charged and the statutes of limitations passed;
  • Acquitted from the crime;
  • Successfully completed a diversion program; and
  • Finished your deferred judgement and sentence

Most misdemeanor drug offenses can be sealed under Colorado’s new drug law and other misdemeanors can be sealed assuming they can be fit in with any other Colorado Revised Statute on sealing. For example, a misdemeanor domestic violence offense that was completely dismissed (not as a part of any other plea bargain) could be sealed assuming all other statutory criteria is met.

Completely dismissed cases can be sealed immediately assuming that they were not dismissed as part of a plea bargain in another case and completed deferred judgments can be sealed after waiting the statutory time period. Please note that this sealing statute does not apply to class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses, class A or class B traffic infractions, or for convictions for DUI/DWAI or for any conviction for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior as defined in §16-22-102(9).

Deferred Judgments can be sealed in some circumstances assuming that the petitioner did not enter into a deferred judgment as part of a split plea agreement (still can be sealed if part of a plea bargain in another case if all statutory criteria are met). Please consult with an experienced attorney if you are having issues with sealing a completed deferred prosecution (a rarely used plea offer) or completed deferred judgment and sentence.  Successfully completed deferred judgments and deferred prosecutions, are eligible to seal assuming that they have met all other relevant sealing conditions.

It’s important to note you cannot seal your record if your charges were dropped because of a plea bargain. You can ask the court to seal your criminal record informally once your case is acquitted or dismissed. You can also file a JDF 417, which is a Petition to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records Other Than Convictions. However, the forms require a processing fee of $65 to petition for a record seal.

Felonies can be sealed under some rare circumstances. For example, the entire felony case was dismissed against the client,  or the client was completely acquitted of all charges including felony drug charges. Please consult an experienced attorney if you have any specific questions as to whether particular felony charge(s) can be sealed.


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How to Seal Petty and Municipal Convictions

Colorado differs from other states because it allows you to seal criminal convictions. You can seal your record if you were convicted of a petty or municipal non-drug offense. However, unlike arrest records or acquittals you won’t be able to seal your record immediately. You can seal your petty or municipal conviction if you:

  • Wait three years to file the appropriate paperwork from the day your sentence is up;
  • You haven’t been charged or convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or misdemeanor traffic offense in those three years; and
  • You don’t have a commercial learner’s permit or driving permit and are trying to seal a misdemeanor traffic offense

You cannot file for a record seal until you’ve paid all restitution and court costs. It’s important to note you can only file for a record seal once a year. You’re not allowed to file again immediately if your request is denied. To start the record sealing process, you will need to file a JDF 612 which is a Petition to Seal Criminal Conviction Records.


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Sealing Drug Offenses Before July 1, 2008 in Colorado

Colorado allows people with certain drug convictions to seal their record. However, the procedure differs depending on when you were convicted. If you were convicted of a drug crime before July 1st, 2008, then you can only seal your record if:

  • It was a petty or misdemeanor drug offense; or
  • You were convicted of a class 4 or 6 drug offense that isn’t related to:
    • Selling, manufacturing or dispensing drugs;
    • Attempt or conspiracy to sell, manufacture or dispense drugs; or
    • Possession with intent to manufacture, sell or dispense a controlled substance

Ten years must pass for you to be eligible for a record seal. In addition, the prosecuting attorney cannot object, and you must have paid all associated court and filing fees.


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Sealing Drug Crimes Between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011 in Colorado

If you were convicted of a drug offense between July 1, 2008 and June 20, 2011, then you will have to follow a similar procedure. You can only seal your drug conviction if:

  • It was a petty or misdemeanor offense; or
  • It was a class 5 or 6 felony offense, but wasn’t related to:
    • Sale, manufacture or dispensing of a controlled substance;
    • Attempt to or conspiracy to sell, manufacture or dispense drugs; or
    • Possession with intent to sell, manufacture or dispense drugs

Additionally, you must meet the following requirements to seal your drug conviction.

  • You waited ten years before filing the paperwork for a record seal; and
  • You haven’t been charged or convicted of a criminal offense during that period

Similar to drug offenses before 2008, you will have to file a JDF 612 to seal your criminal conviction. It’s important to note you cannot seal any record until you’ve paid all court and restitution fees in full.


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How to Seal Drug Offenses After July 1, 2011 in Colorado

The procedures for sealing convictions after July 1, 2011 is a little more complicated. If it was a petty drug offense, then you can file the petition paperwork one year after your conviction. If you were charged with a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor or a level 2 drug misdemeanor, then you must wait three years before filing the paperwork for a record seal.

Class 1 misdemeanors or level 1 drug misdemeanors convictions have a five-year waiting period after the final disposition of all criminal proceedings. Colorado does allow some felony drug cases to be sealed such as level 4 drug felonies or class 5 or 6 felony drug possession convictions. If it was before October 1, 2013, then the waiting period is seven years.

All other drug offenses require a ten-year waiting period before filing a petition to seal a criminal conviction. You will need to file a JDF 612 as well to seal your drug crime. Some drug offenses require different forms such as petty crimes, so it’s important you read the instructions on the form carefully.

If you were charged with a marijuana possession offense on or after December 10,2012, then you can immediately petition for a record seal of your criminal charges.


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Additional Resources

Sealing Record Categories – Visit the official website of the Colorado Judicial Branch to learn more about how to seal your record. Access the different categories to find the appropriate forms and procedures for sealing your criminal record in Colorado.

Record Sealing Forms – Visit the official website of the Colorado Judicial Branch to gain access to petition forms. Download the forms in either PDF or in a word document to learn what you need to qualify for a record seal. There’s also an instruction guide on how to file a record seal.


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Lawyer for Record Seals in El Paso County, CO

If you or someone you know is wishing to erase their criminal history, it’s crucial you get in contact with an attorney. The petition process is confusing, and you’re only allowed to petition for a record seal once a year. That is why it’s imperative you do it right the first time by hiring an experienced record sealing lawyer.

Call Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC to speak to our skilled attorneys today. Our team has years of knowledge and cares deeply for the future of our clients. Contact us now at (719) 328-1616 to schedule a consultation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater Colorado Springs area including Peyton, Black Forest and Fountain.


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Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C.