SEALING ARREST AND CRIMINAL RECORDS
Aug. 15, 2019
Nothing can be more limiting and harmful to your reputation and opportunities for advancement than having an arrest or criminal record. Unfortunately, many convictions for offenses cannot be sealed or expunged and can haunt you for a lifetime.
Colorado law allows for any arrest to be sealed in any case that was completely dismissed, where no charges were filed following an arrest, or where you achieve an acquittal (“not guilty” verdict) at trial. In fact, criminal justice reform has resulted in the legislature making sealing of criminal records now possible for certain controlled substance, marijuana, petty, and municipal convictions. So even if you weren’t acquitted or the charges dismissed, you may be able to restore your record and reputation through the sealing or expungement process.
On May 29, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1275 into law. This new law vastly expanded the eligibility of many convictions for sealing and gives many a new opportunity at a fresh start without the burdens and unwarranted adverse consequences of a criminal record.
This law requires mandates the sealing of criminal records when you’re not charged and are the victim of mistaken identity.
Most importantly many convictions may now be sealed. For petty offense, the records may be sealed after the latter of 1 year from the sentencing date or release from probation supervision. In cases involving class 2 and 3 misdemeanors and any drug misdemeanor, the case may be sealed in two years the latter date of sentencing release from probation supervision. Even certain felonies are now eligible to be sealed. In class 1 misdemeanors, class 4, 5 or 6 felonies including drug felony class 3 (DF3) and 4 (DF4) convictions, may be sealed after the latter of 3 years from sentencing or the release from probation. All other offenses may be sealed after 5 years from the latter of sentencing or final release from probation or supervision.
Of course, there are exclusions. Traffic infractions, Misdemeanor traffic offenses, any DUI, sex offenses, child abuse and certain other crimes still may never be sealed with one exception. That exception exists for any misdemeanor otherwise ineligible if the District Attorney consents and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the need for sealing is significant and substantial and the petitioner is no longer a threat to public safety and the public disclosure of the record is no longer necessary to protect or inform the public.
I have counseled and secured sealing of records for many hundreds of clients during my twenty-three year career as a criminal defense attorney. These sealings can be some of the most rewarding work for me as I see what a real difference it makes in so many lives to be able to get that job, secure that loan or pass that background check. If an arrest or criminal record is holding you back, give me a call so we can discuss the particulars of your case and find a solution that helps you move on from your troubled past.
Many people suffering the stigma of conviction are now eligible for a chance to live a life free of the burdens of a criminal record. Take the first step and call The Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell, PC today to discuss sealing your conviction.