Many people who have been through the criminal justice system want to know how to seal their arrest records and criminal records. I get multiple phone calls every week asking this question.
Colorado Revised Statute Section 24-72-308 is the primary source for the rules and procedures for sealing adult records in Colorado. Since juvenile delinquency proceedings are noncriminal in nature, C.R.S. 19-1-306 must be followed.
Here is a summary of the process for sealing adult arrest and criminal records in Colorado:
- Any person in interest (party to the case) may petition the District Court to seal any arrest and criminal records information pertaining to the person in interest, except basic identification information, by filing a civil action in the county in which any arrest and/or criminal records are filed.
- A separate civil case must be filed for each court case record you want sealed, unless both a county court case and a district court case were established as a result of the same offense.
- A person may file a Petition with the Court for sealing of each case once every twelve-month period.
- The arrest records may be included in the case file or you may need to contact the arresting agency.
- You may only petition the Court to seal arrest or criminal records if the Defendant meets one of the following requirements:
- All charges were dismissed or the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.
- There is only an arrest record, no charges were filed in a Court, and the statute of limitations for the offense for which the person was arrested that has the longest statute of limitations has run.
- The Defendant entered into a diversion agreement pursuant to §18-1.3-101, C.R.S.
- The Defendant had a case that was dismissed due to a plea agreement in a separate case and 10 or more years have passed since the final disposition of all criminal proceedings and no additional criminal charges since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings have been filed against the Defendant.
You may not petition the Court to seal arrest or criminal records if:
- The Defendant has been convicted of an offense for which the factual basis involved unlawful sexual behavior pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute §16-22-102(9); or
- An offense was not charged due to a plea agreement in a separate case, but 10 years have not passed since the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the Defendant; or
- A dismissal occurred as part of a plea agreement in a separate case, but 10 years have not passed since the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the Defendant; or
- The Defendant still owes restitution, fines, court costs, late fees, or other fees ordered by the Court in the case being requested to seal, unless the court has vacated such order; or
- The offense pertains to a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, or to a class A or class B traffic infraction, or a conviction for a violation of Driving Under the Influence §42-4-1301(1) or (2), C.R.S., or
- The conviction pertains to an offense concerning the holder of a commercial driver’s license or the operator of a commercial motor vehicle.
The Court, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies will always have access to the file. The files are not destroyed. However, as provided under the statute, if inquiries are made by anyone other than a criminal justice agency, all agencies must respond that “no such record exists with respect to such person”.