Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Depending on the specific details of your Colorado felony record, you may be able to have it sealed. When you are arrested and convicted of a crime, this information is put into a criminal record with your name on it. This can have several negative implications in your life, leading many to wonder if they can get their record sealed.

What Are the Consequences of a Felony Charge in Colorado?

A felony charge in Colorado carries with it, significant consequences. A felony charge can lead to any of the following:

  • Jail time
  • Required probation or parole
  • Expensive legal fines
  • Mandatory drug or alcohol classes

The specific jail time and the amount of legal fees will vary, depending on the class of the felony and whether drugs were involved or not. Colorado separates drug felony charges from other types of felonies.

Even once you have served your jail time and paid your legal fines, your criminal record could continue to impact you. It will show up on a background check for years to come, which can prevent you from getting certain jobs. It could even impact your ability to rent an apartment or apply for loans.

Who Can Access My Felony Records in Colorado? 

If you have not yet sealed your felony record, then anyone can access your criminal record.

This includes:

  • Current employer
  • Potential employers
  • Neighbors and friends
  • Family members

Individuals who have served their time and who are ready to move on with their life may find it difficult to overcome a criminal record.

What Happens When You Seal a Felony Record?

Sealing a felony record does not remove the information from your file. Instead, it seals it, making it so only certain individuals can access the information. The biggest reason that people often seek to seal their records is to prevent their felony charges from showing up on a background check.

While a sealed record is still accessible to certain individuals, including law enforcement and judges, it is invisible to the general public. This means that when filling out an application for employment, you can check ‘no,’ when asked if you have a criminal record. However, there are certain exclusions to this rule, so make sure you know the implications and meaning of “sealing your record” ahead of time.

It is important to note that sealing a record is not the same as expungement of felony charges. An expungement is the process of getting rid of the records. The state of Colorado only allows the expungement of certain felony charges, usually for juvenile crimes.

Can Felony Drug Charges be Sealed?

Only certain individuals are eligible to have their felony record sealed. The rules changed in 2011, slightly altering the process. This affects the timeline and what types of charges can be sealed. Although drug cases are harder, Colorado does allow for some felony drug cases to be sealed, if they are level four or lower, but with a waiting period of at least seven years. Other drug offenses require a 10-year waiting period.

How Can I Get My Felony Record Sealed in Colorado? 

The first thing that you will need to do to begin the process is to determine if you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed. Whether or not you are eligible to have your record sealed depends on certain factors, including:

  • The specific charges
  • Whether or not you were convicted
  • Your age at the time of the arrest
  • How long it has been since the case was resolved

It can be helpful to discuss the details of your case with a criminal defense lawyer, who can help you determine your eligibility. The state of Colorado tends to approve cases in which the defendant was a minor at the time the case was resolved. This includes underage DUI and juvenile criminal acts. The state of Colorado considers someone to be a juvenile if they are 18 years and younger, and underage, if they are 21 years or younger.

If you were a juvenile or underage at the time of the case resolution, you may be eligible for expungement. It is important to explore your options before beginning the process. There is also a waiting period that must be met. This means that you must wait for a minimum period of time before applying to have your case sealed, dependent on the type of the crime.

Once you are eligible to have your record sealed, you may choose to work with a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can help you navigate the Colorado court system, while ensuring that your request includes all required information. Colorado charges filing fees, which must be submitted at the time of the request. You will also need copies of certain records, like your criminal records from the arresting police department and a copy of your criminal record. If your request is approved, it is your responsibility to notify the reporting agencies of the change.

How Long Is the Waiting Period to Seal My Record? 

The waiting period depends on the crime and its outcome. For example, defendants who were charged with a crime, but who were not convicted of that crime are immediately eligible to apply to have their record sealed. Defendants who commit petty offenses are eligible one year after the dismissal of the case. The longest waiting period is generally 10 years.

What If My Request to Seal My Record is Denied? 

A Colorado felony lawyer can also help you correct any errors with the application if you are denied. While eligibility often leads to having your felony record sealed, this is not a guarantee. The decision is always up to the judge. The entire process usually does not take longer than a couple of weeks to complete.

A Colorado criminal defense lawyer can help you consider your eligibility to have your felony record sealed. Having your record sealed allows you to keep your charges confidential.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.