You have been convicted of a crime, and you may be wondering, how will this affect me? Having a conviction on your record can cause issues in many areas of your life. What happens when you apply for a job, and they inform you that they need to do a background check? Or you finally found your dream apartment and you have to answer a question on the application regarding your criminal history? Your conviction can be used as a way for future employers, landlords, and even credit card companies to determine that you don’t qualify. Furthermore, having a conviction can also hinder your ability to possess or purchase a firearm, get a nursing license, or even travel abroad. The good news is that for many people, it is possible to seal these convictions so that they don’t appear on your background check. Now for the big question: is your conviction eligible to be sealed?
Is My Conviction Eligible for Sealing?
While there are far too many convictions to list that are eligible, some common convictions which can be sealed include but are not limited to:
- Any case where the charges were dismissed. Even though your case may have been dismissed, these charges can often still appear on your record!
- Drug Felony 4 cases.
- Municipal cases and petty offenses.
- Misdemeanors that are not domestic violence (DV) related.
- F4, F5, and F6 felonies that are not DVs or “Crimes of Violence.”
What Convictions Are Ineligible for Sealing?
If any of your convictions from a single case include the following, then you are currently ineligible for sealing:
- Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses or a Class A or Class B traffic infractions.
- A conviction for a violation of C.R.S. § 42-4-1301(1) or (2). This includes all DUIs and DWAIs.
- A conviction for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior as defined in C.R.S. § 16-22-102(9);
- A conviction for a violation of C.R.S. § 18-6-401. This includes any convictions relating to child abuse.
- Any convictions that are subject to one or more of the following provisions:
- Sentences for a crime involving extraordinary aggravating circumstances pursuant to C.R.S. 18-1.3-401 (8). This includes any of the following circumstances:
- The defendant is convicted of a crime of violence under section 18-1.3-406;
- The defendant was on parole for another felony at the time of commission of the felony.
- The defendant was on probation or was on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for another felony at the time of the commission of the felony.
- The defendant was under confinement, in prison, or in any correctional institution as a convicted felon, or an escapee from any correctional institution for another felony at the time of the commission of a felony.
- At the time of the commission of the felony, the defendant was on an appeal bond following his or her conviction for a previous felony.
- At the time of the commission of a felony, the defendant was on probation for or on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for a delinquent act that would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult.
- A sentence for an extraordinary risk crime pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401 (10); This includes the following convictions:
- Aggravated robbery, as defined in section 18-4-302;
- Child abuse, as defined in section 18-6-401;
- Unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale, or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, distribute, manufacture, or dispense, as defined in section 18-18-405;
- Any crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406;
- Stalking, as described in section 18-9-111(4), as it existed prior to August 11, 2010, or section 18-3-602;
- Sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances, as described in section 18-18-412.7;
- Felony invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, as described in section 18-3-405.6;
- A class 3 felony offense of human trafficking for involuntary servitude, as described in section 18-3-503;
- A class 3 felony offense of human trafficking for sexual servitude, as described in section 18-3-504;
- Assault in the second degree, as described in section 18-3-203(1)(i); and
- Sexual exploitation of a child, as described in section 18-6-403 (5.5).
- Sentencing for a crime involving a pregnant victim pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401(13);
- Sentencing for a crime pertaining to a special offender pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-18-407. A defendant is classified as a special offender when he or she commits a drug felony under certain aggravating circumstances.
- Sentencing for a criminal conviction for which the underlying factual basis involves domestic violence as defined in C.R.S. § 18-6-800.3;
- Sentencing for a criminal conviction for a sexual offense pursuant to Part 4 of Article 3 of Titled 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
- Sentencing for any crime of violence pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-1.3-406. Crimes of violence include but are not limited to: any crime against an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile, murder, first or second degree assault, kidnapping, first degree arson, first degree burglary, escape, criminal extortion, first or second degree unlawful termination of pregnancy;
- Sentencing for a felony crime enumerated in C.R.S. § 24-4.1-302 (1). These felony crimes include but are not limited to: murder, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, menacing, kidnapping, indecent exposure, human trafficking and stalking;
- Sentencing for a felony offense in violation of C.R.S. 18-9-202. This includes felony convictions related to animal abuse.
- Sentencing for an offense classified as a class 1 or 2 felony or a level 1 drug felony pursuant to any section of Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
- Sentencing for an offense classified as a class 3 felony pursuant to any section of title 18, except for marijuana cultivation under C.R.S. § 18-18-106(8)(a)(II)(B) as it existed prior to July 1, 1992; C.R.S. § 18-18-406(8)(a)(II)(B) as it existed prior to August 11, 2010; or C.R.S. § 18-18-406(6)(a)(II)(B) as it existed prior to October 1, 2013;
- Sentencing for an offense in violation of: C.R.S. § 18-3.5-103 (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), and (9); 18-5-902 (1); or 18-7-203. These convictions include but are not limited to: identity theft, pandering, or unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
My Conviction is Eligible for Sealing, But How Long Do I Have to Wait After I Have Been Convicted to Begin the Process?
If you have been convicted of a crime that is eligible for sealing, that does not necessarily mean that you can seal your case immediately. Below describes how long you must wait before beginning the sealing process:
- No Wait Time
- Offenses committed by victims of human trafficking.
- 1 Year
- Petty offenses and drug petty offenses
- 2 Years
- Class 2 misdemeanors, class 3 misdemeanors, any drug misdemeanor, and level 4 drug felonies under C.R.S. § 18-18-403.5(2.5)
- 3 Years
- Class 4 felonies, class 5 felonies, class 6 felonies, level 3 drug felonies, level 4 drug felonies (except under 18-18-403.5(2.5)), and class 1 misdemeanors
- 5 Years
- All other offenses
If you have been convicted of another crime after being convicted for the charges you are trying to seal.
- 10 years
- If you have any intervening convictions, meaning that you have been convicted of other charges after the conviction that you are trying to seal.
Your time starts being calculated either from the end of your criminal proceedings or your release from supervision, whichever comes first.
My Case Is Eligible to Be Sealed and I Have Waited the Required Amount of Time, Now What?
It is time to contact an attorney to begin the sealing process! While this process may seem overwhelming and daunting, we are here to help.
- First, you will have a free consultation with your attorney who will confirm that your convictions are eligible for sealing and that you have waited the necessary time required.
- Second, your attorney will begin by requesting all the necessary discovery related to your case to ensure that the conviction will be properly sealed from your record.
- Third, your attorney will submit all the necessary petitions and proposed orders to the Court along with your current Criminal History Report.
- Lastly, the Court will decide whether to order the records to be sealed without proceeding to a hearing or if a hearing is necessary. If the Court determines that a hearing is necessary, then your attorney will argue to the court why your case should be sealed.
Once the Court grants your petition to seal your case, your attorney will mail off the necessary Orders and criminal report to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as well as the associated police agency. Once they receive all the proper documentation it typically takes 30 days for the conviction to be sealed from your record!
Other Important Factors to Consider
- If the Court denies your petition to seal, you must wait 12 months before filing again.
- If you have been convicted of multiple charges in one case, all of the charges must be eligible to seal; you cannot seal only particular charges from a case.
- All restitution ordered to be paid in your case must be paid before you are eligible for sealing.
- The convictions will be unsealed if you are convicted of a new crime.
- Sealing your case does not mean your charges are vacated.
- The government may still use sealed conviction records for any lawful purpose within the scope of its duties.
- Just because your case has been sealed does not mean that your conviction records are destroyed.