Sealing of Criminal Records

No one wants to experience the stigma associated with a permanent criminal record, regardless of whether the charges were ultimately dismissed. Colorado law provides for the sealing of criminal records, but only under specific and limited circumstances.  One is eligible to petition to seal his or her records if charges were never filed, if charges were filed but all were subsequently dismissed, or if the defendant was found not guilty of all charges at trial.

A petition to seal one's criminal records is a civil proceeding that is separate and distinct from the underlying criminal case, and is filed in the District Court of the judicial district in which the case arose.  After a petition is filed, the matter is set for hearing and a notice is sent to all interested parties, namely the relevant law enforcement agency, the District Attorney’s office, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation among others.  The notice advises the interested parties of their right to object to the petition, and sets a time period within which a written objection must be filed. If no objections are filed, the petition may be granted without a hearing before a judge.  Should one or more objections be filed, the Court will schedule a hearing and evidence will be presented. At such a hearing, the Court will determine whether the individual’s right to privacy outweighs the public’s need to have the information remain permanently of record. 

Upon the granting of a petition to seal, the interested agencies receive a written court order directing that their records be sealed.  It is important to be aware that a sealing of records does not in every way prevent access to this information by narrow categories of officials.  Of primary importance, however, the information absolutely may not be disseminated to the public, and it is a crime to do so.  The granting of the petition allows the subject of the petition to treat the underlying criminal matter as if it never occurred.  This is the goal of such efforts, so that one may honestly state that no arrest, charging, or other proceedings related to the criminal ever took place.

While those who do not meet the criteria for sealing criminal records must live with the stigma of a permanent criminal record, those who are eligible to remove the event from the public records should not hesitate to take action.  Because the process takes an average of three to four months to complete, it is not prudent to wait until an educational, career, or other opportunity arises that may be lost unless the record is immediately sealed. 

Click below to read the official Colorado statutory provisions relating to sealing of records and State of Colorado brochure:

Sealing of records (24-72-308)

Sealing of Adult Criminal Records brochure

  • Alexander Garlin has been successful in obtaining orders to seal criminal records after obtaining outcomes in the underlying criminal cases that met the eligibility criteria for sealing criminal records.

Criminal Defense Attorneys Alexander Garlin is available to pursue sealing of records on behalf of clients represented by Garlin Driscoll, LLC, in the underlying criminal matter, as well as for new clients.  Whether you contact Garlin Driscoll, LLC, or other qualified attorneys, we recommend that you do so without delay so that you can better understand your circumstances, and thereby promote informed decision making that could significantly improve the ultimate outcome of your case.

The criminal defense attorneys at Garlin Driscoll, LLC welcome your inquiry and do not charge for initial telephone, e-mail and/or office consultations.

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