Record sealing in Colorado (often mistakenly referred to as expungment) is possible to do in Colorado providing certain circumstances are present or certain conditions have been met by the person wishing to seal their records. Not all cases or all charges can be sealed or expunged and whether or not they can, depends upon the laws of the state in which the petition to seal is filed.
Record sealing and expungment are not the same thing and are covered by different laws or statutes in Colorado. Record sealing in Colorado refers to just that, the sealing of the record so that only certain criminal justice agencies can see that it existed. “Sealing” was a parlance of earlier times where a wax seal was placed across the file so that it could not be opened and /or it would be known immediately if the seal was broken. Expungment, on the other hand, literally means to remove by erasing or crossing out. In Colorado, it means that for all intents and purposes, the record is destroyed.
As with the laws of any state, the circumstances under which a person can or cannot seal or expunge a criminal record varies with the circumstances and facts of each case. Sealing is a fact specific inquiry, and the following is meant as a general guide only. Each case is completely different and no two cases have the same facts, circumstances, and/or even the same applicable Colorado Revised Statute. Further, with the changes to the Colorado Revised Statutes over the years, it is important to consult with a licensed professional attorney to guide you through any issues or complications. Assuming compliance with the applicable Colorado Revised Statute, there is nothing that prevents a person from sealing more than one charge or case at a time. Please note that a separate filing fee is required for each case petitioner asks the court to seal. Please contact a reputable law firm like Black & Graham to make sure you have complied with all applicable laws and to insure that your sealing or expungment protects you to the full extent of the law.
Much like credit reporting agencies, there are a multitude of companies that provide criminal records in the form of background checks. These agencies consist of private companies (for profit businesses) and governmental agencies like the DMV, police, courts, district attorney, etc.. It is important to insure that each organization is notified and listed as a party to the petition and the order to seal. The Law Firm of Black & Graham maintains a list of numerous organizations to insure that the client is protected to the fullest extent possible and will also work to insure that your records remain sealed. Further, because of the overabundance of internet and background research companies, it is essential that the petitioner be on guard for any violations of the sealing order. Please immediately notify an experienced attorney to make sure any court order to seal the record(s) is enforced to the full effect of the law.