FAQ How to Seal a Domestic Violence Case That Has Been Dismissed
Sealing / Expunging Colorado Domestic Violence Cases (that have been dismissed – or never filed after an arrest has occurred)
In Colorado – if you are fortunate enough to obtain a dismissal by agreement with the District Attorney, by virtue of a tactical approach to the case – through a motion to suppress or dismiss, or as a result of an acquittal in a jury trial, OR if the government decides not to file a case after reviewing it with or without the input from a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – then you may be eligible to have the record sealed.
Here is a background piece to help you understand the law:
Most criminal justice records, including arrest records and court dispositions, are open to public inspection under Colorado law. In the past, someone who wanted to view another person’s criminal record could do so only by traveling to the appropriate locale. With the proliferation of the Internet and electronic filing capabilities, many criminal records can now be accessed online. The convenience offered by electronic technology has thus expanded public access to criminal justice records. Colorado law allows criminal records to be sealed in certain situations.
This webpage explains which adult and juvenile records can be sealed and how to petition for sealing them.
Colorado law requires that all official actions taken by a criminal justice agency be recorded and open to public inspection. The criminal justice agency that takes an action is responsible for maintaining the associated records. Colorado law also requires each criminal justice agency in the state to furnish to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) all arrest, identification, and final charge dispositional information on persons arrested in the state for federal, state, or out-of-state criminal offenses, and onpersons admitted to serve a sentence of incarceration.
“Official action” means an arrest; indictment; charge by a district attorney; disposition; pretrial or post trial release from custody; judicial determination of mental or physical condition; decision to grant, order, or terminate probation, parole, or participation in a correctional or rehabilitative program; and any decision to formally discipline, reclassify, or relocate any person under a criminal sentence
For a minimal fee, any person or employer may obtain criminal history information from the CBI’s records check system and court case information from the Judicial Department’s Integrated Colorado On-Line Network (ICON).
Sealing Adult Records
All information in a criminal justice record except basic identifying information may be sealed if the person in question was acquitted, the charges were dismissed, or a decision was made not to file charges. In addition, records pertaining to an offense that was not charged due to a plea agreement in a separate case can be sealed 15 years after the last date of all criminal proceedings against the person who is the subject of the record, as long as no additional charges were filed against that person during the 15- year period. Records for a case that was dismissed as part of a plea agreement in a separate case may be sealed according to the same conditions. Courts are required to provide a written advisement of this right to defendants as long as they meet the criteria.
“Basic identification information” means the name, place and date of birth, lastknown address, social security number, occupation and place of employment, physical description, photograph, handwritten signature, sex, fingerprints, and any
Records pertaining to the following cannot be sealed:
(1) a conviction for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired;
(2) a conviction of unlawful sexual behavior;
(3) any class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offense; and
(4) any class A or B traffic infraction.
Once a court seals an adult record, it is treated as nonexistent for purposes of public information and inspection. If asked about a sealed record, the person who is the subject of the record and all criminal justice agencies may state that no such record exists. A job applicant cannot be required to disclose any information contained in sealed records and may state that no criminal action has ever occurred. The only people who can petition a court to view a sealed record are the person who is the subject of the record in question, and the prosecuting attorney for the record in question. Process. A person who is the primary subject of a criminal justice record, or any representative designated by that person by power of attorney or notarized authorization, may petition a court to seal the record. The individual must contact the court housing the record, request a hearing, and identify the record to be sealed.
In turn, the court first determines whether there are grounds to proceed to a hearing on the petition. If the petition can proceed, the court sets a hearing date. The petitioner must notify the prosecuting attorney and the arresting agency of the pending petition hearing. If the court determines that the potential harm to the petitioner outweighs the public interest in retaining the record, the court may order the record sealed. The petitioner is then responsible for providing the CBI and all other custodians of the records, such as local law enforcement and district attorneys, with a copy of the order. The petitioner may also request, and the court may grant, an order sealing any related civil case records.