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Colorado Expungement Laws

Colorado Expungement Laws

One who wishes to have their criminal records expunged in Colorado must not be guilty of a crime. Colorado has very few laws on expungement because the State does not find criminal records to be problematic. The State of Colorado sees that criminal records are a necessary aspect of the criminal justice process. They provide the public with vital information that could be used to ensure their citizens’ security and well-being.

Criminal records are also a tool that allows judges to give harsher punishments to repeat offenders. Therefore, it is a justifiable consequence of a crime. The additional weight of having committed a crime is a price criminals should have to pay. In all fairness, however, Colorado law shows some discretion for those who were wrongfully accused or acquitted for their crimes alleged against them.

The conditions under which a person may petition a court for expungement in the State of Colorado are simple. They mainly involve cases in which a person had not been charged or was acquitted or the trial had been dismissed. If a case was dismissed due to plea bargain, a person is only eligible for motion of expungement after 15 years after the final day of settlement and if the person had not been charged with a crime for 15 or more years. 

This may seem harsh but is generally considered fair because in the case that a plea agreement is reached, the question of guilt or innocence is not determined. Therefore, it should be difficult to have the criminal record expunged. The circumstances of a given case are also considered by the courts.

Some traffic offenses may not be expunged from the record. Unlawful sexual behaviors are also not eligible to be erased from criminal records. DUI convictions may be eligible for erasure from someone's criminal records under the conditions that the person submits a request to the court, is over 21 and all court proceedings regarding the DUI are concluded, the individual has not been charged with any crime while under 21 years of age, and has paid all the fines and fees associated with the DUI offense.

Colorado expungement laws also provide for the automatic erasure of arrest records every three years.