Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes result in a criminal conviction. For most people, those convictions will remain on their permanent record for a lifetime.
Any criminal conviction has the potential to make your life complicated. Prospective landlords or employers frequently use criminal background checks during the application process. Even a minor criminal offense could impact your chances of obtaining employment or housing, among other things.
State law does provide a remedy to these consequences in limited situations. The Colorado Lawyer Team could advise you on your chances of clearing a conviction from the public eye through expungement or sealing. A Brush expungement and sealing lawyer might be able to help you undo some of the damage from a prior conviction.
While the terms sealing and expungement are often conflated, there is an important difference. Expungement involves removing an arrest or conviction from the public entirely. Sealing involves hiding criminal records from public view. Law enforcement will retain the ability to search for and locate sealed criminal records, however, the options for expungement under state law are far more restrictive than sealing criminal records. A local attorney could advise a person if they qualify for expungement or sealing.
There is a patchwork of different reasons why a judge might agree to seal criminal records. These grounds depend in part on whether a person was convicted of a crime or not. While sealing could be available for any charge that resulted in a dismissal or acquittal, the same cannot be said for a conviction.
Anyone that sees their charges dismissed or wins an acquittal at trial will not have a criminal conviction to speak of. That does not mean their criminal record is spotless, however. Criminal records also reflect the arrest. Even though an arrest might not lead to a conviction, it could be enough for a potential employer to look to other candidates. The court has the power to seal arrest records in these situations.
There are several situations where sealing might be available following a criminal conviction. These include certain drug possession convictions and non-drug petty offenses or municipal violations. A Brush expungement and sealing attorney could advise a person if they are entitled to have the court seal their records.
Expungement is unavailable in far fewer instances than sealing. The option for expungement is primarily available for charges committed by juveniles or minors under the age of 21.
The most common use of expungement occurs when juvenile reaches the age of majority. It could be possible to expunge a juvenile record if the person has not been adjudicated for any additional felony charges or misdemeanors related to domestic violence, sexual crimes, or weapons possession. Additionally, the juvenile must not have any pending criminal charges and should be current on any restitution owed.
Expungement could also be available for underage alcohol offenses. This primarily involves a conviction for underage possession of alcohol or marijuana.
Due to the nuances of expungement laws in Colorado, it can be a challenge to determine if you are entitled to relief. The Colorado Lawyer Team could advise you on your rights and help you throughout the process.
You may be entitled to have your arrest or conviction sealed without knowing it. A consultation with a Brush expungement and sealing lawyer could keep you informed. Call today to get started on your case.