In Colorado, it is usually not possible to expunge or "seal" a conviction from your criminal record, even if you have completed probation. There are, however, exceptions, for municipal violations, petty offenses, crimes involving controlled substances, and a few other specific offenses. (Colorado Statutes §§ 24-72-704 to 24-72-710 (2019).)
If you were arrested but released without being charged with a crime, or were arrested and charged with a crime but not convicted, you can probably have your records sealed. After sealing, it is as though the arrest or charge never occurred, and you generally don’t have to disclose the information if you are asked about it. (Colorado Statutes §§ 24-72-702, 24-72-702.5, 24-72-703 (2019).)
Here is a summary of Colorado’s laws governing expungement of adult criminal records.
You may petition to have your criminal record sealed if:
There are some exceptions to this rule. If you were not charged because of a plea agreement in another case or you have failed to meet all the conditions of your sentence, your record won’t be sealed. If your case was dismissed because of a plea agreement in another case, your record cannot be sealed unless you wait ten years after the disposition of your case to apply. You must not have been charged with any other crimes in that ten year period in order to be eligible.
Sealing is not possible for records concerning:
(Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-72-702 (2019).)
CASES OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY
If you were arrested as a result of mistaken identity but not charged with a crime, your record is eligible for expungement. Within 90 days after your arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency must file an expungement petition with the district court, stating that your arrest was due to mistaken identity and that no charges were filed. The court must expunge the record within 90 days of the filing. (Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-72-701.5 (2019).)
If you were convicted of an offense involving a controlled substance and you have satisfied all the conditions of your sentence, you may petition to have your records sealed if:
There are some limitations on the types of controlled substance offenses that may be sealed under this law. Carefully read Colorado Statutes § 24-72-704 (2019) or consult a criminal law attorney.
If you were convicted of an offense involving a controlled substance and you have satisfied all the conditions of your sentence, you may petition to have your records sealed if the offense is:
Carefully read Colorado Statutes § 24-72-705 (2019) or consult a criminal law attorney to find out if the law applies to your specific circumstances.
If you were convicted of a petty offense or a municipal violation, you may petition to have your record sealed if it has been at least three years since the end of all criminal proceedings against you or your release from supervision concerning a criminal conviction, whichever is later. If the record you wish to seal involves domestic violence, you must not have been charged with or convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or misdemeanor traffic offense during the three-year waiting period in order to qualify. All other petty offenses or municipal violation conviction records can be sealed even if you have had a conviction during the waiting period, if:
Conviction records for misdemeanor traffic offenses committed while you were the holder of a commercial driver’s license or operating a commercial motor vehicle cannot be sealed.
(Colorado Statutes § 24-72-708 (2019).)
Victims of human trafficking and prostitution crimes. If you were convicted of prostitution, soliciting for prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, or public indecency as a result of having been a victim of human trafficking, you may petition to have your record sealed. (Colorado Statutes § 24-72-706 (2019).)
Posting a private image for harassment or pecuniary gain offenses. If you were convicted of posting a private image for harassment or pecuniary gain (often referred to as “revenge porn” crimes), you may petition to have the record sealed if you have satisfied all terms of your sentence and have not been convicted of another crime for at least five years after the completion of your sentence. (Colorado Statutes § 24-72-709 (2019).)
Decriminalized marijuana use or possession misdemeanors. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor offense for the use or possession of marijuana that would not have been a crime on or after December 10, 2012, you may petition to have the related record sealed. (Colorado Statutes § 24-72-705 (2019).)
If a law enforcement agency collected a biological sample from you while investigating a crime, you can petition to have that evidence expunged in some circumstances. Consider a petition for expungement if:
This law does not apply if you were arrested, charged with, or convicted of a separate offense for which collection of a biological sample was permitted. (Colorado Revised Statutes § 16-23-105 (2019).)
You can find the official Petition to Seal Arrest & Criminal Records at the Colorado Courts website. But be aware that cleaning up your criminal record can be complicated, and the law can change at any time. To learn more about expunging criminal records in Colorado—and to discuss your personal circumstances—you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.