Can a DUI be expunged in Colorado?

After a person has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Colorado, the possible fines and terms of incarceration involved are usually the immediate concerns. In many cases, however, people face the additional consequences of having their drunk driving arrest on their criminal records.

The offenses listed on criminal records do not disappear with the passage of time. Once a person is arrested for any crime, the record of that arrest remains on their criminal record indefinitely unless the individual takes action to have the record removed. In certain cases, convictions may affect a person’s voting or firearm rights.

In such cases, individuals often hope that they may be able to seal or expunge the DUIs from their criminal records. Colorado has very strict requirements relating to the sealing or expunging of criminal records, and DUIs are typically very difficult to remove. Cases can become further complicated depending on whether a person was charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Are you currently facing DUI charges or are you seeking a way to have your resolved case sealed or expunged in Colorado? You will want to make sure that you retain legal counsel for assistance with all of the required paperwork involved in attempting to seal or expunge your criminal record.

I am a former prosecutor who knows the system and understands how to help people who have a DUI on their record get their record expunged. I help clients all over the greater Colorado Springs area, and can help you when you call  (719) 577-9700 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a consultation with me today.

Expunging Criminal Records vs. Sealing Criminal Records

Expunging or sealing a criminal record is important to many people because the effects of criminal records can impact multiple facets of a person’s life. A DUI arrest can negatively impact employment, housing, and professional licensing applications.

Many people use expunging and sealing criminal records interchangeably, but these are actually two completely different processes. When a person expunges their criminal record, the actual record is destroyed. When a record is sealed it is merely hidden from the general public, but the record still remains accessible to law enforcement and other agencies.  Since expungement completely erases the record., the burden to have a criminal record expunged is much higher than to have the record sealed.

Eligibility to expunge or seal criminal records depends on several other factors, including whether a person was convicted and how long ago the crime occurred. It can take anywhere between three to six months to seal or expunge a criminal record.

A person petitions the District Court in the county in which the records of their DUI arrests are stored. When a petition to seal or expunge a criminal record is approved, it may take a minimum of three months before the criminal record disappears from criminal background checks. Generally, the same amount of time that it takes for the court to schedule your hearing after you file your petition is how long it will take for agencies to be notified of the sealing or expunging of a criminal record.

Keep in mind, that in the case where a person’s criminal record contains multiple charges, a separate application to seal or  expunge those records must be made for each charge unless they are related to the same offense.

Once a criminal record is sealed or expunged, you are no longer legally obligated to disclose your arrest. It is important to note that a court does have the power to unseal a criminal record if you are later convicted for another criminal offense.

Colorado strictly regulates the types of criminal offenses that can be sealed or expunged. Some offenses. are eligible to be sealed but not expunged. Adult convictions are only eligible to be sealed under limited circumstances.  However, under Colorado law, records of a DUI conviction are not eligible to be expunged or sealed.

When a DUI Can Be Expunged in Colorado

A DUI arrest can only be expunged in certain cases. You  may be able to expunge a DUI arrest if:

  •     The DUI arrest did not result in a conviction. That is you were arrested for a DUI but criminal charges were never filed; arrested for a DUI but criminal charges were never filed; the DUI charges were ultimately dismissed; or you were acquitted of DUI charges.
  •     The DUI case must have occurred at least 10 years before the date the person applies to have their record expunged.
  •     You have not faced any new new criminal charges since your DUI arrest.

Alternatives to Expunging DUI Records

Since a DUI conviction remains a permanent part of your criminal record, its important to avoid a conviction in the first place.   As soon as you are arrested, you should immediately contact an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney who can fight to help you obtain the most favorable outcome to your case, including possibly having your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Some people may be placed into diversion programs that allow for the sealing of records later.

A more favorable outcome to your original case can often help make sealing or expunging your record later on more achievable. Filing fees associated with adult cases are often more expensive than those associated with juvenile cases.

Contact Us Today

When a person is arrested for a DUI in Colorado, they are often facing a number of different possible penalties if they are convicted. Even when these people are able to avoid convictions, the criminal records of their arrests can still create numerous problems because they will continue to appear in most common public background searches.

If you are facing DUI charges or want to seal or expunge a DUI arrest in Colorado, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. Expunging or sealing a criminal record is an incredibly challenging and frustrating process for the average person, and you will want to make sure that you are working with somebody who understands the complexities of these cases and knows how to present that arguments that can result in your record being effectively expunged or sealed.

As a former prosecutor, I have the experience to help my clients with any issues stemming from DUI arrests in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. Schedule a confidential case evaluation by calling me at (719) 577-9700 or by filling out a contact form online.