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What Charges Are Eligible to Be Sealed in Colorado? (Updated 10.25.2022)

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Expungement. Pardon. Sealing. Commutation.

Across the country, states use different terms to refer to removing a charge or conviction from your criminal record. In Colorado, adult criminal records can be "sealed" from public record, meaning public agencies cannot see the arrest, charge or conviction, and the defendant can respond that the records do not exist when responding to a public agency. However, an order sealing an arrest or other criminal records does not deny access to the records by any court, law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, prosecuting attorney, or party or agency required by law to conduct a criminal history check.

Now that you know the effect a sealing order in Colorado can have on your criminal record, what types of charges are eligible to be sealed? In most cases, a certain period of time must go by from the date of conviction, or the final date of completing a sentence, before a defendant may apply to seal their criminal record. Also, prior to September 2021, there must have been no new convictions on the defendant's record after the date of conviction of the record they are trying to seal. However, after September 2021, the Colorado law changed to allow a defendant to file a petition to seal, even if they have been convicted subsequently. This applies only in limited circumstances. For more details on this change, visit my blog post on changes to the Colorado sealing laws in 2021.

Determining eligibility to seal records can be a complicated process and it is recommended that you obtain the advice of competent legal counsel. The following list of eligible offenses, as well as those that are not eligible, is a summary of the current state of law but is not comprehensive.

Any case that was dismissed or in which a deferred judgement was completed successfully must be sealed.

The timelines listed below begin from the date of conviction or the date of release from court supervision, whichever is later.


Convictions that are eligible to be sealed and timeline before filing:

  • Petty offense, drug petty offense, or civil infraction: 1 year

  • Class 2 or 3 misdemeanor, any drug misdemeanor, or DF$ for 18-18-403.5(2.5): 2 years

  • Class 4, 5, or 6 felony, level 3 or 4 drug felony, and class 1 misdemeanor: 3 years

  • All other eligible offenses: 5 years

Convictions that are not eligible to be sealed:

  • Class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses

  • Class A or B traffic infraction

  • DUI or DWAI

  • Sentencing for a criminal conviction for:

  • felony cruelty to animals;

  • any class 1, 2, or 3 felony or a level 1 drug felony;

  • identify theft;

  • unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first degree;

  • pandering;

  • a sexual offense, pursuant to C.R.S. 18-3-401 thru 18-3-418;

  • a crime of violence (see below);

  • a crime in which the underlying factual basis involves domestic violence;

  • a special offender crime, pursuant to C.R.S. 18-18-407;

  • a crime involving a pregnant victim

  • An offense for which the underlying factual basis involved unlawful sexual behavior; meaning any of the following offenses or attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these offenses:

  • Sexual assault;

  • Unlawful sexual contact;

  • Enticement of a child;

  • Incest;

  • Human trafficking for sexual servitude;

  • Sexual exploitation of children;

  • Procurement of a child for sexual exploitation;

  • Indecent exposure;

  • Soliciting a child for prostitution;

  • Pandering of a child;

  • Procurement of a child' keeping a place of child prostitution;

  • Pimping of a child;

  • Inducement of child prostitution;

  • Patronizing a prostituted child;

  • Engaging in sexual conduct in a correctional institution;

  • Wholesale promotion of obscenity of a minor;

  • Promotion of obscenity to a minor;

  • Class 4 felony internet luring of a child;

  • Internet sexual exploitation of a child;

  • Pubic indecency if a second offense is committed within five years of the previous offense or a third or subsequent offense is committed;

  • Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification;

  • Second degree kidnapping;

  • Unlawful electronic sexual communication; and

  • Unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer.

  • A conviction that is subject to a sentence for a crime of violence, including the following offenses:

  • Any of the following committed, conspired to be committed, or attempted to be committed by a person during which the person used or possessed and threatened use of a deadly weapon; or caused serious bodily injury or death to any other person except another participant:

  • any crime against an at-risk adult or juvenile;

  • murder;

  • first or second degree assault;

  • kidnapping;

  • a sexual offense against a person;

  • aggravated robbery;

  • first degree arson;

  • first degree burglary;

  • escape;

  • criminal extortion; or

  • first or second degree unlawful termination of pregnancy.

  • If any of the following were true at the time of commission of a felony:

  • the defendant was on parole for another felony;

  • the defendant was on probation or was on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for another felony;

  • the defendant was under confinement, in prison or in any correctional institution as a convicted felon, or an escapee from any correctional institution;

  • the defendant was on appeal bond following his conviction for a previous felony;

  • the defendant was on probation for or on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for a delinquent act that would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult

  • A conviction that is subject to a sentence for an extraordinary risk crime, which could include the following:

  • Aggravated robbery; child abuse; unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, distribute, manufacture, or dispense; any crime of violence; stalking; sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances; felony invasion of privacy for sexual gratification; human trafficking; assault in the second degree by suffocation.

  • A conviction that is subject to one of more of the following provisions:

  • Sentencing for a criminal conviction for felony of the following crimes:

  • Murder in the first or second degree;

  • Manslaughter;

  • Criminally negligent homicide;

  • Vehicular homicide;

  • Assault in the first or second degree;

  • Vehicular assault;

  • Menacing;

  • First or second degree kidnapping;

  • Sexual assault;

  • Unlawful sexual contact;

  • Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification;

  • Robbery;

  • Incest;

  • Child abuse;

  • Sexual exploitation of children;

  • Crimes against at-risk adults or at-risk juveniles;

  • Crime of domestic violence;

  • Stalking;

  • A bias-motivated crime;

  • Retaliation or intimidation of a witness;

  • Tampering with a witness;

  • Indecent exposure;

  • Human trafficking;

  • First degree burglary;

  • Retaliation against a judge; and

  • Crimes involving child prostitution.

Misdemeanor Exception:

  • An ineligible misdemeanor offense is eligible for sealing if the DA consents to the sealing OR if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the petitioner's need for sealing is significant and substantial, the passage of time is such that the petitioner is no longer a threat to public safety, and the public disclosure of the record is no longer necessary to protect or inform the public.

Consult A. Moffitt Law today to determine if your conviction is eligible to be sealed.

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