Can I Get My Colorado DUI Criminal Records Sealed?
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in Colorado, you likely know how life-changing the effects of such a conviction can be—particularly the criminal record that comes along with it. It is typically very unlikely that you will be able to get your DUI records expunged, so you may be left wondering: Can I get my Colorado DUI criminal records sealed?
What is a record seal in Colorado?
Let’s start at the beginning. What is a criminal record seal? A criminal record seal means that your criminal history will be hidden from public view. After a criminal record seal in Colorado, your criminal record will not appear in a background check, effectively making it so that your crimes do not exist.
These record seals will greatly impact your life in terms of employment, and the financial costs associated with car insurance and other institutions that take note of criminal records.
The process of obtaining a record seal usually involves obtaining copies of past police reports, filing a petition with the court, and paying a filing fee. If you are granted a record seal, then you are legally able to deny ever having been arrested or convicted of a crime (though there are a few rare exceptions to this rule).
Who are record seals available to?
Record seals are not made readily available to everyone under Colorado law. The offenses that can be sealed under Colorado law include:
- Drug crimes
- Petty offenses
- Municipal violations
- Underage alcohol and marijuana offenses
- Underage drinking and driving
- Juvenile offenses
Can I get my Colorado DUI criminal records sealed?
Unfortunately, the simple answer to this is: No. Why? Because unless your DUI occurred when you were underage—and was therefore likely charged as a UDD (underage drinking and driving)—then you are not eligible to have your records sealed. A DUI is one of 7 offenses in Colorado that can never be sealed.
If your DUI offense did occur when you were underage and your blood alcohol level was between 0.02% and 0.05% then you will be able to get your records sealed immediately after the age of 21. Typically, a judge will seal the record if you are eligible for the record to be sealed, however, the decision is still within the judge’s discretion so a record seal is never guaranteed.
How do I get records sealed?
If you’re eligible to get your records sealed, there are 6 steps you must follow:
- Get copies of your criminal records from the police department
- Obtain a current criminal history check from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations
- Fill out the petition to seal form and any other necessary forms that go with it
- File your petition at the appropriate court (usually the court in which the case occurred)
- Wait while the court reviews the petition—during this step the court will either accept or deny your petition
- If your petition is accepted, send copies of the order to seal your criminal record to all of the necessary agencies that have your criminal records on file (such as the police department).
It can take from days to weeks to get your criminal records sealed and there is no cost to the process for those who are petitioning to get their underage DUI records sealed.