As of August 2016, a new law in Colorado makes sealing your record of criminal cases and arrests a whole lot easier. The law applies to cases that end in dismissal or acquittal. Cases that “end in dismissal,” include cases where the prosecutor dismisses the case entirely or where a defendant successfully completes a deferred prosecution (sometimes referred to as a “diversion”) or a deferred judgment. “Acquittal” is if you are found not guilty by a judge or a jury. Under the new law, whenever a case is dismissed or a person is acquitted, the person now only needs to make an oral motion or file a motion with the court where the case was pending, pay a $65 fee, follow any instructions from the court to notify law enforcement agencies, and her record is sealed!
The law did already allow people whose cases ended in dismissal or acquittal to seal their records. But under the previously existing law, a person had to file a separate petition to the District Court of the county where the case was pending, sometimes mail out a “Notice of Hearing” to numerous law enforcement and background check agencies if a hearing was set by the court, then, if the record was sealed, send via certified mail copies of the Order to seal the record to any background check agency that was listed on the petition. It was a time-consuming process, and the complicated process forced many people to hire attorneys just to seal their records.
The new law simplifies the process. Most importantly, it allows a person to file a motion with the court where the case is pending rather than having to file a separate petition into an entirely new District Court case. The motion can be made orally at the time the case is dismissed, or it can be made in writing any time after the case is dismissed. This saves a significant amount of time and money. Rather than paying filing and mailing costs, a person now only pays a $65 processing fee.
Overall, this is a smart policy move that cuts out a lot of red tape and makes it easier for folks to put their mistakes behind them. The people who receive deferred judgments and diversion agreements are usually first-time offenders, people who just made an error in judgment and can learn a lesson from the experience. They are the people who deserve the full benefit of that outcome.
If you or someone you know needs help seeing their record call Cheney Galluzzi & Howard today!
 Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-72-702
 C.R.S. § 24-72-702.5
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