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Colorado Law: Sealing Juvenile Records

A juvenile record may be sealed if the court finds that:

(1) the petitioner has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, or adjudicated as juvenile delinquent since the termination of the court’s jurisdiction or the juvenile’s release from parole supervision;

(2) there are no criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner;

(3) the petitioner has been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the court; and

(4) sealing the record is in the best interests of the petitioner and the community.

A juvenile record cannot be sealed for those:

(1) adjudicated as an aggravated juvenile offender or a violent juvenile offender;

(2) adjudicated for an offense that would constitute a crime of violence if the person had been an adult at the time of the offense;

(3) charged as an adult for a crime committed when a juvenile; or

(4) adjudicated for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior.

Effect.

Once the court seals a juvenile record, it is considered nonexistent with regard to public information and inspection, but it is still available to the judge and probation department for use in any future juvenile or adult sentencing hearing regarding the person who is the subject of the record. In addition, a district attorney, local law enforcement, and the Department of Human Services may view basic identifying information contained in a sealed record; this information is not open to inspection by the public or an agency of the military. The sealed record can only be viewed upon a finding of good cause at a court hearing.

Process.

Courts are required at the time of adjudication to advise defendants of the right to seal their juvenile record. A court may also initiate proceedings to seal the record. A petition must originate in the court that houses the record under consideration. The court sets a hearing date and notifies the prosecuting attorney and any other persons who might have relevant information related to sealing the record. After the hearing, the court may order the records sealed.

A person can petition the court to seal a juvenile record only once per year, and then only:

(1) immediately upon a finding of not guilty;

(2) one year after the date of contact with law enforcement if it did not result in a referral to another agency, or one year after completion of a juvenile diversion program;

(3) four years after termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile, or the juvenile’s release from commitment to the Department of Human Services or unconditional release from parole supervision; or

(4) ten years after termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile or the juvenile’s release from parole supervision, whichever date is later, if the juvenile has been adjudicated a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender, and has not committed another crime.

Sealing Minor in Possession Charges (MIP)

The Defendant may petition the County Court to seal his/her conviction for illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person.
 
The Defendant may only petition the Court to seal the conviction if he/she meets both requirements listed below:

1. The conviction was entered at least one year prior to the date of filing of the Petition and

2. The Defendant has not been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any felony, misdemeanor, or petty offense during the period of one year following the date of the Defendant’s conviction.
  
The Petition to Seal is filed in the Misdemeanor court case where the conviction was entered.

The Court, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies will always have access to the file. The files are not destroyed.  However, as provided under the statute, if inquiries are made by anyone other than a criminal justice agency, all agencies must respond that “no such record exists with respect to such person”.

For additional information, please review Colorado Revised Statute §18-13-122.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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