Colorado Springs Expungement Lawyers
A criminal record can be a serious hindrance to a person’s pursuit of employment, housing, and other opportunities for a better life. Records include not only convictions, but arrests that may not move forward in the justice system. Colorado law seeks to make it easier for people to move on from the past, and our Colorado Springs sealing and expungement lawyers can help in that process.
Aviso Law wants to be sure that the fresh start promised by state law becomes a reality in people’s lives. We serve all of El Paso County and can be reached at (719) 356-5552 or by contacting us online.
The Difference Between Sealing & Expungement
The twin tools of sealing and expungement are similar in their impact on a person’s life, but they are two different concepts. Sealing simply means that a record cannot be accessed, whether that is by law enforcement or credit reporting agencies. Expungement goes one step further and literally wipes the record of the books.
Colorado is one of seven states that use the “clean slate” approach when it comes to sealing records. Generous to past defendants, the Clean Slate Act allows arrests and even certain convictions to be automatically sealed after a period of time. Examples include:
- When an arrest is made, but no charges are filed, the record of that arrest is automatically sealed.
- A civil infraction, which covers comparatively minor offenses such as selling cigarettes to someone underage, will be sealed 4 years after the original incident has been adjudicated.
- Petty offenses, examples of which are littering private property and third-degree criminal trespass, are automatically sealed 7 years after conviction.
- Misdemeanor crimes are also sealed after 7 years. A common example of a misdemeanor could be theft of property worth no more than $2,000.
- A felony conviction will be sealed 10 years after the crime.
It should be noted that automatic sealing does not apply to all possible crimes. Violent crimes and sex crimes that involve assault may not be sealed.
Defendants can apply to have their records sealed prior to the point when it is done automatically. To do so means a Colorado Springs sealing attorney will need to gather the records and file a motion with the relevant district court asking to have the record sealed. If approved, consumer reporting agencies will be legally obligated to exclude that information from those who might request a background check–notably employers and landlords.
Expungement is primarily used in juvenile law when the infractions committed by someone under the age of 18 can eventually be wiped from their record entirely. However, expungement can also be used by someone who was wrongly arrested.
While most juvenile records can be expunged, convictions for sex crimes, homicides, and other related charges cannot be expunged. At the other end of the criminal justice spectrum, traffic offenses like speeding cannot be expunged. But in between these two extremes, there is a wide range of youthful mistakes that don’t have to follow a person into adulthood.
Expungement does not happen automatically. There are cases, such as when charges are dropped or the statute of limitations to press charges passes with no action, that a Colorado Springs expungement lawyer can take immediate action. But all expungement does require the impacted person and their attorney to proactively file the petition.
In cases involving people under the age of 18, expungement can be sought after 1 year in convictions that only resulted in probation. There is a 3-year waiting period in cases that involved parole supervision or 5 years in the case of a repeat offender. Convictions for underage DUI can be expunged on the person’s 21st birthday.
Get the Fresh Start You Deserve
Everyone deserves a second chance. No one should have the mistakes of youth trailing them around forever. Colorado law reflects those ideals. Aviso Law is determined to see those ideals put into actual practice. Call our office today at (719) 356-5552 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation.
Every attorney will tell you they put their clients first. That is true for Aviso Law but it’s how we go about it that sets up apart. We understand the difference between being prepared and aggressive in courtrooms, while being understanding and pragmatic in client meetings. We believe in being realistic as well as easy to work with through all the phases of your case, both in and out of court; this saves you money and time while still receiving the service you deserve with the goal of achieving desired results.
To us, success isn’t measured by the years we’ve spent behind a desk but by the careers we’ve built, the contacts we’ve made, and the thousands of clients we’ve served to protect jobs, families, education, and reputations. We developed our careers in Colorado’s military and civil courts, successfully defending clients from all walks of life. We come highly rated by our clients and have received professional recognition for our work.
Breaking the Mold
We’re not your typical law firm. We don’t wear fancy suits (unless we have to in court) and we don’t hide behind big imposing desks. Reflective on our military roots, we strive to serve. We understand the legal process can be threatening and worrisome, which is why we work with our clients to get results. We aim to be respectful, diligent, and cost-effective while practicing the highest standards of legal representation.