Serving Clients Since 1986
The Decisions You Make Today
Will Impact Your Family's Future
Let Us Help You Make the Right Ones

How Does Colorado Handle DUI Expungements?

Latest News

Why Can a Colorado DUI Conviction Be Detrimental to Your Future?

A DUI arrest can have many immediate and serious impacts on your life. Your driver’s license may be suspended, and you could face many court dates as your innocence or guilt is determined. You will likely face jail time, fines, and other potential consequences if a conviction occurs. But the ramifications of a DUI conviction can last long after you’ve completed the terms of your sentence.

Your criminal record may limit your upward mobility by stymying your attempts to seek government funding for higher education or obtain better-paying employment. Many wonder if expunging their DUI conviction could help secure a better future for themselves and their families. However, Colorado has strict rules for the sealing or expunging of criminal records, and many cases will not qualify. A Colorado DUI defense attorney can explain what you need to know about expungement and whether it could benefit your situation.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is a legal process that essentially destroys the records of a conviction or arrest. Once a record has been expunged, the individual can legally deny the existence of the expunged record, with some limited exceptions. Even after expungement, the records may still be accessible to law enforcement and some government agencies, though they are removed from public view. Expungement of certain criminal records can be extremely useful for individuals seeking employment that may require a background check or when applying for government benefits.

Expungement is different from a pardon. A pardon forgives the offense but does not erase the record, while expungement removes the record entirely. Eligibility for expungement varies widely by jurisdiction, with some states allowing it for certain misdemeanors or juvenile offenses while others restrict it to very limited cases. Understanding the requirements and limitations for getting your record removed before beginning the petition process is essential.

Can an Adult DUI Conviction Be Expunged in Colorado?

Unfortunately, if an adult is found guilty or pleads guilty to a DUI in Colorado, the conviction cannot be expunged from their record. The court has determined that this includes cases where there has been a deferred judgment. Once a DUI conviction occurs, the record of the conviction will remain and will be visible in background checks forever. A criminal record can often affect employment, housing, and financial opportunities.

Additionally, an adult DUI conviction also cannot be sealed in Colorado. The only way to ensure that you do not have a DUI on your record is to avoid a conviction in the first place. If you are charged with a DUI, seeking legal representation and attempting to get the charges dropped or dismissed or obtaining an acquittal at trial is critical. While a plea deal may seem like a good decision when faced with severe legal penalties, it’s vital to carefully discuss your options and decision with a qualified DUI defense attorney to ensure you fully understand the long-term ramifications of your actions.

Can You Seek Expungement for an Adult DUI Arrest Without a Conviction?

While it is generally not possible to have your adult DUI arrest expunged, you may be able to get it sealed if you were never convicted.

Sealing a record makes it inaccessible to the general public, although certain government agencies can still view it. A sealed record does not get destroyed in the same way an expunged record does. However, sealing a DUI arrest will remove it from background checks, which can be helpful for some individuals.

If you were arrested for a DUI after January 1, 2022, and the prosecutors did not pursue charges within a year, your record should be automatically sealed. If you were arrested for a DUI, then subsequently acquitted, or the charges were dismissed or dropped, you can request to have your arrest sealed by filing a petition with the court. You must request a copy of your record from the police, fill out a Motion to Seal Non-Conviction Records, and file it with the appropriate court. A judge will review your request, and if they order the record to be sealed, you may send a copy of the judge’s order to all agencies that possess your record.

Can Juvenile DUI Convictions Be Expunged?

The only DUI convictions eligible for expungement under Colorado state law are for juveniles convicted of underage drinking and driving (UDD). However, several conditions must be met for the case to be considered for expungement. For a UDD to be a candidate for expungement, the individual must:

  • Currently be 21 years of age or older.
  • Have completed all terms of their original sentence.
  • Have no other UDD convictions.

If you are considering seeking the expungement of your juvenile record, it can be helpful to consult with a skilled attorney. They can advise you on whether expungement is an option for your conviction and assist you with all steps of the petition process.

How Can an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Help You Keep Your Record Clean?

Unless you were a juvenile when the incident occurred, a Colorado DUI conviction is not eligible for expungement and will remain visible on your criminal record forever. Your best option for preventing the possible challenges posed by having a criminal record is avoiding a DUI conviction in the first place. Seeking the guidance and representation of a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney from Liberty Law Center who can investigate your unique case and build a robust, personalized defense plan can be crucial to your future. To request a free consultation, contact our Colorado Springs office at 719-602-7381.

Related Articles