You’ve probably been asked, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” more times than you care to remember. It’s a legal question employers ask on job applications, determining whether you’re qualified for the position. But how do you answer if your criminal record is expunged?

The short answer is—say no! 

If you have an expunged record, then it’s like it never happened. After all, the record has been destroyed, and talking about it benefits no one. The long answer is still no—but with some caveats: was your criminal record expunged or sealed? These legal procedures are similar but different in important ways and can determine whether your criminal record could come back and haunt you. Let’s tackle the difference between these two, what type of convictions qualify for expungement, and how you can get help with your criminal record.

Colorado Expungements Vs. Sealing Criminal Records

Expungement proceedings physically destroy criminal convictions—meaning they won’t be accessible to the public, law enforcement officials, employers, landlords, or anyone else asking about your criminal history. So, if you’re asked about your record, you’re more than welcome to deny ever having a run-in with the law—since, legally speaking, it never happened. Because of the nature of expungements, they’re available in limited circumstances, meaning for most people looking to escape their criminal past, sealing records is the only option. Sealed records, like expungements, are hidden from public view. However, these records are still accessible to law enforcement by court order. This could mean that if you face new criminal charges, you run the risk of having your prior record unsealed and used against you.

What Convictions Can Be Expunged in Colorado?

Colorado laws allow expungement of the following convictions:

What Convictions Can Be Sealed in Colorado?

Colorado laws allow the sealing of the following records:

  • Arrest record that does not result in criminal charges
  • Dismissed cases
  • Acquittal court records
  • Cases where the defendant completed a diversion program
  • Convictions that received a pardon
  • Cases where the defendant received a deferred judgment

When Would I Be Asked About My Criminal Record? 

The past can be a good indicator of the future. This can lead people to use your past to determine what you may do in the future, and having a criminal record can make or break some opportunities for you. Here are two instances in which you may be asked about your criminal history.

Use of Criminal Records in Employment

On almost any job application, you will be asked to provide information about your past—job history, education, credit, and criminal history. If your conviction records are sealed or expunged, this will not show on a background check, and you are not required to provide this information. On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job within a government body, you’re seeking a professional license (doctor, lawyer, etc.), or dealing with sensitive information, and your records are sealed rather than expunged, you may be required to disclose it.

Use of Criminal Records in Future Criminal Proceedings

If you find yourself charged with another crime, law enforcement will have access to your past criminal record. An expunged criminal conviction will not show up; therefore, it will not affect you. However, sealed records may affect a new criminal investigation, sentencing, and other aspects of the case. To protect yourself, it’s best to get help from a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Worried About Your Future? Get Legal Help From Chaput Law

Have you been arrested or convicted of a crime? Are you struggling with putting your past behind you? Get legal help from Chaput Law. We’re a criminal defense and expungement law firm in Highlands Ranch, CO. We have helped countless Colorado residents work within the criminal justice system to seal or expunge their criminal records after being charged with crimes, including:

Contact our team today if you need to seal or expunge your record to protect your future.