If you are facing a domestic violence charge or have been arrested for domestic violence in Colorado, it’s time to take action. Your future is simply too important not to do everything you can to defend your rights and mitigate the effects of a domestic violence charge to the degree possible. While you can never have a criminal conviction related to domestic violence expunged from your record in the state of Colorado, you may have a domestic violence charge sealed. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you need an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney in your corner.
You Cannot Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction in Colorado
Even if you are not ultimately charged with domestic violence after being arrested, the arrest itself will go on your record. If you’re arrested, it’s on your record – whether charges are brought against you or not – and when that charge is domestic violence, it can reverberate throughout your life with profoundly negative consequences.
If, however, there is a conviction on your record, the matter is even more serious. A domestic violence conviction stays on your record forever in Colorado, regardless of whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony or whether you are convicted at trial or reach a plea agreement beforehand.
While you can petition the court to have your arrest record sealed if the domestic violence charge against you is ultimately sealed, it’s complicated, and working closely with a dedicated Colorado criminal defense attorney is in your best interest.
Bringing Your Strongest Defense
If you are facing a domestic violence charge, bringing your strongest defense from the outset is imperative. In addition to the legal penalties and fines you face, there are significant social consequences that can be difficult to overcome if the charge isn’t dropped and your record isn’t sealed. Because criminal charges are a matter of public record, all the following can apply to that domestic violence charge on your record:
- You can have a difficult time finding a new job or could lose your current job.
- Certain professionals risk losing their professional licensure altogether.
- Those with aspirations of furthering their education can expect to be denied access to federal student loans, may find it more difficult to gain acceptance to the colleges of their choice, and may be denied the right to live on campus if they do gain acceptance.
- You can experience a downturn in your social standing overall.
- If the charge is a felony, you can lose certain constitutional rights, such as the right to own a gun.
- You can have a difficult time finding a place to rent, and you may have a hard time obtaining a home loan.
How Sealing Differs from Expungement
When someone’s record is sealed, it means that it becomes invisible for most purposes. In other words, the matter that’s been sealed should not show up on any background checks (such as those made by prospective employers or landlords). The police and prosecutors, however, can still gain access to the information. It’s important to remember that a domestic violence record can only be sealed if you are not charged after being arrested or if you are charged, but the charge is ultimately dropped.
Expungement, on the other hand, means that the record in question is physically destroyed. In Colorado, the only records that can be expunged are underage drinking and driving (UDD) and juvenile offenses.
Your Arrest Record Can Hurt You
Simply having a domestic violence charge on your record can look bad to prospective employers, landlords, and loan officers. If the charge against you is ultimately dismissed, you may think you’re in the clear, but that isn’t how the law works in Colorado. While it’s true that only if your domestic violence charge is ultimately dismissed can you have the matter sealed, it won’t happen automatically – there is a legal process involved. While you cannot have your domestic violence charge sealed unless it is first dismissed, it won’t happen automatically.
Learn More about What it Means to Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction in Colorado
While some states allow various charges to be expunged from one’s record, the state of Colorado is not one of them. If you are facing a domestic violence charge that is ultimately dismissed, you may have the charge sealed, which can prove very beneficial to you and your future. When domestic violence charges are involved, the matter is serious, and our accomplished Colorado criminal defense attorneys – proudly serving Douglas, El Paso, Teller, and Pueblo counties – are well prepared and well-positioned to help. To learn more about what we can do for you, please do not wait to contact or call us to schedule a free consultation today.