From gaining the new freedom of a driver’s license to the influence of friends who may be experimenting with drugs, alcohol or other risky behaviors, the average American teenager faces many challenges before becoming a full adult.
Fortunately, Colorado state law recognizes that even good kids may make mistakes. In many cases, it may be possible to expunge a juvenile’s charge or conviction so that they no longer appear on public background checks.
1. The state may expunge certain charges automatically
In 2017, Colorado introduced a new law that makes expungement of certain juvenile charges automatic.
Juvenile charges may be eligible for automatic expungement if:
- The court found a teenager not guilty of a charge
- A judge dismissed the juvenile’s case
- The teen completed a juvenile sentence for a misdemeanor or petty offense
However, while automatic expungement may not require a formal petition, teens and parents concerned about a criminal record should confirm that the court has sealed the information at the end of the case.
2. Individuals may seek expungement when reaching adulthood
Misdemeanors and other relatively minor convictions may also be eligible for expungement once a teenager reaches adulthood. However, he or she may need to wait until a certain period of time has passed since the end of his or her case before pursuing record sealing.
3. Pursuing expungement may prevent ‘collateral consequences’
Even a minor infraction may have consequences that last for years to come. The ‘collateral’ fallout from a juvenile charge may result in obstacles to employment, educational and housing opportunities. Seeking expungement may help young adults and their families to find closure and move on toward a better future.