Colorado Passes Criminal Records "Clean Slate Act"

Author: Robert S. Teachout, Brightmine Legal Editor

June 13, 2022

A new law in Colorado aims to help persons with a criminal history improve their chances of employment by automatically sealing certain arrest and conviction records.

Under the Clean Slate Act, any arrest records that do not result in a conviction will be automatically sealed beginning in 2024. Other records for certain criminal convictions will be automatically sealed after a specified length of time, provided the person whose record it is has not committed an intervening crime:

  • Civil infractions, four years after final disposition of the case;
  • Petty offenses and misdemeanors, after seven years; and
  • Felonies, 10 years after final disposition or release from jail, whichever is later.

Violent crimes (such as assault, sexual assault, robber and murder) that are covered by the Colorado Crime Victims Rights Act are ineligible. The law also does not permit records to be sealed if the defendant has not fully paid all restitution, fines or court fees related to the case.

The new law amends the Colorado Consumer Credit Reporting Act to require consumer reporting agencies to exclude sealed and expunged records from a consumer report, except in limited circumstances where the user of the report demonstrates they must consider the information under state or federal law. Employers sometimes use consumer credit reports for preemployment screening of job applicants.

Colorado joins Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah, which have similar laws.