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Colorado Criminal Lawyer Series – Why A Rap Sheet For Just An Arrest Can Change Your Life

Colorado Criminal Lawyer Series - Why A Rap Sheet For Just An Arrest Can Change Your LifeBy H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – email the Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

Colorado Criminal Lawyer Series – Why A Rap Sheet For Just An Arrest Can Change Your Life – It has been estimated that over the last two decades – arrests (arrests with booking and fingerprinting creates the proverbial “rap” sheet) has numbered over a quarter of a billion individual cases according to Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates.

Nearly 1 and 3 Americans has a criminal history and between 10 to 12 thousand names are added every day.

Here’s what is important -even if charges are never filed against you – or the charges that are filed are dropped or dismissed – the records remain forever.. See more below.

At present the FBI has well in excess of 77.7 million individuals on the NCIC (National Criminal Information Center)

Why So Many Arrests – Why Are They So Damaging? Do They Have To Be Lifelong? Permanent?

As a young prosecutor in the 1980’s I watched the tide turn as police officers lost more and more of their community policing discretion in making arrests. Millions of dollars have poured into local police departments – new policies regarding mandatory arrests, a new harsher approach to prosecuting juveniles – etc.

Zero tolerance to crime in those days led to a crackdown for even the smallest offenses. The creation of arrest records for huge numbers of average law abiding citizens continues to today. Those of us in the system know that almost half of these first timers are never charged and – or convicted but are forever stigmatized by the experience. Not only that – once the arrest record is created – removing it is both expensive and difficult.

The ease of access to these records by public and private background checking agencies only exacerbates an already bad situation by making arrest records, mug shots and charges appear with a click of the mouse and a credit card. Lives are ruined.

Recent studies show that 69% of employers now conduct criminal background checks on all job applicants, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, only 58% of these allow candidates to explain any negative results of a check.

With The Increase Of Comprehensive Background Checks – A Criminal History Of ANY Kind Is Potentially Destructive

Background checks – post “9-11” – have become almost standard operating procedure for possible future employers, banks making loans for new homes, students seeking college admissions, landlords if one is seeking an apartment, and many more requesters.

The impact of an arrest record on tens of millions of US citizens cannot be understated. An arrest record has lifelong consequences if it is not sealed or expunged. It is NOT TRUE that after you have been arrested and subsequently cleared of those charges it is as if that arrest never happened.

The consequences of an arrest record for even the most minor offenses can be devastating.

To read ANY of the statutes cited in this article – follow this LINK

The Decision To Plead Guilty And The Consequences of A Conviction In Colorado

Today criminal history records have never been more widely available. Colorado is an OPEN RECORDS state under C.R.S. 24-72-305(1). That means that anyone in the general public can search Colorado criminal records at minimal expense through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s website as well as half a dozen state and national web sites.

It is impossible – given the nature of the internet – to hide what was once only a matter of local concern. What used to be the hidden indiscretions of our youth – are now there for the world to find with ease.

The Impact Of Even The Smallest Arrest Record On Future Possible Employment

The adverse impact of even the simplest arrest for – say shoplifting – LINK can have permanent employment consequences. The greater the extent to which a job involves working with the so called “vulnerable populations “ of people such as students, the mentally ill, inmates in jails and other institutions , the more likely a criminal conviction will prevent you from getting a job in that field.

These are good jobs – most involve positions of trust or responsibility such as in the financial field, or the care taking of others.

Colorado Guilty Pleas, Nolo Contendere Pleas, and Deferred Judgments

When it comes to employment opportunities in the professions – a guilty plea, a plea of nolo contendere (no contest), or a pleas in a deferred judgment agreement, are all treated as convictions.. The subtleties in the legal differences between these please is lost to potentnial employers.

Arrest Records And Federal Jobs

Almost all federal government job opportunities – especially where there is a security issues require background and criminal history checks.

If the federal job involves a license – it is rare that an applicant with a criminal history – even just an arrest record will be chosen over those with no such records.

Federal jobs in the following areas are particularly sensitive to criminal histories:

  • Federal law enforcement.
  • Child care.
  • Transportation industries (air, road, rail, or sea).
  • Commodity dealers.
  • Broadcast licensing.
  • Firearms related professions (arms use, dealing, transportation, etc.).
  • Farm labor contractors.
  • All Financial institutions (banks, brokers, dealers, investment advisers, etc.).

Colorado Law Has The Same Kind Of Restrictions

Professions such as:

  • Peace officers.
  • Those who have contact with so called “vulnerable persons” (Children, the Elderly and the Mentally Ill)
  • Teachers and Other Educators.
  • Persons employed in public or private correctional facilities or juvenile facilities.
  • State offices and convictions described in article XII, section 4, of the Colorado Constitution.

Private Employers Have Almost Complete Discretion To Discriminate Against Those With Arrest Records

While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents “blanket exclusions” on employing anyone with a prior arrest or conviction, the reality is – you won’t get the job. Employers are supposed to apply certain factors in their decision – but you rarely get that far in the process.

Those factors are:

(1) the nature and gravity of the offense or offenses;

(2) the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and

(3) the nature of the job held or sought.

Colorado is an “at will” state. In Colorado – employers have near unfettered discretion to refuse to hire as a person has not right not to be terminated at the whim of their employer absent a contract or a reason that violates the state or federal constitution.

So -how can you get that arrest record or dismissed case OFF of your record?

A Brief Summary Of Colorado Laws Providing For The Sealing Of Arrest Records And Some Drug and Petty Offense Convictions

To read ANY of the statutes cited in this article – follow this LINK

Colorado IS A State That Permits The Sealing Of Arrest Records.

This is only a summary of a very complicated area of law – To learn more about sealing arrest records in Colorado – follow this LINK

Under C.R.S. 24-72-308, arrest and criminal records OTHER THAN convictions (but see below) can be sealed if:

A – The records pertain to official actions involving a criminal offense that was not charged, was completely dismissed, or in which the person was acquitted, or

B – The records pertain to an offense that was not charged or a case that was dismissed due to a plea agreement in a separate case, and: – if B is the case then:

1. – A petition to seal the records is filed ten years or more after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the person, and

2. – The person has not been charged with any criminal offense in the ten years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings.

Certain DRUG RELATED Convictions can be sealed under C.R.S. 24-72-308.6,

For certain drug convictions on or after July 1, 2011, sealing is possible:

For a petty offense or a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor, three years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a conviction.

For a class 1 misdemeanor, five years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a conviction.

For a class 5 or 6 felony, seven years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a conviction.

For all other offenses in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., ten years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a conviction.

If Your Drug Conviction Was BEFORE July 1, 2011 Under C.R.S. 24-27-308.5, It Is A Little Tougher

Controlled substance convictions entered prior to July 1, 2011 may be sealed if:

A petition to seal the records is filed ten years or more after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant, or the release of the defendant from supervision, and

The defendant has not been charged with a criminal offense in the ten years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings or the release of the defendant from supervision.

Earlier sealing may be available if there is no objection from the district attorney. C.R.S. 24-72-308.6(4)(b).

Sealing Juvenile Records In Colorado

The good news is that most juvenile records can be expunged under C.R.S. 19-1-306.

However even certain Juvenile records cannot be expunged- such as for:

A person who has been adjudicated as an aggravated juvenile offender or a violent juvenile offender.

A person who has been adjudicated for an offense that would constitute a crime of violence under C.R.S. 18-1.3-406.

A person who, as a juvenile, has been charged by the direct filing of an information in the district court or by indictment pursuant to C.R.S. 19-2-517, unless the person was sentenced as a juvenile in the same matter.

Colorado Criminal Lawyer Series – Why A Rap Sheet For Just An Arrest Can Change Your Life

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article – Colorado Criminal Lawyer Series – Why A Rap Sheet For Just An Arrest Can Change Your Life, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg - Over 30 Years MedallionH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

 

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg regularly appears and provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the courts of:

Adams County (Adams County criminal defense lawyer), Arapahoe County (Arapahoe County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Boulder (Boulder County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Broomfield (Broomfield County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Denver (Denver criminal defense lawyer), Douglas County (Douglas County criminal defense lawyer), El Paso County – Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer), Gilpin County (Gilpin County criminal defense lawyer), Jefferson County (Jefferson County criminal defense lawyer), Larimer County, and Weld County ( Larimer and Weld County criminal defense lawyer,….

and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article - Colorado Criminal Lawyer Series – Why A Rap Sheet For Just An Arrest Can Change Your Life.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
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