Effective Sept 1 2017
Pursuant to current state law and City Code provisions, certain criminal justice records relating to Fort Collins Municipal Court cases (other than basic identification information) can now be sealed by the Municipal Court without a petition being filed in District Court. This is done by Order of the Court, a copy of which is sent to the Defendant, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, and any law enforcement agency that may have records relating to the case. If a case is sealed, then the “Person in Interest” and Criminal Justice Agencies (such as the Court and Police Departments) may properly reply that no such records exist with respect to such person. Sealed records are, however, still accessible by criminal justice agencies.
Traffic cases cannot be sealed but certain non-traffic misdemeanor cases can be, as summarized below:
- Underage Possession of Alcohol or Marijuana (UPA/UPM) cases : For cases in which the only charge is Underage Possession of Alcohol or Marijuana (Section 17-167 or 17-191 of the Fort Collins City Code), most such cases will be sealed automatically by the Court after the case is closed without a request from the Defendant and no fee is charged for that process. This includes cases that are dismissed - including after successful completion of a deferred disposition, cases in which the defendant is found “not guilty” at trial, and cases in which the required alcohol/drug education or counseling has been completed relating to a first conviction. For more information, see City Code Section 17-167(h) or 17-191(i).
- Non-traffic Misdemeanor cases involving Adult Defendants (18 years or older on the date of the incident) : If all charges in non-traffic case involving an adult defendant are dismissed (not as part of a plea agreement on a separate case) - including after successful completion of a deferred disposition - or the defendant is found “not guilty” of all charges at trial, then the Defendant can file a motion with the Court requesting that the case be sealed. A “Motion to Seal” form is available on the Court’s website. A $65 Sealed Records Fee must be paid when the Motion is filed unless that fee is waived. To seek waiver of this or any court costs/fees, Defendants may file a “Petition of Indigence”. That form is also available on the website. For more information, see Section 24-72-702.5, C.R.S.
For information on other cases which may be sealed by petitioning the District Court, please see Section 24-72-702 and 24-72-708, C.R.S. and/or contact a private attorney. Please note that Court personnel cannot give legal advice on this or any matter.
How to File Your Petition#
INSTRUCTIONS TO FILE A PETITION TO SEAL CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORDS IN FORT COLLINS MUNICIPAL COURT
(Adult, Non-traffic Misdemeanors and Petty Offenses)
These standard instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice about your case. If you choose to represent yourself, you are bound by the same rules and procedures as an attorney. If you do not understand this information, please contact an attorney.
General Information: A Defendant may petition the District Court to seal criminal conviction records, except basic identifying information, by filing a civil action in the county in which the criminal conviction record is filed. Contact an attorney or the District Court for more information on that procedure. Effective August 2, 2019, Section 24-72-708, C.R.S. provides that Defendants may also petition the Municipal Court to seal certain of its conviction records.
- A person may file a Petition with the Court for sealing of each case once every twelve-month period.
- You may not petition the Court to seal criminal conviction records if you still owe restitution, fines, court costs, late fees, or other fees ordered by the Court in the case you are requesting to seal.
- An Order sealing conviction records shall not be construed to vacate a conviction.
- If you obtain a conviction for a new criminal offense after an order sealing conviction records is entered, the Court shall order the conviction records to be unsealed.
- The Court, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, the prosecuting attorney, or a party/agency required by law to conduct a criminal history record check on an individual will always have access to your conviction records. The sealed conviction(s) may be used for any lawful purpose relating to the investigation or prosecution of any case or for any other lawful purpose within the scope of the person’s/agency’s duties.
- Pursuant to § 24-72-703(6), C.R.S., files are not destroyed when they are sealed.
- Upon the entry of an Order to Seal and an inquiry in the matter, you and all criminal justice agencies may properly respond that public conviction records do not exist with respect to the defendant.
- For additional information, please review § 24-72-703, § 24-72-705, and § 24-72-708, C.R.S.
You may petition the Municipal Court to seal criminal conviction records, except basic identifying information, if:
A. The Petition is filed three or more years after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against you or the date of your release from supervision concerning a criminal conviction, whichever is later; AND
B. You have not been charged or convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or misdemeanor traffic offense in the three or more years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against you or the date of your release from supervision, whichever is later; AND
C. The conviction records to be sealed are not for a misdemeanor traffic offense committed either by a holder of a commercial learner’s permit or a commercial driver’s license, as defined in §42-2-402, C.R.S., or by the operator of a commercial motor vehicle as defined in §42-2-402, C.R.S.
The fee for filing a Petition to Seal in this Court is $65.00. If you are unable to pay that cost, you may file a Petition for Indigence first to request that the cost be waived.
Procedures in Fort Collins Municipal Court pursuant to Section 24-72-708, C.R.S.:
Step 1: Determine whether there are records to seal and obtain proper arrest and criminal record numbers.
The Fort Collins Municipal Court periodically purges its records to eliminate records that we are no longer required to retain. Most closed cases are purged after 7 years so if your case is older than that, the Municipal Court may not be able to locate the file and process your request.
In order to file a Petition to Seal Criminal Conviction Records, you must obtain the proper case report numbers, court case numbers, and arrest numbers (if applicable) from the original arrest or criminal records. This information is necessary to ensure that your case is sealed properly, if ordered by the Court. A fee may be required to obtain this information. For records from this Court, contact a Court Clerk. For arrest or police records, contact the agency that issued the citation.
Step 2: Obtain a current, verified copy of the Defendant’s criminal history.
A verified copy of your criminal history report must be filed with the Court at the time you file the Petition. The criminal history records check must be conducted no more than 20 days before you file your Petition. The cost of obtaining the criminal history report is your responsibility. You may obtain the report as follows:
- Criminal history reports can be accessed immediately by using the web-based system https://www.cbirecordscheck.com/Index.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1.
You will be charged per result viewed.
- If you are unable to access the Internet, please call the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at 303-239-4208 for additional information. CBI is located at 690 Kipling Street, Suite 3000, Lakewood, CO 80215.
Step 3: Complete the Petition form (available on-line or from the Court Clerk).
Enter the Defendant’s name in the case caption. All applicable sections must be completed before the case is filed. You are responsible for specifying with a checkmark each criminal justice agency that has the Defendant’s criminal arrest and conviction records. Do not include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) responsibility to contact the FBI if there is a corresponding FBI record. Specify the charge(s) for any criminal conviction record or court case file you want sealed. You may obtain this information from the arresting agency and the Court Clerk’s office. You must enter the case number(s) of all the files you want sealed. If you are requesting multiple cases to be sealed, a separate Petition and filing fee for each case is required. List the offense you are petitioning to seal as well as the date you were sentenced and the date you were released from supervision, if applicable. Attach current verified criminal history report.
Step 4: File the Petition, Attachment, and Fee with the Court.
Provide the Court with the documents completed as described above and pay the filing fee(s). (NOTE: The documents will be scanned and available for review electronically by the Prosecution so paper copies do not need to be sent to them.)
Step 5: The Court will review the Petition and supporting documents to determine the next step.
Once the Petition is filed, the Court will review the Petition and determine whether there are grounds pursuant to Section 24-72-708, C.R.S. to proceed on the Petition.
- If the Court determines that the Petition on its face is insufficient or if the Court determines that, after taking judicial notice of matters outside the Petition, the Defendant is not entitled to relief pursuant to that section, the Court will enter an order denying the Petition, specifying the reasons therefore. The Court will then mail a copy of the Order to the Defendant.
- If the Court determines that the Petition is sufficient on its face and that no other grounds exist at that time for the Court to deny the Petition pursuant to that section, the Court will forward a copy of the Petition to the Prosecution (Fort Collins City Attorney’s Office) using the Court’s standard electronic document system for their position on the Petition.
- If the Prosecution has no objection to the Petition and waives the opportunity to be heard on the matter, an Order granting the Petition will be entered by the Court without a hearing. The Court will then mail a copy of the Order to the Defendant.
- If the Prosecution does object to the Petition, the matter will be set for hearing as soon as practicable and notice will be given to the Defendant and Prosecution.
Step 6: Be prepared for the hearing.
If the Court conducts a hearing on the matter, you may be asked questions about the request for sealing criminal conviction records and any objections filed. At the end of the hearing, the Court will either grant or deny the Petition to Seal Criminal Conviction Records.
Step 7: (If the Petition is granted) After your records are ordered to be sealed.
If an order to seal your records is entered, it is your responsibility to notify the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and all agencies listed on the Order, by mailing each agency a copy of the signed Order. Your failure to notify the agencies may result in your criminal conviction record not being sealed.