Even if you are never convicted of a crime, being arrested or charged can remain on your record. This can limit your ability to get a job or find housing, and can trail you for years.
Minors and criminal charges
For juveniles, this is especially troubling. A minor charged with a crime in Colorado could find themselves unable to get accepted to college. Even if they do get in, they may struggle to get student loans, making higher education virtually impossible. As a teenager, single arrest or trial can ruin your life, even if you are found not guilty or the charges are dismissed.
New juvenile expungment law signed
Expunging your record is possible, and just became easier in many cases. A new bill that Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed into law will make it easier for minors accused of non-violent offenses to clear their records and move on with their lives.
As The Colorado Springs Gazette explains, a juvenile's record will immediately be expunged of nonviolent offenses if the charges are dropped, if the minor is found not guilty at trial or when the minor completes their sentence. The law does not apply to repeat offenses or violent crimes.
At the signing ceremony, Hickenlooper said the law "allows us to give kids a real chance to figure things out," instead of being trapped in a cycle of crime and punishment.
Expungments and you
Your defense attorney's primary job is to give you a vigorous defense and do everything possible to keep you out of jail. But his or her job does not necessarily end after your case is resolved. An expungment can clear your record and help you lead your life free of fear and embarrassment.