Colorado Court Records
Colorado Arrest Records
Arrest records are created by law enforcement after a person's arrest in Colorado, regardless of whether the arrest occurred at the scene of a crime or after a police investigation. A few government agencies share responsibility for maintaining these records, including the local law enforcement agency serving the county, city, or town where an arrest occurred and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A Colorado arrest record notes pertinent characteristics about a suspected offender, such as the individual's full name and physical features. The record also displays who performed the arrest and the offense for which a person was apprehended. An arrest record, however, does not name the offense(s) that a District Attorney (DA) charged a suspect with, nor does it reveal if an offender was convicted or sentenced for the charges.
Arrest records have several uses within the Colorado criminal justice system. They promote accountability by exposing the official activities of law enforcement personnel to the public. Concerned citizens or residents can review the records to scrutinize an arrest incident, such as why and how a person lost their freedom because of an alleged crime. Arrest records also help law enforcement track offenders, are useful for determining crime rates and trends within a region, and are essential for beginning criminal proceedings (DAs review the records as one of several to decide whether to charge or release a suspect).
The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), through its Office of Research and Statistics (ORS), releases statewide arrest statistics each year. According to arrest data retrieved from the agency's Crime and Justice Statistics dashboard, the state's violent crime arrest rate in 2022 was 184 per 100,000 people, with 19,146 violent crime arrests reported. Meanwhile, the property crime arrest rate was 386 per 100,000 people, with 40,168 related arrests. The report also lists other offense categories such as Drugs (Arrests: 33,084; Arrest rate: 318 per 100,000 population), DUI (Arrests: 28,503; Arrest rate: 347 per 100,000 population), and Weapons Violations (Arrests: 8,874; Arrest rate: 85 per 100.000 population).
In 2022, the most common violent crime leading to a person's apprehension in Colorado was aggravated assault (Arrests: 15,072; Arrest rate: 145 per 100,000 people), while the most popular property crime resulting in an arrest was larceny/theft (Arrests: 26,646; Arrest rate: 256 per 100,000 people).
Are Arrest Records Public in Colorado?
Yes, arrest records are publicly available in Colorado. Public access to Colorado arrest records is administered under the state's Open Records Act (C.R.S. §24-72-201 to 206) and Criminal Justice Records Act ("CCJRA") (C.R.S. §24-72-301 to 309). Under this set of statutes, the public can inspect or copy records of official actions created or maintained by criminal justice agencies, such as arrest records. However, certain records are excluded from public release.
For example, records relating to law enforcement investigations, intelligence information, or security procedures are restricted under CORA (Colorado Open Records Act). As well, juvenile arrest records, sealed arrest records, and names of sexual assault victims are not disseminated to the public.
A table containing CORA exemptions is available in the Office of Legislative Legal Services Law Summary publication. Restrictions to the CCJRA can be reviewed in Section 24-72-304 of the Act.
What is Included in Colorado Arrest Records?
Below are some details found in a Colorado arrest record:
- An arrestee's full name and demographic information (age, race, and gender)
- An arrestee's physical description, including height, weight, and eye and hair colors
- Arrest date and time
- Arresting agency
- Offense(s) leading to the arrest
- Bail amount
- Booking number
Find Public Arrest Records in Colorado
One place to find public arrest records in Colorado is the law enforcement division that made an associated arrest. Individuals who know at least the municipality where an arrest occurred and the name and birth date of the arrested party can directly request the records from the agency that enforces the law in that municipality.
Generally, a request to a police agency's records unit may be submitted in person, by mail, or via fax. In many cases, the inquirer must submit a written application (a form may be provided on the relevant agency's website) and fee to obtain records related to arrests. Some police departments also accept online submissions through their websites. Note that the arrest record fee and payment methods vary by agency.
Case in point: the public can obtain arrest records from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office by completing an Application for Criminal Justice Records, which must carry the arrestee's name and birth date, as well as the inquirer's signature and photo ID. The request can be submitted to the sheriff's office by mail, fax, or in person, and a $3 per printout fee applies. Conversely, a request for arrest records to the Denver Police Department can be submitted online via a web portal or by mail using the department's Records Request Form. A $15 fee is assessed to obtain an arrest record from the Denver Police Department.
Besides a local police agency, individuals can obtain arrest records from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The CBI maintains criminal history records information (CHRI) for the State of Colorado. These records bear arrest information compiled from criminal justice agencies across the state. The CBI provides an Internet Criminal History Check (ICHC) database that provides users with public arrest records tied to a person's name. However, sealed and juvenile arrest records are not dispensed through the platform, as these constitute non-public records in Colorado. The ICHC requires a non-refundable fee of $4 for each search. Individuals can also send a records request by mail to the CBI for $13 to the following address:
Biometric Identification and Records Unit
Colorado Bureau of Investigation
690 Kipling Street
Lakewood, CO 80215
Where a person requires access to a restricted arrest record, they may obtain a court order that compels the records custodian to produce the record (often called a subpoena). The procedure for obtaining and serving a subpoena may be obtained from the law enforcement agency that holds the record, the clerk of the court where proceedings are initiated, or one may consult an experienced attorney.
How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in Colorado
Several county sheriff's offices in Colorado maintain searchable portals or listings on their websites, which interested persons can use to look up arrest records online in Colorado. Admittedly, a sheriff's arrests database will only reveal information about arrests made within the respective county. Where a sheriff offers a search tool to check if someone was arrested or jailed after an arrest, it can often be queried with a person's last name or an arrest date.
Additionally, as explained earlier, individuals can access the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Internet Criminal History Check (ICHC) website to look up a person's statewide arrest information. Similar to locally maintained databases, a user requires a person's last name, first name, and date of birth to search the CBI's ICHC portal. However, unlike sheriff's databases, one must pay a nominal fee for every search.
Interestingly, many public records websites (third-party aggregator websites) offer online arrest records retrieval services. Like official government sites, a user requires specific criteria (e.g., a name) to obtain results. However, while some information may be viewable on a third-party site at no cost, a fee may apply to retrieve extensive information (for example, other public records relevant to a keyword).
How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in Colorado
Arrest records are permanent in Colorado but may be sealed by court order. Nonetheless, the length of time an arrest remains publicly exposed on a person's record in Colorado may be influenced by factors such as a custodial agency's retention schedule and whether an arrest led to criminal charges being filed or a conviction.
For instance, the state legislature, in C.R.S. §24-72-704(2), provides for the automatic sealing of certain arrest records in the control and custody of the CBI:
- Arrests occurring on or after January 1, 2022: The Colorado Bureau of Investigation will automatically seal a person's arrest record having no filed charges within a year of the arrest. Per the law, this action must be completed within 60 days after one year elapses from the arrest date.
- Arrests without a conviction after January 1, 2019, but prior to January 1, 2022: The CBI will automatically seal such arrest records as follows when no criminal charges have been filed:
- Within three years of an arrest for a felony offense whose statute of limitations (SOL) is three years, or
- Within 18 months of an arrest for a misdemeanor offense, misdemeanor traffic offense, petty offense, municipal ordinance violation whose SOL is 18 months or less, or if no indication of the class of crime exists in the arrest data
- Arrest records from 2013 to 2018 with no conviction: The CBI will seal the records by January 1, 2023.
- Arrest records from 2008 to 2012 with no conviction: The CBI will seal the records by January 1, 2024.
- Arrest records from 2003 to 2007 with no conviction: The CBI will seal the records by January 1, 2025.
- Arrest records from 1997 to 2002 with no conviction: The CBI will seal the records by January 1, 2026.
- Other arrest records with no conviction: The CBI will seal the records by January 1, 2027.
Note: If the CBI receives notification of filed charges, the agency will immediately unseal a record.
Expunge an Arrest Record in Colorado
Individuals who want to restrict public access to their Colorado arrest records can apply for sealing in the court where an arrest or criminal record is filed. The State of Colorado does not "expunge" (physically destroy) arrest records, except for juvenile delinquency records per C.R.S §19-1-306.
To file a petition to seal a Colorado adult arrest record, a person must qualify under C.R.S. §24-72-703. Generally, one can only file for sealing with the court once in 12 months, except otherwise provided by the court. Further, a petitioner must not owe restitution, court costs, fines, late fees, or other fees ordered by the court in the case.
Colorado has different processes for sealing adult arrest records, but these are the two most likely paths available to a record holder:
Sealing Criminal Justice Records Other than Convictions (Simplified Process)
The simplified process, explained in C.R.S. §24-72-705, may be used to seal records other than conviction records (e.g., arrest records). Petitioners must meet the following criteria:
- Be acquitted of all counts in the case
- Had the case completely dismissed
- Completed a diversion agreement per C.R.S. §18-1.3-101
- Completed a deferred judgment and sentence per C.R.S. §18-1.3-102 and had all counts dismissed
Court forms to file for the simplified sealing process in Colorado include:
- JDF 477 - Motion to Seal Non-Conviction Records (must be completed entirely).
- JDF 478 - Order to Seal Non-Conviction Records, JDF 492 - Order Denying Motion to Seal Non-Conviction Records, and JDF 493 - Order and Notice of Hearing to Seal Criminal Justice Records (only captions should be filled).
The Colorado district courts assess a $65 filing fee for each petition. However, low-income applicants can file without payment by completing and submitting forms JDF 205 and 206, plus proof of income, to the court.
Sealing Adult Records - Arrests and Records Other than Convictions Where No Charges Filed
C.R.S. §24-72-704 provides for the sealing of adult arrest records by filing with the district court in the county where an arrest took place. Here, a filing fee of $224 applies, and a new district civil case will be opened. However, low-income petitioners can apply to waive the fee with forms JDF 205 and 206.
Each petitioner must satisfy the following criteria:
- Completed a diversion agreement and had no criminal charges filed
- Has an arrest record, but charges were never filed in court, and the statute of limitations for the offense has run
- Has an arrest record, but charges were never filed in court, and while the statute of limitations for the offense has not run, the subject is no longer being investigated by law enforcement for the offense
Note: If charges were not filed because of a plea agreement in another case, the defendant cannot request the sealing of the dismissed case until the case in which they pled guilty is eligible for sealing.
Below are the court forms to file for sealing of arrest records (when no charges filed) in Colorado:
- JDF 417 - A Petition to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records (to be completed entirely).
- JDF 418 - An Order to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records, JDF 419 - An Order and Notice of Hearing (Sealing of Arrest and Criminal Records), and JDF 435 - An Order Denying Petition to Seal Arrest & Criminal Records (only captions should be completed).
It may be necessary to obtain related court, arrest, criminal, or police records from applicable agencies to complete court forms.
After submitting a sealing petition to a Colorado district court, the court will review it to determine whether to grant or deny the request or schedule a hearing to decide the matter. If the court grants a petition, the petitioner must notify the relevant agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The CBI assesses a $20 fee to seal an arrest record.
The effect of sealing an arrest record in Colorado is that the record will no longer be open to the public, and to related inquiries, a custodial agency will respond that no such record exists. However, the record will not be permanently destroyed, and it will still be retrievable by criminal justice agencies.
How Do I Find Recent Arrests in Colorado?
Information about recent arrests made in Colorado may be available on a county sheriff's website. For example, the Weld County Sheriff's Office provides a Daily Arrest Report tool that can be accessed with a last name, first name, or arrest date to find arrests made in the county from February 14, 2006, to the day prior to one's search. Meanwhile, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office provides information about recent arrests in its Daily Booking Report (only covers arrests for a particular day), and the Larimer County Sheriff's Office offers a Booking Report that shows arrest information within the last three days.
Individuals can also query an arresting agency directly for its daily arrest logs.
Are Colorado Arrest Records Free?
Yes, but not in all cases. While some arrest records may be viewed on a police agency's website at no cost, a fee may be assessed to obtain record copies. Similarly, arrest records cannot be sourced from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation without paying a fee, and persons using third-party websites may be asked to pay a one-time fee or opt for a subscription plan to view records.