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Colorado Arrest Records

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Are Arrest Records Public in Colorado?

Yes. Arrest records are open to the public in Colorado and released per the state's Criminal Justice Records Act (C.R.S 24-72-301, et seq). This means almost anyone can query the law enforcement agency that made an arrest to obtain records. The agency will usually grant this request unless the record inspection is contrary to law or is prohibited by court order. To retrieve an arrest record, citizens must submit a request and pay a small fee for research, redaction (as some parts of a record may be confidential), and copying.

What is Considered an Arrest Record in Colorado?

Section 24-72-302 of the Colorado Revised Statutes defines an arrest record as information reporting the apprehension of a person. This record is typically generated upon one's arrest, and it provides details about a suspect and their alleged criminal offense. An arrest record is usually kept by the criminal justice agency that carried out the arrest.

What Shows Up on a Public Colorado Arrest Record?

In Colorado, arrest records provide information about people who have been arrested and questioned or charged by the police for criminal conduct. Typically, a Colorado arrest record will provide information about the suspect, the alleged offense, and the law enforcement agency that performed the arrest. However, arrest records are not to be used as an alternative to Colorado criminal records.

Some of the data that may be contained in a Colorado arrest record includes the following:

  • The accused's personal information: full name (plus aliases), date of birth, contact information, last-known address, and social security number
  • The accused's identifying information: height, weight, eye/hair color, fingerprints, photograph, race, gender, scars/tattoos/marks
  • The criminal charges brought against the accused individual
  • The classification of the crime
  • The time, date, and location of the arrest
  • The arresting officer and agency
  • A description of the event that led to the arrest
  • Bail amount

Who Can Access Arrest Records in Colorado?

Arrest records offer insight into a state's criminal justice system and information about an individual's criminal acts. As such, these records are often of interest to members of the public, including employers, local/state licensing agencies, insurance companies, friends and family, and other entities. Because of public interest, most US states establish laws that authorize and guide the dissemination of arrest records, and Colorado is no exception.

However, while the public can review many arrest records, some records/information are not releasable under the Open Records Act. Even if released, certain portions may be redacted. This may be because the record is sealed or confidential by court order, or its release is contrary to public interest.

Other grounds upon which a record request may be denied is if the inspection would oppose any state statute or jeopardize a police investigation.

Law enforcement agencies (usually the arresting police department or county sheriff's office) create and maintain arrest records within the state. Such records are considered public information under the state's Open Records Act (C.R.S. 24-72-101, et seq.). Hence, anyone can retrieve an arrest record from its custodian unless it is sealed by court order or law or essential to an investigation.

The Colorado arrest records search process grants individuals access to official arrest records for crimes committed and documented within the state's boundaries. A search for these records can be conducted by contacting the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the local law enforcement agency where the arrest was made.

Colorado Arrest Statistics

As per Colorado Revised Statute 24-33.5-412.(5), over 240 law enforcement agents in the state are obligated by state law to file crime, arrest, stolen, and recovered property data on an annual basis with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). The CBI is the agency responsible for the generation, documentation, and publishing of the accurate number of arrests made in the state.

As reported in the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice crime statistics, the total number of arrests made in the year 2020 was 44,909. Adult crimes accounted for 41,342 of the total number of arrests made, while juvenile crimes accounted for 3,567. Further categorization of arrest data provided is as follows:

  • Violent crimes (Murder, Non-Consensual Sex Offenses, Aggravated Assault): 9,030
  • Property crimes (Robbery, Larceny, Burglary, Fraud): 22, 490
  • Weapon crimes: 2,467
  • Drug crimes: 10, 436
  • Driving under influence (DUI): 486

How Do I Lookup Someone's Arrest Records in Colorado?

Most Colorado sheriff offices and police departments publish procedures for looking up arrest records in their custody on their websites. The retrieval method and fees of one department vary from the next. As such, it is a good idea to peruse the appropriate web page or contact the relevant office before submitting any request.

Typically, the agency with the record will provide a printable request form on its online site or hard copy at its physical location. Several offices also provide a URL to submit remote requests via an electronic form. Regardless of the form used, individuals must often fill in the following information:

  • The applicant's full name, current address, contact information, and signature.
  • Name or description of the record. This includes:
    • A case number, if known
    • The subject's date of birth, full name, and gender
    • The time/date or location of the arrest
    • Type of record requested
    • Type of incident
    • Victim's name
    • Any other information that can expedite the processing time of a request
  • The department/office where the record is maintained

The requester must also include payment (perhaps attach a copy of their government-issued ID) and choose their preferred delivery method. If the request form cannot be submitted online, the agency can usually receive it by mail, email, fax, or hand delivery.

A simpler method to find an arrest record in Colorado is to check the arresting law enforcement agency's site for a database of arrested persons. For example, using the City of Colorado Springs Police Department's Police Blotter page, an individual can retrieve the time, date, and location of an incident, summary of the incident, name of the arrested person(s), the alleged crime, and the police department contact and number. However, the internet record retrieval method often produces incomplete or limited arrest information.

Furthermore, it is possible to look up an arrest record by obtaining one's criminal history record from the internet site provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. There is a $5 fee per search. Note that:

  • The records provided by the CBI are based upon fingerprints, not by name. If the subject of a record was not fingerprinted at the time of arrest, it is unlikely that the record will be with the CBI. As such, one may need to contact the local law enforcement agency with the record:
  • Records of juvenile arrests, traffic arrests of persons under 16, and arrests sealed by the court are not provided to the public; and
  • The CBI assesses a fee for the service.

For more information on acquiring arrest records this way, one can contact the CBI via the available channels.

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in Colorado

A subpoena is a document issued by a court commanding someone to:

  • Appear in court and give testimony; or
  • Produce and allow the inspection and copying of certain documents, papers, books, records, photographs, electronically stored information, or other tangible materials in the person's possession, custody, or control.

The need to subpoena an arrest record may arise in a criminal or civil proceeding when a party requires a record ("documentary evidence") that is not releasable under the Open Records Act.

Separate procedural rules govern the issuance and service of subpoenas in Colorado:

  • The Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 17 (for criminal subpoenas in the state courts, i.e., courts other than the Municipal Courts):
  • The Colorado Municipal Court Rules of Procedure Rule 217 (for criminal subpoenas in the Municipal Courts); and
  • The Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 45 (for civil subpoenas).

Regardless, the overall requirements are somewhat similar. For instance, an individual or their attorney must request a subpoena from the court. This can be done by filing a motion for the court to issue a subpoena or obtaining a blank form that carries the signature and seal of the appropriate authority (usually the clerk).

The courts provide hard copy forms for subpoena requests and motions. Still, others like the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Court provide a subpoena request form that can be submitted online. The state judiciary also offers forms and instructions for obtaining subpoenas on its website.

Every subpoena will state the name of the court, the title of the action, and a command for the subpoenaed custodian to produce the designated record at a specific date and place. After the subpoena is issued, it may be personally served on the applicable custodian within a reasonable time. The law permits this subpoena to be served no later than 14 days before compliance is expected. (Note that for criminal subpoenas issued by the state courts, a copy must be furnished to the opposing side or their counsel once the subpoena is issued.)

A sheriff, process server, or anyone over 18 who is not a party to the action can perform the service of the subpoena. It is crucial to inform the server to complete and sign the Affidavit of Service section of the subpoena and return the completed copy once the service is completed. This document will be required at the hearing.

Note, however, that regulations frequently change, and cases differ. Hence, individuals interested in subpoenaing arrest records in Colorado are advised to seek legal advice from experienced lawyers or read current laws before taking action.

How to Search for an Inmate in the Colorado Prison System

The Colorado Department of Corrections runs the state's prison system. Hence, the public can find information about present inmates through the agency. The department provides a web-based Offender Search tool to assist with locating such inmates. One only has to enter some or all of the following on the site:

  • DOC Number
  • Last name (no hyphenations)
  • First name
  • Gender

Below is the inmate information that can be obtained:

  • Photograph
  • Name (first and last)
  • DOC Number
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Distinguishing features (height, weight, hair color, and eye color)
  • Current facility assignment
  • Estimated parole eligibility date
  • Next parole hearing date
  • Estimated mandatory release date
  • Estimated sentence
  • Current convictions (sentence, sentence date, county, and case number)

Alternatively, inmate search or lookup tools provided by most local law enforcement agencies (the county sheriffs) are useful in locating people currently confined in county jails and detention centers. An individual can typically use search keywords such as a person's name, booking number/date, or inmate ID number to secure results. Like the DOC's offender search tool, county inmate locators may provide:

  • Personal details: The inmate's full name, race, age, sex, hair color, eye color, height, and weight.
  • Case details: The booking date, number, and facility, as well as the case number, the offense's statutory code, offense type, and arresting agency.
  • Court information: The case/docket number, court date/time, bond/bail amount, and the holding agency (the agency that the inmate is being held for).

Some inmate databases also offer a means to register for notifications on a particular inmate. Usually, the sheriffs that provide this service update their databases frequently.

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in Colorado

To find out if someone has ever been arrested or imprisoned in Colorado, an individual can contact the law enforcement agency in that person’s county of residence (if the subject of the search is a resident). If the agency is the sheriff's office, inquiries could be made to the records unit or another designated department. The contact information of such units can usually be found on the applicable sheriff's website.

For state prisons, the point of contact should be the Colorado Department of Corrections or the DOC facility where the person may have been held.

Another option is to obtain the person’s Colorado criminal history record or conduct a background check to look for conviction information.

How to Find Recent Arrests in Colorado

An arrest record can be looked up in Colorado by paying a visit to the relevant local law enforcement agency in the county where the arrest took place. The agency always keeps an up-to-date record of criminal issues.

The process of getting arrest records in Colorado may vary according to the county where the arrest was made. For instance, in Denver County, an arrest record can be requested via the Denver Police Department Police Records portal. Individuals may choose to make a search request online via the provided database or make a mail-in request by downloading the record request form, filling it out, and mailing it to the Denver Police Department.

In El Paso County, the sheriff’s office Record Unit is responsible for receiving and organizing arrest records prepared by the several law enforcement agencies in the county. Individuals can request these records by downloading the Criminal Justice Records Request form, filling it out, and mailing it to the Record Unit’s email address, or submitting it in person during office hours to the sheriff’s office. Requesting arrest records in both counties may attract several fees.

How Long Do Colorado Arrest Records Stay on File?

Arrest records are retained on file indefinitely in Colorado. However, while the state does not authorize the destruction of these records, a party can ask a court to seal their arrest record if eligible under the law. This does not remove the record from its official file, but it will limit the public's access to it and possibly any further repercussions originating due to the record's existence.

Are Arrest Reports Public in Colorado?

Colorado arrest reports are subject to public record laws. An arrest report is a legal document that is typically generated by the arresting officer when a crime happens. This document contains relevant information about the event, like the nature of the crime, the reason for the arrest, evidence, and events leading up to the arrest. Additional information, like the name of the arresting officer, personal information about the offender, as well as other relevant details the officer might deem necessary, may be included. The report is then taken and kept with the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest. An arrest report may prove to be very useful, should a court case result from the arrest, as it will help provide a proper and accurate description of the event and necessary evidence that would aid in serving justice.

While an arrest report is pertinent to a single event, an arrest record comprises all detention occurrences of an individual. It is a log that shows the number of times an individual has been arrested and the relevant details surrounding each arrest. Arrest reports are typically available to the general public, except in cases where they are prohibited by law.

How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in Colorado?

More often than not, individuals have to pay money to obtain arrest records from law enforcement agencies in Colorado. Yet, some arrest information is available for free on the websites of those agencies. Retrieving this information online is as simple as entering the subject of the record's first or last name into an embedded arrest records search tool on a county sheriff's website. Then, one will be able to see an arrestee's full name, date of birth, date and time of arrest, bail amount, gender, arresting agency, booking number, and charge(s).

How to Search for a Colorado Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service

Third-party search services (or internet background check services) offer a means for members of the public to search for Colorado arrest records via independent databases. An individual may need such services when attempting to obtain a record quickly, without visiting the arresting agency's office or waiting days or weeks for a record request to be processed.

Any third-party search service will provide a search box on its established site to find arrest records. Often, one must fill in the subject of the record's first name, last name, and state to start a search. Some personal information may be viewable for free in the search results. However, the researcher must pay a fee or subscribe to a monthly plan to obtain the full arrest report.

It should be noted that while some search sites boast comprehensive and accurate records, it may be necessary to crosscheck whatever is obtained against the official record.

How to Correct an Arrest Record in Colorado?

Sometimes, arrested individuals may find that their arrest records contain a mistake. When this happens, the individual can dispute the arrest record at the arresting agency's physical location. On the other hand, if it concerns an arrest record within a criminal history record maintained by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Then, the individual can challenge the record and request its correction by calling the Identification Unit (303) 239-4208.

Note that by correcting the arrest record with an arresting enforcement agency, the agency will still send the updated record to the CBI.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in Colorado

An arrest record does not represent a guilty conviction. Yet, the reality is that employers, landlords, neighbors, loved ones, or other parties may treat the record as one. As such, subjects of records often look for ways to hide their records from the public or destroy them. This is where the expungement or sealing process comes in.

An expungement usually refers to the physical destruction of records, while sealing refers to the concealment of records from public inspection. However, in some jurisdictions, expunging a record does not mean the record will be destroyed, only that it has been moved from public to restricted access. Hence, one can say that an expungement in those states is like sealing a record.

In Colorado, arrest records can be sealed or expunged based on the arrest or case circumstances. Neither process destroys a record. However, when either is executed, the subject can generally state that they have never been arrested. The authority to seal or expunge an arrest record in the state is given by C.R.S 24-72-701, et seq.

Per C.R.S 24-72-701.5, an individual can expunge their arrest record in the case of mistaken identity and where no charges were filed. However, one must ensure that within 90 days of the arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency files a petition with the district court for the county of arrest. The court will expunge the record within 90 days of filing the petition.

On the other hand, per C.R.S 24-72-704, an individual is eligible to petition the district court with jurisdiction over their arrest to seal an arrest record if:

  • The party completed a diversion agreement per C.R.S. § 18-1.3-101, and no charges were filed.
  • No charges were filed, and the statute of limitations for an offense that has the longest statute of limitations in the individual's arrest record has run.
  • No charges were filed, and the statute of limitations has not expired, but the party is no longer being investigated for the crime.

The forms to file the petition are listed below and can be obtained from the state judiciary's site (instructions can be found as well):

  • Petition to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records When No Charges Filed (Form JDF 417)
  • Order to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records When No Charges Filed (Form JDF 418)
  • Order and Notice of Hearing (Form JDF 419)
  • Order Denying Petition (Form JDF 435)

A $224 filing fee is required to submit a petition to seal an arrest record. Other costs, such as an arrest record search fee or a fee to obtain plain/certified copies, may apply. Persons who cannot afford to pay the filing fee must submit a completed Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit (Form JDF 205) to the court.

After filing and paying (or not paying if a waiver is granted), the court will grant or deny the petition to seal an arrest record with or without a hearing. If the court enters an order granting the petition, the petitioner must alert the CBI and other agencies named in the order by sending or hand-delivering a copy of the signed order to them. Otherwise, the record may not be sealed.

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