How to Obtain and Clean up Your Rap Sheet
Why do I need to see what’s on my rap sheet? It’s in the past!
Employers will see your rap sheet – so you should, too.
Most employers will run a background check before making a job offer to a prospective employee, and that check will include getting a report from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation on your arrests and convictions. In other words, employers will run your rap sheet before offering you a job.
Employers may ask you questions about what they see, so you should be prepared. Also, if you’ve said something to the employer that contradicts your rap sheet, even a felon-friendly employer may not forgive what looks like a lie.
Some rap sheets need a good cleaning.
Many people are shocked when they look at their rap sheets and see mistakes. It’s not good enough to tell a prospective employer that the rap sheet is wrong – it sounds like you are making excuses. The better strategy is to do the work of clearing your rap sheet yourself – so no one ever sees those mistakes.
What kinds of bad information can be cleared off a rap sheet? Let’s say you were charged with a felony, but pled to a misdemeanor. You can have that felony charge wiped off your rap sheet. Or let’s say someone else used your name, so some of the arrests on there aren’t even yours. You can also have those taken off.
How do I get a copy of my rap sheet?
If you have a credit card, you can use the Internet.
You can obtain your rap sheet off the Colorado Bureau of Investigation website. This is the quickest and cheapest way to do it. Just go to the Criminal History Check System and click on “individuals” – then follow the instructions. You’ll get your rap sheet immediately. It will cost you $6.85.
If you don’t have a credit card, you can make a request in writing.
If you don’t have a credit card, don’t worry – you can still get your rap sheet. It’s just going to take a little bit more time and money.
From the CBI website, you can download a form called the Arrest Request Form. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the form listed there). Complete that form and mail it in with a money order for $13.00. You should receive your rap sheet in three to five business days.
A bunch of charges were filed against me, but I pled to only one. What do I do?
Sometimes, people are charged with a bunch of things in relation to an incident, but they plead out or are convicted of something different. If, for example, you were charged with a felony but pled to a misdemeanor, you can have that felony taken off your rap sheet.
The first thing to do is to go to the court where you were convicted or entered your plea and get a copy of your case disposition. (You do this through the Clerk of Court’s office).
Once you have that, take it to the Identification Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Tell them you want to make a “record challenge.” Show them your rap sheet and the disposition, and they will take the erroneous charges off for you. There is no fee for this process.
My friend got arrested and used my name! How do I get her stuff off my rap sheet?
If someone used your name when she was arrested, you’ll see her charges on your rap sheet. You can get these cleared off by going down to the Identification Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and letting them fingerprint you. They will take off the charges that don’t match your prints. This is called a “record challenge.” There is no fee for this process.
I have a common name and my rap sheet has arrests for someone else with my name. What do I do?
If you have a common name like Jane Smith, you might find arrests on your rap sheet that belong to someone else with your name. If this happens, do a “record challenge” at the Identification Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. They will fingerprint you and clear off any charges that don’t match your prints. There is no fee for this process.
You should also be aware that employers might accidentally get the rap sheet of someone else with your name. One thing you can do is to alert the employer to this possibility (“There’s another Jane Smith, and boy has she been in a lot of trouble!” ) and offer to be fingerprinted so that the employer gets the right rap sheet.
I have some juvenile convictions. Will those be on my rap sheet?
If you were convicted as a juvenile, that conviction should be sealed and should not be on your rap sheet. If you see a juvenile conviction on your sheet, contact the Identification Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and find out why.