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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118256
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I have a felony record from 1990 for running from the police

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I have a felony record from 1990 for running from the police in my car. They sent me right away to the state hospital and I could have pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but that would put me in the hospital for 4 years and I would lose custody of my daughter. So I pleaded guilty and got probation, and they let me off early.
My first name on my birth certificate is SAlly, In 1975 I started using the first name Jana and when I moved to CO I had Janani Sally put on my license . The reason I changed my name to Jana was because when having a mental health episode, I heard the name Sally in an abusive manner. I have been stable on medication since 1994.
Everything is in the name Jana, my lease my Medicaid , food stamps, Social security, I'm on SSI and that's under Jana too.
I want to change my name legally to Jana, but you can't change your name if you have a felony record. I think a lawyer could get around that, and I have a little money, $800 saved. CAn I be helped?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Under CO law, the mere fact you have a felony conviction does not exclude you from obtaining a legal name change. Under CO law, if you can prove a legitimate reason for the name change it can still be granted.

CO Revised Statute 13-15-101. Petition - proceedings. (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section, the court may grant a petition for a change of name of a petitioner who was previously convicted of a felony in this state or any other state or adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for an offense that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult in this state or any other state or under federal law if the court finds that the petitioner must have a legal name change in order to be issued in that name a driver's license or identification card from the department of revenue and if all of the following requirements are met:

(a) The petitioner meets all of the requirements of subsections (1) and (1.5) of this section and paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of this section;

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(b) The proposed name change is to a name under which the petitioner was convicted or adjudicated; except that, for good cause, the court may allow a change to a name other than a name under which the petitioner was convicted or adjudicated;

(c) Prior to filing the petition, the name change applicant:

(I) (A) Submits his or her fingerprints to the Colorado bureau of investigation and the federal bureau of investigation for purposes of obtaining a fingerprint-based criminal history records check along with a written request to add his or her proposed name as an alias to the name change applicant's criminal history record.

(B) The Colorado bureau of investigation is authorized to add an alias to a name change applicant's criminal history record upon request;

(II) (A) Notifies the district attorney's office in any district in which the applicant was convicted of a felony that he or she is requesting a name change pursuant to this subsection (3).

(B) If the district attorney's office has a record of any victim of the applicant's crime, the district attorney's office shall send notice of the proposed name change to the victim;

(III) If, at the time the petition is filed, the applicant is in custody of the department of corrections, under an order for probation or community corrections, or incarcerated in a county jail, the applicant shall provide written notice to the supervising agency that he or she is requesting a change of name under this section; and

(IV) Provides the court with a copy of his or her criminal history record from both the Colorado bureau of investigation and the federal bureau of investigation and the criminal history report from the Colorado bureau of investigation reflects the addition of the proposed changed name as an alias; and

(d) The court finds that:

(I) The name change is not for the purpose of fraud, to avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction, or to facilitate a criminal activity; and

(II) The desired name change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.

(4) The department of revenue shall not issue a driver's license or an identification card in the new name of a name change applicant unless the name change applicant submits a court order changing the applicant's name pursuant to this section.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Would my reason qualify as good cause? What could a good cause reason be? what would I need to say or write?

Yes, your reason that you have had some bad mental health issues regarding use of that name towards you and it causes you emotional distress when hearing the name used towards you. You would need to likely support that with a note from your treating mental health professionals explaining the distress you suffer with use of the name. Also, you need to state all of your documents and SS are under the new name, which you have been using for years.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That applies to the name SAlly. I also need to change my name on my license from Janani to Jana. Would the fact that almost everything is in the name Jana be a good cause for changing license from Janani to Jana?

Since Jana is a short version of Janani you can argue that you want to go to Janani as the full version of your name Jana.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No,, I want to go FROM Janani TO Jana because most everything is in the name of Jana and I chose Janani as a guru given name when I was ill. Janani is on my license. Social security has all my names and uses Jana for my SSI

Sorry for getting it backwards, but the principle is still the same. Really though, using Jana is like someone whose name is Robert using the nickname Bob, but it is possible and it is okay to go to Jana from Janaini if you want to ask the court to change it to the shortened version because that is what you use all of the time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

would I have to appear in court alone? Do you think NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally ILL) could provide a lawyer to come with me? Or how much would a lawyer charge?

You would have to appear either with an attorney or pro se (representing yourself). I do not know if NAMI would provide you an attorney, as their resources are a little limited. Generally a name change petition without anyone challenging it would cost about $1000 or so to hire an attorney to represent you.