Colorado Record Sealing Attorneys

Conviction Records

SEALING CONVICTION RECORDS

 The Colorado Legislature has recently made it easier for people with actual convictions for controlled substance charges to petition the court to seal their conviction records. In all cases, there is a time passage requirement as well as a requirement that there not be any charges since the end of the Court’s jurisdiction. Also, there may be additional requirements depending on the level of the conviction. The legislation is not retroactive, and therefore you will have to wait until the applicable time period has run before petitioning the Court to seal your conviction record. 

A. Sealing of criminal conviction records information for offenses involving controlled substances for convictions prior to July 1, 2008.

  1. The petitioner must wait for 10 years after the end of the jurisdiction of the court to file a petition. This means that if the court ordered a fine, the ten years begins after the sentencing hearing. If you were ordered to complete probation, the ten-year time period begins after successful completion of and release from probation supervision.
  2. The petitioner can not be charged with a criminal offense 10 years after the final disposition or the case or the end of probation supervision, whichever is later in time.
  3. The eligible convictions for sealing include any petty offense or misdemeanor under title 18, section 18 governing the laws regarding controlled substances. Also this applies to any conviction for class five and six felonies involving controlled substances but specifically excludes any conviction for the distribution, sale or manufacture of controlled substances. Offenses in this category of excluded charges are possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, sell or manufacture, and conspiracy or attempt to distribute, sell or manufacture a controlled substance. Therefore if you were convicted of simple possession or use of a controlled substance, and the charge was a petty offense, a misdemeanor, or a class six or five you are eligible.
  4. For all eligible convictions prior to July 1st 2008, the District Attorney maintains veto power and the Court must deny any petition to seal conviction records if the prosecutor objects. Therefore, it is critical to enter negotiations with the respective district attorney to see what their position is prior to filing a petition under these circumstances.

B. Sealing of criminal conviction records information for offenses involving controlled substances for convictions entered on or after July 1, 2011

The Colorado Legislature has also completely revamped all of the drug laws. Therefore there are references in the next section to petty offenses, misdemeanors and felony charges, as they existed prior to the changes in October 2013 and then to petty drug offenses, misdemeanor drug offenses and felony drug charges as the presently known as after the law changes. What follows are the various time limits for eligibility to petition to have the conviction records sealed. 

  1. If the offense is a petty offense or a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed three years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  2. If the offense is a class 1 misdemeanor in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed five years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  3. If the offense is a class 5 felony or class 6 felony drug possession offense described in section 18-18-403.5, C.R.S., as it existed prior to October 1, 2013, section 18-18-404, C.R.S., or section 18-18-405, C.R.S., as it existed prior to August 11, 2010, the petition may be filed seven years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  4. For all other offenses in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed ten years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  5. If the offense is a petty drug offense in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed one year after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  6. If the offense is a level 2 or level 3 drug misdemeanor in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed three years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  7. If the offense is a level 1 drug misdemeanor in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed five years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  8. If the offense is a level 4 drug felony, the petition may be filed seven years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.
  9. For all other felony drug offenses in article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., the petition may be filed ten years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction.

The new laws as they apply to convictions after July 1st 2011 also significantly reduce the power of the district attorney to veto the petition to seal conviction records. For petty offenses and petty drug offenses, the court must grant the petition regardless of the prosecution’s position, if the petitioner has met all of the other statutory requirements. If the charges were class one, two or three misdemeanors as they existed prior to October 2013 or level one, two or three drug misdemeanors as they are currently defined the district attorney has a right to object. However, if the prosecution does not object, the Court must grant the petition. Even if the prosecution objects, the petitioner still has the opportunity to have a judge decide whether it is appropriate to grant the petition. Even for class five or six felonies or level four drug felonies, the prosecution does not have the absolute veto power that they have for convictions prior to July 1st 2011. The only cases where the prosecution’s objection still results in a dismissal of the petition would be for any other class of felony or level of drug felony. In these cases, it would again be necessary to engage the prosecution in negotiations prior to the petition being filed.

C. Sealing of criminal conviction records information for petty offenses and municipal offenses for convictions not involving controlled substances

Petty offenses are the lowest level criminal charges a person can be convicted of. Municipal offenses can be a variety of charges and are violations of town or otherwise local ordinances.  However, any conviction, regardless of its severity, can cause problems for a person if it comes up on a background check. The following rules apply for petitioning the District Court to seal convictions for petty and municipal offenses

  1. The Petitioner must wait for three years after the end of the Court’s jurisdiction or end of probation supervision to petition the District Court to seal convictions for petty or municipal Offenses.
  2. The Petitioner cannot have been charged or convicted of any felony, misdemeanor or traffic misdemeanor in the three years or more between release from the Court’s jurisdiction and the Petition.
  3. The Petition cannot be a request to seal a misdemeanor traffic offense for a holder of a commercial driver’s license, a holder of a commercial driver’s permit or the operator of a commercial motor vehicle.
  4. A petition to seal convictions for petty or municipal offense cannot be granted if the petitioner still owes costs, fees or restitution associated with the case the petitioner seeks to seal. 

D. Sealing of criminal conviction records information for offenses committed by victims of human trafficking

These laws recognize the plague of human trafficking in our society and that people convicted of prostitution, soliciting for prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, and public indecency may be pawns in a widespread criminal enterprise. In light of this recognition, a Court can seal a conviction for the above-described charges if the following apply:

  1. The Petitioner establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time he or she committed the offense, he or she had been sold, exchanged, bartered, or leased by another person, as described in section 18-3-501 or 18-3-502, C.R.S., for the purpose of performing the offense, or he or she was coerced by another person, as described in section 18-3-503, C.R.S., to perform the offense.
  2. The Petitioner pays the appropriate filing fee
  3. The prosecution does not have any veto power but can still weigh in on whether the petitioner has met their burden regarding being a victim of human trafficking.
  4. There is no time period that a person has to wait to file their petition to seal under these circumstances.