Sealing Drug Convictions
In Colorado, some drug convictions may be sealed from public view under certain circumstances. This includes petty offenses, misdemeanors and even felony convictions. A drug felon that spends time in prison can have his drug conviction sealed, if the charge qualifies and court agrees.
There are 2 different statutes that apply. CRS §24-72-208.5 allows applies to certain drug convictions entered between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2011. CRS § 24-72-308.6 applies to drug convictions entered on or after July 1, 2011. Drug convictions entered prior to July 1, 2008 can only be sealed if the District Attorney in the jurisdiction of the conviction does not object.
For convictions prior to July 1, 2011, a person cannot file the petition to seal until 10 years after final disposition of all criminal proceedings on the case or final release from supervision (such as probation or parole), whichever is later. This statute does not allow sealing of any conviction relating to distribution, manufacturing or sales of drugs.
For convictions on or after July 1, 2011, the time frame to file a petition depends on the type and level of offense. For some petty offenses, the time frame is as short as one year but could be 3 years, for misdemeanors the time frame is as little as 3 years, but could be up to 5 years, for class 5 or 6 felonies the time frame is 7 years, for other felonies it is as little as 7 years and as much as 10 years. This statute has no limitation preventing the sealing of a record involving distribution, manufacturing or sales of drugs. This statute can apply to offenses prior to July 1, 2011, if the prosecutor does not object.
Among the requirements to qualify for sealing conviction records under these statutes, a person must not have been charged or convicted for a criminal offense since the date of final disposition of the case.
If the court denies the petition to seal, a person must wait 12 months before filing another petition.
If the court grants the petition to seal, this does not overturn the conviction. The criminal conviction records do not get destroyed. Police, the Courts and some other governmental agencies will always be allowed to view the records, even if sealed. If the defendant is convicted of a new criminal offense after a court seals the records of conviction, the court will unseal the records.
If the court grants the petition to seal, a person may answer any question regarding conviction that the s/he has not been criminally convicted and they do not need to reference the case in any way.
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