Sealing of Drug Convictions in Colorado

Drug Conviction Sealing in Colorado - New Law

The sealing of drug convictions and criminal records in Colorado is an ever-changing area of law. Colorado continues to make changes to its records-sealing laws and now allows the sealing of drug offenses in limited circumstances for smaller quantity possession of drugs like methamphetamine or meth, and cocaine. For years, our lawyers have been able to seal cases in Denver, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties that were dismissed completely, when a person successfully completed a deferred judgment and sentence for all charges pled to in the case, when the defendant won at trial, when charges were not filed, and when all charges were dismissed. The law pertaining to the sealing of drug convictions is new.

Sealing of Drug Convictions

New rules have recently come about concerning the sealing of drug convictions only. Note that this is different from the paragraph above, which applies to nonconvictions. These rules are very complicated and in many instances require the consent of the District Attorney. We can outline only general principles here, so don't rely on this brief outline to make any final decisions. You need to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers about the specific facts of your case before making any decisions. Here is just a sample of the confusing new laws:

Drug Convictions Occurring Between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2011

For drug convictions obtained between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2011, an individual can file a petition to seal his or her record 1) after a period of 10 years following the termination of supervision, 2) if no charges or convictions occur for any criminal offenses following release from supervision, 3) if the person does not owe any fines, costs or restitution (there are many special costs payable to the government related to the sealing petition) and 4) if the conviction pertains to a Class 5 or 6 felony drug offense (not distribution of drugs), or a misdemeanor drug offense or a petty drug offense. Members of the public can request the court to unseal these convictions, after they are sealed, under certain circumstances.

Drug Convictions Occurring After July 1, 2011

Drug convictions following July 1, 2011, have different rules. Here, a person can file a petition to seal his or her record after the specific number of years and after the termination of the case and supervision over the defendant: 1) after a period of three years for petty offenses, Class 2 misdemeanors and Class 3 misdemeanors, 2) after a period of five years for Class1 misdemeanors, 3) after seven years for Class 5 or 6 felony drug possession (not distribution of drugs) and 5) if the conviction pertains to other drug offenses, after a period of 10 years. The petitioner must have his or her fines, costs and restitution paid off. Members of the public can request the court unseal these convictions under certain circumstances.

Drug Convictions Occurring Prior to July 1, 2011

For drug convictions occurring prior to July 1, 2011, for which a person would otherwise qualify, an individual can file a petition after July 1, 2011, if: 1) the prosecuting attorney does not object, 2) the person pays the prosecuting attorney's fees and costs related to the petition, 3) the convicted person pays a filing fee and 4) the convicted person pays an extra fee of $200. There are many other miscellaneous provisions related to how government or individuals may obtain access to sealed files. The bottom line on convictions occurring prior to July 1, 2011, is that you can't do it if the District Attorney objects, so you need an extraordinary reason for asking to have your record sealed.

If you are seeking to have your drug conviction sealed, be smart and contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at O'Malley Law Office at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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