Colorado House Passes HB19-1275

In early May, hundreds of bills gained approval from the Colorado House, including over 75 bills that addressed the need for criminal justice reform. One of them was House Bill 1275, which would make many non-violent misdemeanor and felony convictions eligible for record sealing after the person doesn’t commit a crime within specific time periods.

Not only does the bill allow a person to seal a criminal record for a conviction without filing a separate civil action, but it also creates a simplified process to seal criminal records for defendants who have their cases dismissed, completed a diversion program, and obtained a deferred judgment.

There are currently more than 1.8 million state residents listed on the Colorado criminal record database. Unfortunately, having a permanent criminal record has resulted in many individuals in continued unemployment or underemployment, housing uncertainty, and reduction of income for themselves and their households.

The benefits of HB19-1275 include:

  • The removal of employment and housing barriers will provide more opportunity for people to become more productive citizens.
  • Affected individuals could provide more for their families since an estimated 60,000 children have experienced one parent going to jail or prison, according to the Colorado Center on Law & Policy.
  • The reduction of economic obstacles leads to lowering recidivism, which increases public safety.

If a person was convicted of a petty crime or a drug petty offense, he/she could file for record sealing one year after being released for supervision or after the last disposition was filed in the case. If a person was convicted of a Class 2 or 3 misdemeanor, or any misdemeanor drug offense, he/she could file for record sealing after two years.

If a person was convicted of a Class 4, 5, or 6 felony, or a Level 3 or 4 drug felony, or a Class 1 misdemeanor, he/she could file for record sealing after three years. If a person was convicted of another offense that wasn’t mentioned, he/she could file for record sealing after five years.

In each case, the district attorney has an opportunity to object to record sealing. In addition, the victim of the crime can request a court hearing.

Class 1, 2, and 3 felonies and Level 1 drug felonies are not eligible, such as the following:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Child abuse
  • Offenses against at-risk minors or adults

There are no signs Gov. Jared Polis will veto any legislation. The new state laws will affect Colorado residents in a matter of weeks, months, or even years.

If you are interested in getting your criminal record sealed in Denver, contact The Law Office of Michael P. Boyce, PC today at (303) 622-5559 and schedule a free consultation.