Under current law, adults and juveniles can file motions for relief from collateral consequences. The bill states that a motion can be filed related to convictions retroactively.
The bill allows the state public defender and the office of alternate defense counsel to seek and accept gifts, grants, and donations for the purposes of representing defendants in record sealing proceedings.
The bill creates an automatic sealing process for arrest records when no criminal charges are filed. For arrest records on or after January 1, 2022, the Colorado bureau of investigation (CBI) shall seal arrest records in its custody and control after a year has passed without the filing of criminal charges. For arrest records before January 1, 2022, CBI shall seal arrest records for:
- Felonies with a 3-year statute of limitations if 3 years has passed since the date of arrest without the filing of charges; and
- Misdemeanors, traffic misdemeanors, petty offenses, or municipal violations with an 18-month statute of limitations or less if 18 months has passed since the date of arrest without the filing of charges.
Felony arrest records with a statute of limitations of longer than 3 years or with no statute of limitation are not eligible for automatic sealing.
Under current law misdemeanor offenses ineligible for sealing are eligible if the district attorney consents to the sealing or if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the petitioner's need for sealing of the record is significant and substantial, the passage of time is such that the petitioner is no longer a threat to public safety, and the public disclosure of the record is no longer necessary to protect or inform the public. The bill adds drug level 1 felonies, class 4, class 5, or class 6 felonies, or unclassified felonies that are not a crimes of violence to those offenses eligible.
The bill creates a process for a person with multiple conviction records that are eligible for sealing due to an intervening conviction to petition the court in a civil proceeding to have the records sealed. The district attorney has an opportunity to object, and if the district attorney objects, the court sets the matter for hearing to determine whether to seal the records.
The bill allows a person who receives a full pardon to have his or her conviction record sealed.
The bill creates a process to automatically seal drug convictions. The state court administrator (administrator) shall compile a list of drug convictions that are eligible for sealing under current law, and:
- If the drug conviction is for a petty offense or misdemeanor, that 7 years have past since the disposition of the case; or
- If the drug conviction is for a felony, that at least 10 years have past since the disposition of the case.
After the administrator compiles the list, the administrator shall send the list to the Colorado bureau of investigation (bureau) for review and the bureau shall remove any convictions in which the identity of the defendant is unverifiable or convictions in the which defendant had another conviction during the waiting period. The bureau shall send its list to each district attorney in the state. The district attorney shall remove any convictions in which a condition of a plea was that the defendant agreed to not have the case sealed and convictions in which the defendant has pending criminal charges. Each district attorney shall send its amended list to the administrator. The administrator shall compile each of the lists into one list and sort the convictions by judicial district.
If the chief judge of a judicial district authorizes the administrator to issue sealing orders, the administrator shall issue sealing orders based on the list received from the district attorneys. If the chief judge of a judicial district does not authorize the administrator to issue sealing orders, the district attorney shall send the list to the chief judge for the judicial district and the courts of that judicial district shall enter sealing orders based on the list received.
The administrator shall develop a website that allows defendants to confidentially determine whether his or her conviction has been sealed and information about how to receive a copy of the sealing order.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)