It is possible to seal drug convictions in Colorado for cases where the conviction occurred before July 1, 2008. Specific rules apply for the process and eligibility for these convictions. Eligible cases are as follows: petty offenses or misdemeanor offenses in violation of Article 18 of Title 18, CRS. Class 5 and Class 6 Felony convictions are also eligible. These felony convictions however cannot relate to the following: 1) possession with intent to manufacture sell or dispense drugs; 2) conspiracy or attempt to dispense, manufacture or sell drugs; and 3) dispensing, manufacturing or selling drugs.
Further criteria requires that the prosecutor not object to the sealing and that the petitioner pay the prosecutor’s office for their legal fees and costs incurred as a result of the petition. The petitioner is also responsible for the court’s filing fees.
All fees and restitution must be paid prior to filing. If a petitioner still owes criminal restitution to a victim, or late fees, court costs, etc. The petition will be denied. Thus, obviously it makes sense to contact the clerk’s office in the district where the petitioner will be filing to determine if all fees have been paid in advance of filing.
A petitioner can file a petition once every 12 months. Petitions to seal drug convictions before July 1, 2008 in Colorado must be filed in the county where the records are located.
At a hearing on the petition, the petitioner must show that her interest in sealing the records outweigh’s the public’s interest in retaining the conviction records. The minimum factors the court will use to decide the petition include the criminal history of the petitioner, the severity of the offense to be sealed, the number of convictions and dates the petitioner is attempting to have sealed, the prosecutor’s position, and the need for the government agency to retain the records. If the petitioner is successful in sealing the records, she may request (and it is obviously advisable to do so) that the court seal the civil case that was filed in order to seal the underlying criminal conviction case.
If the petition is granted, the records will be sealed from public view, however law enforcement will continue to have access to sealed conviction records.