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Sealing Drug Convictions in Colorado

The record sealing statute in Colorado generally bars the sealing of arrest and criminal records when the defendant was ultimately convicted of the charge, or if there were multiple charges the record cannot be sealed unless all charges were dismissed or the defendant was acquitted of all charges at trial.  However, one exception to the general rule precluding the sealing of records pertaining to a conviction exists relative to convictions involving controlled substances.

Whether one convicted of a controlled substance offense can have those records sealed depends on the charge to which they plead or were found guilty.  Additionally, the date of conviction determines when the petition to seal can be filed.

If a defendant was convicted of a controlled substance offense after July 1, 2008 and prior to July 1, 2011, a petition to seal those records can be filed ten years after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings or the defendant’s release from supervision, whichever is later.  To be eligible to file a petition to seal the records the defendant must not have not been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense during that time period.  The convictions which may be sealed are any conviction for a petty offense relating to a controlled substance, any conviction for a misdemeanor relating to a controlled substance, or any class 5 or class 6 felony conviction related to a controlled substance.  However, a class 5 or class 6 felony conviction for the sale, manufacturing, or dispensing of a controlled substance, attempt or conspiracy to commit the sale, manufacturing, or dispensing of a controlled substance, or possession with the intent to manufacture, dispense, or sell a controlled substance, cannot be sealed.

Different timelines apply to a defendant who was convicted of a controlled substance offense on or after July 1, 2011.  If the conviction was for a petty offense or a class 2 or class 3 misdemeanor, the petition may be filed three years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision.  If the conviction was for a class 1 misdemeanor, the petition may be filed five years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision.  If the conviction was for a class 5 or class 6 felony drug possession offense, the petition may be filed seven years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision.  For all other drug offense convictions the petition may be filed ten years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision.

If a petition to seal a felony drug conviction other than a class 5 or class 6 felony is filed and the district attorney objects to the petition the court is required to dismiss the petition.

For any conviction entered prior to July 1, 2008, for which a defendant would otherwise qualify to have the records sealed if they had been convicted between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2011, the defendant may obtain an order sealing the records  if the prosecuting attorney does not object to the sealing, the defendant pays the prosecutor’s office their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs relating to the petition to seal, the defendant pays the filing fee required by law, and the defendant pays an additional filing fee of two hundred dollars to cover the actual costs related to the filing of the petition to seal the records.

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