Record Sealing Collateral Consequences Reduction
Under current law, adults and juveniles can file motions for relief from collateral consequences. The act states that a motion can be filed related to convictions retroactively.
The act allows the state public defender and the office of alternate defense counsel to apply for grants and accept gifts and donations for the purposes of representing defendants in record sealing proceedings. The state public defender and the office of the alternate defense counsel shall not accept a gift, grant, or donation if the gift, grant, or donation is conditioned on its use for sealing records for a specific identified individual or individuals. The state public defender and the office of the alternate defense counsel shall report on the receipt and expenditure of gifts, grants, and donations at its SMART act hearing.
The act 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 have 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 have 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 limitations are not eligible for automatic sealing. The department of education can still access and use records sealed under these provisions.
The act 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 act allows a person who receives a full and unconditional pardon to have his or her conviction record sealed.
The act creates a process to automatically seal drug convictions. The state court administrator (administrator) shall compile a list of drug convictions eligible for sealing under current law, and seal the record:
- If the drug conviction is for a petty offense or misdemeanor, and at least 7 years have passed since the disposition of the case; or
- If the drug conviction is for a felony, and at least 10 years have passed since the disposition of the case.
After the administrator compiles the list, the administrator shall send the list to the CBI for review and the bureau shall remove any convictions in which the identity of the defendant is unverifiable or convictions in which the 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.
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 the defendant's conviction has been sealed and information about how to receive a copy of the sealing order.
The act appropriates from the general fund $300,605 to the judicial department to implement the act. The act appropriates $39,815 from the general fund to the department of public safety for the biometric identification unit.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)