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Can you seal a felony record in Colorado?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 01, 2020 | 0 Comments

The only sealable felony convictions in Colorado are certain drug crimes. And there is a waiting period to petition the court for a seal.

But any felony charge that gets dismissed is immediately sealable. It does not matter whether the offense is drug-related.

The waiting period to seal drug felony convictions depend on when the conviction occurred.

1. From before July 1, 2008

Class 4 felony and class 6 felony drug convictions may be sealable. But the charges cannot have involved either:

  • Possessing with intent to sell, make, or dispense,
  • Selling,
  • Manufacturing, or
  • Dispensing

The waiting period is 10 years after the case ended.

There is no waiting period if the charge was dismissed. And there is no waiting period if the defendant was acquitted at trial.

2. From July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2011

Class 5 felony and class 6 felony drug convictions may be sealable. But the charges cannot have involved either:

  • Possessing with intent to sell, make, or dispense,
  • Selling,
  • Manufacturing, or
  • Dispensing

The waiting period is 10 years after the case ended.

There is no waiting period if the charge was dismissed. And there is no waiting period if the defendant was acquitted at trial.

3. From July 1, 2011, to the present

Level 4 drug felonies may be sealable. And class 5 and 6 felony drug possession convictions may be sealable. The waiting period is generally seven years after the case ends. (But it may be ten years in some cases.).

All other drug felony convictions may be sealable ten years after the case ends. But there is no guarantee the court will comply. The court has discretion to deny record seal petitions.

There is no waiting period if the charge was dismissed. And there is no waiting period if the defendant was acquitted at trial.

4. How to seal a drug felony case in Colorado

There are six steps for defendants to follow:

  1. Obtain a copy of their criminal records from the police department.
  2. Get a verified copy of their criminal history from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI).
  3. Fill the JDF 612 Form.
  4. File the JDF 612 form with the court where the case occurred.
  5. Wait for the court to accept or deny the petition. This may take several weeks. Sometimes, the court may schedule a hearing.
  6. If the court issues an order to seal, send copies to all the agencies that have the conviction on file. This includes the CBI and the police department. The agencies usually seal the records within a few weeks.

Sometimes defendants make mistakes on the petition. When this happens, the court notifies the defendant. The defendant then has the opportunity to resubmit the petition.

5. Cost of sealing a drug felony case in Colorado

Colorado felony drug case

Cost to seal criminal record

Drug cases that get dismissed (no conviction)

$224

Drug convictions prior to July 1, 2008

$624 plus a $27.98 processing fee and all reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the prosecuting attorney

Drug convictions from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2011

$424 plus a $27.98 processing fee

Drug convictions from July 1, 2011, to the present

$224 plus a $27.98 processing fee

Defendants are always encouraged to pursue a record seal if possible. Having a criminal record is a social stigma. And employers are more likely to hire people with no record. 

Also see our article about expunging juvenile records in Colorado.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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