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Legislative Changes in 2019: A Fresh Start For The New Year

There’s no better time for a fresh start than the start of a new decade. Luckily, recent legislative changes in Colorado just made that possible for those with past convictions. HB19-1025 makes it easier for those with a criminal record to find employment and makes it easier for reformed individuals to seal their criminal (and not-so-criminal) mistakes. These changes will make it easier for those with a criminal record to get employment and housing. Read more to find out about what these changes entail, and how they might affect you or your family. Here’s to the start of a great new year!

New Start for the New Year; Learn About the New Sealing Possibilities To Help Get a Clean Start in 2020; Nicol Gersch Petterson Blog; Top Secret Stamp; Confidentiality

HB19-1275 Limit on Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries 

This bill is a huge win for those with a criminal record looking to seal their conviction or arrest records. This act prohibits employers from advertising that those with a criminal history may not apply for a position. It also prohibits inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application. It is easy for employers to discredit you when you can only answer yes or no to the dreaded, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” question on an application. When that question is removed from the application, you are more likely to move to the interview phase of the hiring process. Here, you can tell a real live person the details of the incident, which can make it easier for employers to be understanding of your situation. You are more likely to get hired when you can explain “Yes, but it happened 20 years ago!”

Not only does this bill allow for more employment opportunities, but it allows for better employment opportunities. We also discussed this bill in our Money-Saving Legislative Changes blog post. If your New Year’s Resolution is a career change or pay raise, it’s time to get moving on those applications! 

HB19-1275 Increased Eligibility for Criminal Record Sealing 

This bill is another life-saver for those with a criminal record. After all, one mistake in life shouldn’t determine your future years, or even decades, down the road. This change makes it easier to seal past convictions, which could improve your employment or housing situation. First, this bill simplifies the process to seal a criminal record for those who had their cases dismissed, had a deferred judgment, or completed a diversion program. Additionally, this act allows a defendant to petition for sealing of records without requiring them to file a separate civil action sometimes by making an oral motion in court the very day their sentence ends.

For petty offenses or petty drug offenses, the motion to seal may be filed one year after the date of the final disposition, or one year after the release of the defendant from supervision concerning a criminal defense. This is conditional on the fact that the defendant has not been convicted of another offense since that time. Following the same rules, a motion to seal can be filed 2 years after class 2 or 3 misdemeanors, 3 years after class 4, 5, or 6 felonies, and 3 years after a level 3 or 4 drug felony. For all other offenses, a petition to seal can be filed 5 years after the disposition or release date. More good news: this act also states a defendant is not required to waive their rights to file motion a motion to seal later as a condition of a plea agreement now. 

There are some situations where this act does not apply. Class 1, 2, and 3 felonies and level 1 drug felonies are not eligible to be sealed. Overall, this bill can provide a fresh start for many people who deserve it. If nothing else, it can provide peace of mind that one mistake when you’re young won’t haunt you forever.

Need More Help?

If you need legal advice this holiday season, consider reaching out to Nicol Gersch Petterson for a free 30-minute consultation. We offer flat rate legal help to seal your earlier cases.  Find more information at https://NicolGerschLaw.Com or call 970.670.0738 1 at any time.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and Nicol Gersch Petterson, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.