This new house bill repeals and reenacts the statutes related to sealing criminal justice records.  There is now a simplified process to seal criminal records in circumstances where:

1. A case against a defendant is dismissed because the defendant is acquitted of all counts;

2. A diversion agreement is completed by the Defendant when a criminal case has been filed; or

3. The defendant completes a deferred judgment and sentence and all counts are dismissed.

The court seals those records within the criminal case without the necessity of a separate civil action being required.

Bill 19-1275 allows a defendant to petition for sealing criminal records when there is a criminal conviction without a separate civil action:

If the offense is a petty offense, drug petty offense – the motion may be filed 1 year after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of defendant from supervision regarding a criminal conviction. The court seals the records if the defendant has not been convicted of a criminal offense since the later of the above dates.

If the offense is a class 2 or 3 misdemeanor or any drug misdemeanor, the motion can be filed 2 years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings or the release from supervision.  The district attorney can object to the sealing; however, if they do not object and the crime is not a victims’ rights act crime, the court seals the case if the defendant has not been convicted of a criminal offense since the later of the above dates. If the district attorney objects or the victim requests a hearing, the court will decide on the sealing of records.

If the offense is a class 4, 5 or 6, a level 3 or 4 drug felony, or a class 1 misdemeanor, a motion may be filed 3 years after the later of the date of final disposition of all criminal proceedings or the release of defendant from supervision concerning criminal conviction. Once again, the district attorney can object but if they do not and the crime is not a victims’ rights act crime, the court seals the case if the defendant has not been convicted of a criminal offense since the later of the dates above. If the district attorney objects or the victim requests a hearing, the court will decide on the sealing of the records after hearing.

For all other offenses, the petition may be filed 5 years after the later of the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings or the release of defendant from supervision concerning a criminal conviction. The district attorney can object to the sealing; however, if they do not object and the crime is not a victims’ rights act crime, the court seals the case if the defendant has not been convicted of a criminal offense since the later of the above dates. If the district attorney objects or the victim requests a hearing, the court will decide on the sealing of records.

The bill outlines the offenses that sealing is not eligible for including class 1, 2 and 3 felonies and level 1 drug felonies. The bill retains the specific record sealing provisions for when no charges are filed and for victims of human trafficking, municipal offenses and posting intimate photos of a person offenses.

Key point here is: The bill states a defendant is not required to waive his or her right to file a motion to seal as a condition of a plea agreement.