It soon will be easier for many Colorado convicted drug offenders to conceal their criminal histories, and — for the first time — dealers and illegal growers will have a shot at sealing their records too, reports the Denver Post. A law passed in March requires drug offenders to complete their sentences and wait between three and 10 years with no new crimes before asking a court to hide their convictions from public view.
Law enforcement at the state and local level as well as state-regulated employers in sensitive fields such as medicine and education will still get access to all but some of the lowest-level conviction records. But other employers, out-of-state law enforcement, landlords, professional disciplinary boards and reporters won’t. Critics of the move toward giving convicted criminals more privacy call it “deceptive” and say there are legitimate reasons members of the public would want or need access to that information. The law is part of a movement in Colorado and elsewhere to soften the negative effects of a criminal record and help those convicted get back on their feet.