On May 28th, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed into law 7 bills expanding the rights of those convicted in Colorado. Two of the laws are set to have a huge impact on the criminal justice system. HB19-1266, the Restore Voting Rights Parolees bill, restores voting rights to individuals on parole. The bill restores full voting rights to someone on parole, mandating that the Division of Adult Parole provide information regarding a parolee’s voting rights and how to register as a voter (read the full text here).

HB19-1263, Offense Level for Controlled Substance Possession, factors to have a significant impact as it lowers the offense levels for the possession of controlled substances and marijuana. The bill lowers the offense for possession of schedule I and II substances from a level 4 drug felony to a level 1 drug misdemeanor. The bill also lowers the offense level for possession of marijuana. Currently, possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana or more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate is a level 4 drug felony, and possession of 6 to 12 ounces of marijuana or less than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate is a level 1 drug misdemeanor. The bill lowers these levels to a level 1 drug misdemeanor for possession of more than 6 ounces of marijuana or more than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate, and for possession less than 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate a class 2 drug misdemeanor. The bill also lowers the amount fined for possession charges (read the full text here).

Bill HB19-1025, Limits on Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries, mandates that employers cannot ask for criminal history on an initial job application. As well, the bill states that employers cannot advertise that individuals with criminal histories cannot apply or place statements in the application that say individuals with a criminal history cannot apply (read the full text here).

Bill SB19-170, Inquiry into College Applicant Criminal History, prohibits state colleges from asking about an applicant’s criminal history or disciplinary history at any primary, secondary, or post-secondary institution. Some exceptions to this are for any pending criminal charges, any prior convictions or disciplinary history of stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence, and any convictions of assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, or murder within 5 years of submitting an application. Institutions that accept Application forms that can be used to apply to other higher education institutions are prohibited from considering any previous criminal or disciplinary history. If using a national application service such as the Common App, colleges are allowed to consider criminal information provided on that application. Review of an applicant’s criminal or disciplinary history must be made in a reasonable amount of time and if an applicant is denied admission based on criminal or disciplinary information, they must be provided an appeals process if otherwise qualified for acceptance into the institution (read the full text here).

SB19-231, Colorado Second Chance Scholarship, creates a second chance scholarship for youth who have been committed to the department of youth services and are looking to pursue higher education (read the full text here).

HB19-1250, Sexual Assault While in Custody or Detained, establishes the offense of unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer. This changes the current law from being a class 3 felony for sexual assault and a class 4 felony for unlawful sexual contact. The law adds unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer to class 3 and class 4 felony sentencing. Other penalties are that offenders must register as a sex offender and must have lifetime supervision (read the full text here).

If you are facing criminal charges and need an experienced and relentless criminal defense attorney, call Krizman Law today at 303-529-2677.

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