As most Coloradans are aware, possession of marijuana is now legal with restrictions. The marijuana can only be for personal use (e.g., there is no intention to sell it), the total amount is no more than two ounces, and the person in possession is over the legal age, etc. It should be noted that there are still penalties in place for possessing more than two ounces of marijuana, selling the drug outside of a legal operation is still a felony, and, of course, driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is still a very serious offense.
However, now that it is legal to possess a limited amount of marijuana, a big question has come up for people who were previously convicted of marijuana possession: how can I clear my record?
Expunging Prior Marijuana Charges
Although today possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is legal, and possession of much more than that is only punished with a small fine, a prior charge will still show up on a background check. Say, for instance, that someone was convicted of possession of marijuana 15 years ago. That charge would still show up today if he or she were to apply for a job and undergo a background check.
For some people, a charge like that can prevent them from getting a job, especially if they work in a conservative area of the state or in an industry that is sensitive to drug charges. For these people, many counties now understand, it is critical that they are given a path to clear the record.
Boulder County is now expunging criminal histories for marijuana offenses that are no longer illegal15 years ago, possession could be a felony — today you can have it removed from your record.
If you need to have your record expunged, it is important to note that it will not happen automatically. Unless you petition for the expungement, the charge will stay on your record and continue to show up in background checks. However, the Boulder County is to be commended for simplifying the process. You can either hire an attorney to take care of it for you (the easier, but more expensive route), or you can go to the DA’s office and fill out the paperwork yourself.
Should You Hire an Attorney to Expunge Your Record?
When evaluating whether to expunge your prior marijuana conviction, the DA will consider whether there are additional legal issues around your particular case, for instance, whether there was an illegal search and seizure that resulted in the conviction.
If your case is particularly complicated, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney to find out whether you can go through the process on your own or if you should have a professional in your corner.
If you are considering getting your record expunged and would like assistance, call us today at 303-449-1873 to set up a complimentary consultation.