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Colorado enacts host of new criminal law bills

Colorado media outlets widely underscored the importance of a particular day late last month.

That was May 28. One news source issued a representative comment that the month’s final Tuesday was a truly “significant day for criminal justice reform in Colorado.”

That indeed seems to have been the case, as marked by the affixing of Gov. Jared Polis’ signature to several criminal law bills addressing wide-ranging matters. Those statutory provisions are now newly enacted laws that promise material change across a broad front.

One key change spotlights voting rights, which are now restored for persons convicted of crimes who are on parole. A sponsor of that bill states that, “When you increase participation in democracy, you lower the recidivism rate.”

That rate – the degree to which released offenders commit new crimes and are again arrested – was also addressed in a positive way by other statutory provisions now formally enacted as laws. Those centrally include these bills:

  • Senate Bill 191, which requires Colorado courts to hold bond hearings for defendants more quickly than in the past
  • House Bill 1025, which stops the practice of employers seeking information regarding criminal history on a prospective employee’s first-stage job application
  • SB 170, which limits college officials’ inquiries into applicants’ criminal histories
  • HB 1263, which changes select drug-linked felonies into misdemeanor offenses

Collectively, such criminal law changes send a clear signal that Colorado is purposefully thinking about critically important matters such as social reintegration for released offenders, rationality in sentencing outcomes, criminal justice costs and basic fairness.

Colorado residents seeking information on any of the above matters or other recent legal changes can contact experienced attorneys at a proven Denver criminal defense law firm.

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