Rights of Convicted Felons in Colorado

By Liza Martin
A convicted felon has voting, employment and other rights in Colorado.

Justice image by MVit from Fotolia.com

A felony is any offense punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year. Crimes classified as felonies include--among others-- arson, murder, rape, robbery, burglary, manslaughter, and kidnapping. But even as a convicted felon, you have rights in the state of Colorado.

Voting Rights

Colorado is one of five states that allow convicted felons to vote once they have completed their prison sentence, including parole requirements. You are eligible to register and vote the day you are released from parole. If you have been convicted of a felony in another state, you must first establish residency in Colorado before you are eliegible to vote.

It doesn’t matter if you were convicted in a state or federal court. Once you are eligible to vote in Colorado, you are eligible to vote in state and federal elections. However, if your name still appears on the state database as an incarcerated person, a voting official can ask for proof that you have completed parole (i.e., your parole discharge documentation).

If you are in jail serving a misdemeanor sentence, awaiting trial, out on bond, or on probation for a misdemeanor or felony, you have the right to register and vote in any election. But as of July 2006, it is a class five felony charge to register to vote or vote in an election for which you are not legally eligible.

Firearms Rights

Evan as a convict in Colorado, you still have the right to own firearms. However, if you have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony domestic violence, or convicted of attempt to commit or conspiracy to commit a felony, you may not own a “dangerous weapon,” such as a firearm silencer, machine gun, short rifle/shotgun, ballistic knife, or weapons with ID or serial numbers altered or removed. A violation is a class six felony and may result in a fine or imprisonment, or both, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

Employment Rights

In Colorado, job seekers must disclose on an application, if the question is there, whether they've been convicted of a felony, according to the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. However, Colorado law prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose information contained in sealed conviction records, and consumer reporting agencies cannot report arrest records containing convictions that are more than seven years old.

When applying for public employment, a felony conviction or other offense involving moral turpitude does not, by itself, prohibit you from obtaining public employment or receiving a license, certification, or state-required registration, unless the licensure or employment involves educators, peace officers, vulnerable people, juvenile or correctional facilities, or employees of the public employees’ retirement association with access to certain confidential information.

If you’ve been convicted of any charge of child abuse, unlawful sexual offense, or any felony, you cannot work at licensed or certified family care homes, facilities, or agencies that would bring you in contact with children. A criminal background check is required for all applicants of these facilities.

Other Rights

A prospective grand juror will be disqualified if he has previously been convicted of a felony in Colorado or any other state, or any territory of the United States, according to Colorado Revised Code 13-71-105.

If you are convicted of a felony in Colorado, you are disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit or from practicing as an attorney in any court, under Colorado Revised Code 18-1.3-401. Once you’ve completed your sentence and any parole or probation, your right to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit will be restored, but your right to practice as an attorney is not.

About the Author

Based in Dayton, Ohio, Liza Martin began writing in 2005. Her work has appeared in "The Destin Log," "The Newark Advocate," Metromix, and in Columbus publications "City Scene Magazine," "Dublin Magazine," "Upper Arlington Magazine" and "Westerville Magazine." Her areas of expertise include education, music, literature, and health. Martin has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ohio University.