An expungement removes a criminal offense from your record for most purposes. Connecticut’s criminal records laws permit the expungement of arrest records, criminal charges, and convictions. Most arrest records and dismissed charges are automatically expunged after a period of time. Adult convictions may be eligible for an expungement, which is sometimes called an absolute pardon.
Most juvenile records in Connecticut are confidential and are not available to the public without a court order. Juvenile records may also be expunged. In order to request the expungement of juvenile records, you must file a Petition for Erasure with the court.
Most arrest records, acquitted charges, and dismissed charges are automatically expunged once the relevant appeal deadlines expire. Additionally, if you were convicted of a crime that was later decriminalized, you are entitled to an expungement. However, you must file a Petition for Erasure with the court to obtain an expungement for a decriminalized conviction.
In Connecticut, the Board of Pardons and Paroles is responsible for pardoning felony and misdemeanor convictions. There are waiting periods for expungement claims. You must wait:
- Three years for misdemeanor convictions
- Five years for felony convictions
If you request an expungement pardon before the waiting period expires, it will be denied.
To request an expungement, you must file an Application for Pardon with the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Applications are pre-screened and you may be selected for a pardon hearing. Unfortunately, the Board only grants a very limited number of hearings and pardons each year. For this reason, it is important that you file a detailed and accurate application.
If a pardon hearing is scheduled, you must attend it. At the hearing, the Board will consider your eligibility for a pardon. It will weigh the severity of your crimes against evidence of rehabilitation, including your work history and character references.
If you are not eligible for a pardon, you may apply for a Certificate of Employability. A Certificate of Employability prevents a company from denying employment based solely on your criminal record. It also makes you eligible for certain types of licenses.
The Board of Pardons and Parole does not charge an application fee. However, you will be charged for a State Police criminal records check. If you hire a lawyer, he or she will also charge an attorney fee.
If the Board grants your petition, you may legally state on a job application or in an interview that the expunged criminal record does not exist. When most employers search your Connecticut criminal record, the charges will not be present.
A successful expungement petition requires supporting evidence, including information about your rehabilitation and good behavior. An expungement lawyer can help guide you through the application process. Additionally, a lawyer can speak on your behalf during a pardon hearing and give you the best chance of expunging your record.