Overview of the Expungement Process
The process of seeking an expungement in Connecticut can be a complicated one, with many different steps and requirements. However, if you successfully receive an expungement and have your criminal convictions erased from your record, going through the process can certainly be worthwhile. Even a slight error or misstep during the process can affect your chances of success, so it is always wise to seek the guidance and assistance of a Connecticut expungement attorney before you begin.
Once you have waited the required amount of time—three years for misdemeanor convictions and five years for felony convictions—you can begin the process of seeking a pardon. The following is a brief look at the steps you will take when attempting to expunge your record.
An application for an expungement pardon in Connecticut contains specific requirements and instructions and requires a significant amount of detail. You must follow all instructions to the letter; otherwise, you risk a denial. In addition to completing the application form provided by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, you must take the following actions as part of the application process:
Complete the form entitled “Criminal History Request for a Pardon,” which requests a criminal background check from the State Police Bureau of Identification. You must send this form, a set of fingerprints, and $25 to the Bureau.
Include information about all criminal convictions within the last ten years. Also, seek out police reports for any time you were arrested within those ten years if the arrest led to a conviction. This includes convictions outside of Connecticut, so you may need to contact out-of-state law enforcement agencies for supporting documents of those arrests.
Obtain at least three reference letters from people you know well and who are willing to recommend that you deserve a pardon. Only one letter is allowed to be written by a relative; however, it’s always best to find the most credible references possible. For instance, a letter from an employer, a professor, or a religious leader will look better than your best friend from middle school.
Write a personal statement to the Board. Here, carefully consider what you choose to put into this statement with the help of your lawyer. This is not the time to be defensive of your conviction. Instead, it’s an opportunity to express how you’ve changed and explain the specific ways in which a pardon could change your life for the better.
Once the Board receives your application and determines that you are eligible to apply, your file can be reviewed in one of two ways: with or without a hearing. If you are eligible for an expedited expungement under the new changes to Connecticut law—meaning your conviction had no “victim interest” and was a non-violent offense—you will not need a hearing and your application will instead go through an administrative review process. There are other circumstances under Connecticut law that can also result in an administrative review.
If the Board determines you require a hearing, you will be notified of a scheduled date for your appearance. You may have your attorney present to represent you, as well as family or others supporting your application. Any victims of your crime and the prosecutor who handled your case will also be allowed to attend if they oppose the pardon. The Board will weigh all information gathered at the hearing to make a decision, and this can take time. You will then be notified whether your pardon has been granted or denied.
Contact a Connecticut Expungement Lawyer Today
At Duffy Law, our attorneys have guided many clients through the expungement process and we are thoroughly familiar with all the steps and requirements. Don’t risk receiving a denial because you don’t have the representation you deserve to help clear your name. Instead, call our office today in New Haven, CT at 203-946-2000 to discuss how we can walk you through this process.