Connecticut Expungement Attorneys
Helping individuals clear their criminal records
Many people who are productive members of society and who live otherwise law-abiding lives have criminal records. For example, you may have a criminal record as a result of a youthful indiscretion involving alcohol or drugs during a period of experimentation. Perhaps your criminal record may reflect a past life from which you’ve moved on and would like to put firmly in the past. Fortunately, the law recognizes the fact that many people deserve to put the past behind them, and in some circumstances, it allows you to remove negative information from your criminal record through a process called expungement. Expungement pardons are available three years after a conviction for misdemeanor convictions and five years after felony convictions.
The experienced criminal defense legal team at Duffy Law understands how to navigate the criminal justice system and get results. To see if you qualify to have your record expunged in Connecticut, call Duffy Law, LLC today at 203-946-2000.
Expungement can provide many benefits
When your criminal record is expunged, all records associated with an offense are destroyed, and you can legally say that you do not have a criminal record. There are many ways expungement can significantly improve your situation, some of which are detailed below.
Expungement can help you obtain employment – A background check has become a standard part of the process of screening applicants for many employers. The existence of a criminal record may disqualify you from consideration for a certain position. Even in cases where it does not automatically disqualify you, it will not be an attractive factor to potential employers. When your record is expunged, you are legally able to deny the existence of any criminal record, improving your chances of securing employment.
Expungement can improve your peace of mind – A criminal record is part of the public record, meaning that it can be accessed by anyone with the motivation to do so. This means that friends, family members, co-workers, or even potential romantic partners could potentially access information about your past.
Expungement can make it easier to rent an apartment – Landlords often conduct thorough background checks on people who apply to live in their apartments. The existence of a criminal record may make it difficult for you to rent an apartment, which can significantly limit your ability to live where you would like.
Expungement may improve your chances of getting a loan – Some lenders consider a criminal record an indication that a person may be less likely to pay back a loan and may increase your interest rate or simply deny people who have a criminal record. As a result, expunging your record may help you obtain financing or lower the interest rate you are offered.
Because each state sets forth its own statutes and procedures for the expungement of a criminal record, it is important to speak to an experienced state crime expungement attorney at Duffy Law regarding the specifics of any case. By way of example, however, the State of Connecticut provides for the following:
Connecticut generally refers to this process as the ‘Erasure of Criminal Records’ rather than expungement. When an erasure is granted it includes all police and court records and all other materials with accordance to the charge. Juvenile offenders may have all their records erased and anything associated with the case, including files of complaint, arrest, petitions, referrals, reports, and orders.
• Arrest: If you have an adult criminal record involving an arrest only, Connecticut allows the “erasure” of those adult criminal records.
If you were found innocent or the charges against you were dropped, you may file a petition for expungement of public records pertaining to that alleged criminal activity.
• Conviction: If you have an adult criminal record involving a conviction or other disposition, Connecticut may allow the “erasure” of those adult criminal records. Several programs for deferred adjudication may result in the erasure of your record.
• No Adjudication: If you have a juvenile criminal record and were not adjudicated, Connecticut allows the expungement/sealing of those juvenile criminal records. Erasure is immediate when a juvenile case is dismissed and is entered 13 months after the entering of a nolle prosequi  or prosecutorial inaction.
• Adjudication: If you have a juvenile criminal record and you were adjudicated, Connecticut allows the expungement/sealing of those juvenile criminal records. Before seeking erasure, you must wait 2 years for less serious offenses and 4 years for more serious offenses. In addition, you must be at least age 17 and have no subsequent convictions or pending charges.
It is important to note, however, that the administrative erasure of records does not completely eliminate any trace of an arrest or conviction. In limited circumstances, therefore, the official records can still be accessed based upon the entry of a court order.
If your case does not fit into the categories listed above to qualify for expungement, you may be able to pursue an expungement pardon:
– Misdemeanor convictions after three years have passed.
– Felony convictions after five years have passed.
The Connecticut Board of Pardons decides to grant or deny either an absolute or provisional pardon. Not all states allow felony convictions to be erased, regardless of the amount of time that has passed although Connecticut is a state that makes this possible.
Qualifying for expungement
Many people believe there are several special criteria you must meet to have your criminal record expunged. However, people in a variety of situations with different types of convictions may be able to obtain an expungement. The most important factor is the waiting period, which varies depending on your charge and how your case was resolved. The following are some examples of relevant waiting periods to be considered for an expungement in Connecticut:
- Any case that was nolled – 13 months
- Misdemeanor conviction – Three years
- Felony conviction – Five years
Once the waiting period has passed, you may submit an application for consideration by the Board of Pardons and Parole.
Another key criterion is that you don’t have a criminal case pending at the time of your application or that you haven’t been convicted of a crime since the conviction you are seeking to erase. If you have another conviction or are facing current charges, you may not be eligible to have past convictions erased. In addition, if you have an expungement application pending and then pick up another case, you will need to tell the Board as soon as possible, and it could result in a denial.
Other than the waiting period and subsequent criminal cases, the law sets out few other specific criteria for expungements in Connecticut. One of our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers can evaluate your situation and advise you whether you are a good candidate for expungement of your record.
In some situations, you may be able to have your application reviewed in an expedited manner. In 2015, Connecticut law changed to allow nonviolent offenders with no victims involved to have their applications reviewed without the need for a hearing in front of the Board of Pardons and Parole. This can help you clear your record in a more efficient manner if you qualify.
Expungement for serious crimes
The general assumption is that people convicted of violent or particularly serious crimes will never have their records expunged. While it is true that some offenders aren’t granted a clean record, it is likely because of their personal circumstances, as the Board of Pardons and Parole reviews each application on an individual basis. In reality, people with a wide variety of criminal convictions have been able to clear their names.
When you submit your application, the Board will evaluate your entire situation, including:
- The circumstances of the crime
- Your explanation for the crime
- Your entire criminal record
- Your educational background
- Your military background
- Your employment history
- The reasons you want an expungement
- Signs of rehabilitation
- Any other relevant factors
Because the entirety of your situation is considered, it is critical to seek help from a lawyer who understands what the Board is looking for. At Duffy Law, we understand how to complete an application with all the accurate and necessary information as well as with persuasive reasoning regarding how an expungement can change your life for the better.
Expungement of marijuana possession and related crimes
Drug crimes – including possession – can have an impact on your life because of the general stigma of drug use. Even though the societal view of marijuana use has been relaxing in recent years, this conviction can still stand in your way. Many employers are hesitant to hire applicants with drug convictions because they fear they may still use drugs and may be unreliable. In addition, marijuana possession is still considered a deportable crime by immigration officials. A conviction of any drug possession can make you ineligible for federal student aid and can also result in a denial for apartments if landlords fear you may engage in illegal activities.
The good news for prior marijuana offenders is that Connecticut reduced possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use from a crime to a minor violation in 2011. This means that a possession violation can’t result in jail time and doesn’t go on your criminal record. Because this offense has been decriminalized, state law allows prior offenders to seek an erasure of that criminal conviction. If you were convicted of possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana before 2011, you should discuss your options for erasure with the skilled expungement attorneys at Duffy Law as soon as possible.
What if you’ve already been denied an expungement?
Expungement applications in Connecticut get denied for a variety of reasons. A denial is not the end of the road, however, as you have future chances to reapply after more time has passed and after you can demonstrate positive circumstances in your life and that you’ve reformed. Generally speaking, you must wait at least a year to submit a new application after a previous one has been denied. However, in some cases, the Board will extend the waiting period.
When you receive your denial, the Board is required to provide the reasons it denied the application in writing. It is important to have an expungement attorney review these reasons and help advise you on your future chances at expunging your record. When you submit your next application, an attorney will help you do so with your prior denial in mind.
Overall, the expungement process in Connecticut is different for everyone. Each case is unique and should be evaluated by an attorney. At Duffy Law, we have successfully helped many clients clear their criminal records and improve their lives, opening up future opportunities. You shouldn’t hesitate to discuss the possibility of an expungement with our firm today.
Contact a Connecticut expungement lawyer today to discuss your case
The existence of a criminal record can have a negative impact on your life in a number of ways. Fortunately, it may be possible to have any negative marks on your criminal record removed through the process of expungement. Expungement can be a complicated process, so it is advisable for anyone considering seeking an expungement to enlist the help of an experienced criminal attorney. To schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys at Duffy Law, LLC in New Haven, call us today at 203-946-2000.