A criminal record has long-lasting consequences that can affect every aspect of your life: where you live, where you work, your immigration status, and even whether or not you can obtain a loan. Fortunately, there is a way to clear your record if enough time has passed and you’ve kept a clean record since your last arrest. Below we’ll discuss how you can get a pardon, or expungement, of your criminal record.
Expungement Pardon & Provisional Pardon
To start, any crime and offense can be pardoned, whether it’s a felony, misdemeanor, or violation. If you’re seeking a pardon, you have two options: an expungement pardon or a provision pardon. An expungement pardon completely gets rid of your criminal record, and the public will no longer be able to see your arrest or conviction. If you apply for a job or an apartment, you do not have to disclose your pardoned criminal arrest.
A provisional pardon does not erase the offense from your record but instead removes barriers that might make you ineligible for employment, a driver’s license, a permit and more. While you must disclose your criminal conviction if an employer asks, it is illegal for them to deny you a job based on your criminal record alone.
Pardon Time Limits
Before you can apply for a pardon you must wait a certain amount of time, depending on the severity of your crime. If you wish to receive an expungement pardon, you must wait 5 years after a felony conviction or 3 years after a misdemeanor conviction. For a provisional pardon, you can apply for it any time after being convicted and sentenced.
Applying for a Pardon
If you meet the criteria, these are the steps you must take to apply for a pardon:
- Obtain a copy of your criminal history and police reports that resulted in convictions from the last 10 years
- Get a complete set of fingerprints
- If you served probation, get a letter from the Office of Adult Probation that states the date you were discharged from probation
- Find three references to fill out your form
- Get the application notarized and send it to The Board of Pardons and Paroles
What Happens Next?
Usually it takes about a year for The Board, the State Police and the Judicial Department to review your record and make a decision. The Board will look at factors such as the severity of the offense, the impact on the victim, your work history, drug or alcohol treatment, and more. You may also be asked to appear at a pardon hearing, depending on the type of conviction.
Regardless of the crime, the pardon process is complex and drawn-out. If you want to talk about your case, please contact our Connecticut criminal defense attorneys at The Sills Law Firm immediately.