How to Get a Pardon in Connecticut
Getting your criminal record expunged can make such a difference in your life. With enough patience and stamina to assemble all the necessary paperwork, it is possible to get a pardon. There are nine boards of pardons and paroles, and Connecticut has one – this resource takes you through the process of how to go about getting a pardon in Connecticut.
Contact us through the contact form on this page or call us at (203) 327-1500 so we can help you with the pardon process and let you know your options to clear your criminal record.
In short, the answer is: by doing lots of paperwork, and being persuasive. To apply for a pardon in CT, you will need to contact a number of departments and offices to get documents and forms issued to you and fill them all out, or have the appropriate person fill them out.
You will need to visit some offices—the State Police Bureau of Identification first of all, which is also your go-to place for any questions you may have about the process.
You will have to speak to a number of people—your former probation supervisor, if you were ever on probation; and three individuals willing to give character references for you, which will take the form of a detailed questionnaire.
Lastly, you will very likely attend a hearing in person with the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP). So we’ll also briefly cover that: what happens on the day, and who are the people on the BOPP.
As you can imagine, there are a quite a few steps involved in this process, and since it’s so important to get them all right, here is a step-by-step explanation of how you would go about getting a pardon in Connecticut.
Provisionial Pardon vs. Felony Expungement?
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase and wondered, what is a provisional pardon? By contrast to the full expungement of your convictions from your criminal record, the provisional pardon is a state-issued document that you can present to an employer. If you have to tick ‘yes’ to the question ‘do you have a criminal record?’, you can then show your employer your provisional pardon. Employers cannot then use your criminal history as a reason to dejny you employment—the provisional pardon, issued by the board of pardons, confirms that you are suitable for employment. Therefore it is also known as Certificate of Employability. In addition, it also indicates that a person is suitable to hold certain types of licenses.
You can apply for a Provisional Pardon 90 days after release from incarceration, and/or 90 days after you have successfully completed probation/parole supervision. This is quite different from applying for Pardon or full expungement, which you would do only starting from three to five years after your offense, at the earliest (more on that below).
How do you get a felony expunged in CT?
You can apply for an expungement of your record 5 years from your last felony conviction, and 3 years from your last misdemeanor conviction. There is no deadline, in other words, it is never too late to apply for a pardon. Even if the types of offenses you have committed were severe, it’s worth applying if you can make the case that you have truly changed and deserve a fresh start. The Board of Pardons takes into consideration the whole person, their history, present situation, and especially want to see how far a person has come in between the time that they were convicted, and who they have become.
Which brings us to the reason why the Pardons applications process is so long, laborious, and requires so much paperwork.
The Pardons Application contains a whole lot of questions – it asks about your criminal convictions, education, your work history and your life, including these areas of life :
• your education or vocational training
• how you’ve done at work, your employment history
• your place in the community
• your personal stability, substance abuse history
• your mental health
• personal references—what others say about you
The Board of Pardons is looking for clues that you have changed your life, and that you will not re-offend or take advantage of the pardon in unfair ways. The board of pardons wants to understand your past and see just how far you’ve come, which will persuade the board to grant you a pardon; so that’s the purpose of the whole application process and that is what your pardon application must highlight as much as possible, in as many places as you can.
So, what or who is the board of pardons? When you have completed you pardons application and mailed it in (more details on that below), it is considered by the board of pardons and parole (BOPP) on a first come, first serve basis. The board sits in panels of three. The board meets for a hearing at least once every three months, but usually more–up to 8 times in a year. Once they have received, read and reviewed your pardon application, usually they will ask you to come in person to the hearing on the day when they decide whether to grant or reject your request. During this hearing, the Board might ask you about your past convictions, or they might ask you to clarify further how much you have changed since your conviction, or anything else about you that might help them understand and make a decision.
In addition, the victim of your crime and the State prosecutor who handled your case must be notified. They have a right to be heard at your pardon application hearing. If the victim or the prosecuting attorney want to weigh in on your case, the board of pardons will listen to them as well as part of the CT pardons application process.
All-in, next to your criminal history, the board of pardons and parole considers your full personal circumstances and history: your family circumstances, your health condition and history, your rehabilitation efforts and employment, your involvement in the community, service or charitable efforts, and anything else that might be important in your individual case. This is how the board will finally come to a decision about expunging your criminal record; so the hearing is your chance to present yourself well and persuade them by proving just how far you’ve come since your conviction. Hint: lawyers exist to help you impress this board and prepare you to be persuasive on the day.) The board then comes to a decision; if the decision is negative, they must issue written statements containing the reasons for rejecting the application for pardon.
CT PARDON APPLICATION PROCESS
Now we come to the Pardon application process. As you have surely gathered by now, it involves getting and sending in quite a substantial amount of paperwork. But seeing how incredibly worth doing it is, here is the full explanation of what you will need, and how to get it, in applying for pardon.
• A set of your fingerprints
• A pardon request form
• Criminal History Report from the Police for the last 10 years
• Letter from your probation supervisor (if you were ever on probation)
• Three references backing up your character and moral fitness
• Fees : Expect to be charged a total fees of $50-75 to obtain records, fingerprints and so on
Get a set of your fingerprints
You can obtain your fingerprints from any local police department (ask the police to use the green DPS 125c form or its local equivalent), or at the DESPP-Division of State Police, Bureau of Identification for approximately $15.
Get A Pardon Form and Fill it in
In the Pardon Form, you have to answer questions outlining the nature of your past criminal convictions, and explaining the reasons why you are seeking Pardon. In the form, you find a Criminal History Request for the Police. Use this to request your history from the Connecticut State Police. The criminal history report should be no older than one year since the date of your Pardon application.
Please note that it has to be the criminal history report produced for the specific purpose of a Pardon Application; reports generated for other purposes are not going to be suitable for a pardons application.
Get your Criminal History Police Reports from the last 10 Years
For each Connecticut arrest of yours in the last 10 years, you will need to submit the accompanying police reports. Some offenses, such as driving infractions or out of state offenses might not get listed on police reports.
What to do if something is missing from your criminal history report
If something is missing—and here you will have to use your memory to make sure nothing is left out—you need to contact the local courts, police departments, motor vehicles department (in the case of driving offences), or the probation departments in other States; or the department of corrections; to get the records from them. For older convictions that a court might no longer keep on file, contact the Judicial Records Center. If something comes up and there is no police report available, get a letter from the arresting police department stating that no report(s) exists.
Get a letter from Your Probation Supervisor
If you have been on probation : you will need your supervising probation officer to write a letter for you. In the letter, they must mention the date when you were discharged from probation, and the status of your discharge – was it successful or not.
Get Three Personal References
The last set of papers you need to assemble and supply to the Pardons Board are three references backing up your character and moral fitness. One of the referees is allowed to be a relative of yours (by blood or marriage), but the other two mustn’t be. These referees will have to answer quite a detailed and long questionnaire about you and your personality and character; make sure you brief them well.
Make a copy for your personal records
Once you have everything, make a copy of everything. It is so important that you keep a copy of the application and all documents for your personal records. The applications and supporting documentation will not be returned to you, and if the application gets lost, the Pardons Board is not responsible. If you would like to confirm that your application has been received, use Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested (highly recommended—should be mandatory / hint : lawyers do this for you).
Then, send these documents to the address:
State Police Bureau of Identification
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, CT 06457-9294
Wait to hear from the board
You should receive a letter from the Board after an administrative review of your complete application. The letter is generated once the Board has reviewed your application at a Pre-screen session. The letter will contain the results of the pre-screen session and any pertaining information.
LINKS TO APPLICATIONS
For application materials for a Certificate of Employability, and/or an expungement pardon, go to the website for the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Instructions are available at http://www.ct.gov/doc/lib/doc/PDF/form/PardonClemencyInstructions.pdf.
Application forms for both full and provisional pardons are available at http://www.ct.gov/doc/lib/doc/PDF/form/PardonFormerOffender.pdf.
APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR A CT PARDON
The period of time you must wait to apply for a pardon:
• Three years from your conviction for a misdemeanor offense
• Five years from your conviction for a felony offense
If you have multiple convictions on your record, the waiting periods apply to your most recent conviction.
CT PARDON LAWYERS
The last question is, is it worth getting a lawyer? Can you get a Pardons lawyer to help you with this?
As you no doubt gathered by now, getting a pardon is a long process, the paperwork complex and technical, and to stay on top of it and not let anything slide, you need to stay well on top of everything.
A Connecticut pardon lawyer would be experienced in the way this process works and be able to optimize the outcome for you: they can help you at every step of the process by offering guidance or taking care of your whole application, making sure your pardons application is complete, professional and persuasive. And what’s more, the lawyers will prepare and argue the petition before the Board of Pardons on your behalf. We believe that everyone deserves a second chance in life. If you are applying for a Pardon in the State of Connecticut and are getting stuck, or there is any other way we can help you get a pardon, contact us through the contact form on this page, or call us at 203-327-1500.