“Clean Slate” Legislation May Allow Automatic Pardons in Connecticut

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Connecticut criminal defense lawyer for pardonsAccording to statistics from the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, there were 1,857 applications for pardons in 2018. Of those applications, only 983 were deemed eligible for pardon, and of those deemed eligible, only around 77 percent were actually granted. Lingering records from previous criminal cases can cause difficulty in many areas of life, including making it harder for a person to find a job or get housing. Because of this, a bill was introduced in the Connecticut legislature last year to help make the process a little easier for those who wish to expunge their criminal records. The bill failed to pass during the last legislative session, but Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont plans to reintroduce it in the upcoming session.

Proposed Bill Would Make it Easier to Get a Pardon

People who have criminal records face barriers to housing, employment, and education, even if years have passed after their sentences have been completed, and they have not had any more offenses. Because of this, Gov. Lamont will be pushing for legislation that would create a process to clear criminal records automatically.

The bill that was introduced last year proposed creating a system for automatic pardons and expungement of criminal records three years after a misdemeanor sentence had been served and five years after a felony sentence had been served. That bill faced backlash about what crimes would be eligible for automatic pardons, with lawmakers expressing concern about those convicted of violent crimes and crimes of a sexual nature. The newer version of the bill has addressed these concerns by barring those convicted of sex crimes or offenses related to domestic violence from receiving an automatic pardon.

Current Connecticut Pardon Procedures

The current procedure to receive a pardon and expunge criminal records is a lengthy and confusing one. First, a person must determine whether they are eligible for a pardon. An Absolute Pardon can be granted if three years have passed since the disposition of a misdemeanor conviction, or five years have passed since the disposition of a felony conviction. An applicant must not have any pending charges or be on supervision, and if any subsequent criminal charges have been “nolled” (meaning they were dropped by a prosecutor), at least 13 months must have passed since the disposition of that case.

Those who are eligible may submit an application for an Absolute Pardon to the Board of Pardons and Parole. This application will require a person to provide detailed information about previous convictions, offer explanations for why a pardon is needed, and obtain character references from at least three people, only one of whom can be a family member. To ensure that all requirements are met when applying for a pardon, it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in completing the pardon and expungement process.

A Hartford, CT Pardon Lawyer Can Help

In many cases, people who have been convicted of a crime and have served their sentence do not reoffend. Yet, the presence of their criminal record makes it difficult for them to turn their lives around. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we believe that everyone has the right to a second chance. Our knowledgeable Connecticut criminal record expungement attorney can help you navigate the long and confusing pardon process and clear your criminal record. To get started, call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.





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