Connecticut’s Clean Slate Law Will Go Into Effect in January 2024

 Posted on December 28,2023 in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Clean Slate LawPeople who are convicted of criminal offenses often face difficulties in their lives, even years after completing their sentences. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can include problems finding employment, pursuing educational opportunities, and obtaining housing. To address this issue, the state of Connecticut has passed a “clean slate” law that is meant to help people move forward from the mistakes of the past by clearing their criminal records. While there have been issues that have prevented this law from going into effect, Governor Ned Lamont recently announced that the people will be able to benefit from its provisions starting in January of 2024.

If you are concerned about how you may be affected by a criminal record, or if you need to make sure you will be able to benefit from Connecticut’s clean slate law, an experienced attorney can help you address these issues. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can work with you to ensure that you receive the fresh start you deserve.

What Is Connecticut’s Clean Slate Law?

In 2021, the Connecticut legislature passed a law that is meant to benefit people who have been convicted of certain crimes but have paid their debt to society. The clean slate law allows for the automatic expungement of criminal records in certain situations. People convicted of misdemeanors will have their records expunged seven years after the date they were convicted. In cases involving certain low-level felony convictions, automatic expungements will occur 10 years after the date of conviction.

While the clean slate law was originally scheduled to take effect at the beginning of 2023, a variety of issues prevented this from happening. Technical issues related to the processing of criminal records limited the state’s ability to review people’s cases, and legal questions about eligibility for expungement also needed to be settled. Fortunately, these issues have been addressed, and expungements will begin to take place in January of 2024.

Who Is Eligible for Expungement Under the Clean Slate Law?

People who were convicted of misdemeanors with sentences of less than one year will be eligible for expungement after seven years. Certain types of felony offenses will also qualify for automatic expungement after 10 years. These include most Class D, Class E, and unclassified felonies involving low-level or nonviolent crimes. DUI convictions may also be expunged after 10 years. 

Convictions that are not eligible for expungement include those involving family violence, sex crimes, stalking, certain firearm offenses, certain assault crimes, and burglary involving the use of a firearm. A DUI conviction will not be eligible for expungement if a person is convicted of DUI a second time within 10 years.

To be eligible for automatic expungement, a person must have completed their sentence, including serving all required prison time, probation, and parole or special parole. Convictions that occurred after January 1, 2000 will be automatically expunged. For convictions before January 1, 2000, a person will need to submit a petition for expungement.

The state has estimated that around 80,000 people will receive automatic expungements by the end of January 2024, and around 178,000 convictions will be expunged. By the end of June 2024, the total number of expunged convictions will total around 270,000. The clean slate law is likely to benefit Black people and other minorities, who are three times more likely to be convicted of criminal offenses than white people.

Contact Our Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer

At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we provide representation for people who are facing criminal charges, helping them defend against accusations and avoid the consequences that come with a conviction. We also work with our clients to address issues related to their criminal records, including applying for pardons or expungement. To learn how we can help you, contact our Hartford criminal defense lawyer at 860-290-8690 and schedule a free consultation.

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