Can Sex Crimes Or Domestic Violence Offenses Be Expunged?
Sex offenses are tough, especially if they were serious enough to require sex offender registration and sex offender probation; those are unlikely to be pardonable offenses. Domestic violence crimes, again, if they don’t reach the level of assault in the second degree which involves serious physical injury, maybe you can get it expunged. Your chances are good if it was an isolated incident. I’ve got people who come to our office and they’ve got 3 convictions that have happened on different dates and involving different crimes. As much as we like the business, you may be wasting your time and wasting your money and we don’t want to take your money and promise you the world, and then not be able to deliver. So we just want to be frank and upfront with people with regards to that.
I actually applied for a client who I don’t think had a conviction for a DUI but there was a conviction for a misconduct with the motor vehicle that involved the death of a passenger. This is a young gal that we had defended in criminal court. The circumstances were awful and tragic but we were able to get her misconduct with the motor vehicle and a suspended sentence. Now, it wasn’t easy and this was her best friend that was in her car while she was driving. This had happened when she was a sophomore in college, and now she was in her 30s and she was expecting her second child and she had amazing character reference letters.
She even made it a point of every year on the anniversary of this tragedy, she would write to the victim’s parents. There really wasn’t more she could do as far as really showing the board that she was a changed person and because of the seriousness of the offense, she was denied. In the state of Connecticut, a first DUI doesn’t matter to the outcome in that whether you’re ultimately alcohol education program eligible in which you’ve gained an eventual dismissal, you’re still going to need to have an interlock ignition device installed in your car.
We’ve had to do something to try to stem the tide of all these DUIs that were taking place and many of which involved people either getting killed or badly hurt. So those are tough ones, but usually, someone with a DUI conviction has already had the alcohol education program, so it’s usually their second DUI. And less the first one, they were denied what they call pre-trial diversionary program. They may have been denied it because their blood alcohol content was through the roof, usually in excess of 3 times the legal limit or there was an accident involving injuries. Usually, these cases are denied.
If it’s their first one, again it goes back to the injuries and most certainly the victim and a case such as that one would need to be notified of this application being submitted. But a second DUI where it’s a first conviction, I think they’d be reluctant to grant it because if you got two DUIs, there’s usually an alcohol problem and it may necessitate treatment, it may be a situation where they’re battling alcoholism and that’s a disease, unfortunately, that just isn’t to be cured, it just doesn’t go away. So they’re probably unlikely to take a chance on somebody like that.
Can Someone Get An Expungement Without The Assistance Of An Attorney?
The last pardon hearing that we were granted, there were probably close to 125 people in the courtroom and I would say 9 out of 10 were represented by an attorney. It’s usually an attorney who practiced criminal defense work. I think presentation goes a long way. Someone may be very organized and qualified and they may be someone who writes pretty well, but a criminal defense attorney is going to know what the Board of Pardons is going to want. They’re going to want to hear certain language as to the description of their involvement and certain language as to their responsibility for having committed the crime and they want to hear certain language as to how they become a changed person. I think having an attorney with an experienced background can help. It’s a pretty lengthy process, and if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.
Do People Generally Underestimate The Difficulty Of The Expungement Process?
There are certainly people out there that are very capable, but if you’re putting forth all this effort in gathering these documents and filling out the application, then everything has to be absolutely complete. I just think that with putting forth all that effort, having an attorney onboard is just going to probably just increase the likelihood of having it granted.
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