How Is An Expungement Defined In Connecticut?
If one were to receive a pardon, their record would be expunged. “Expunged” means erased, and after which you’d be able to legally say that you were never even arrested as if it never happened. The state of Connecticut allows you to state as such. As far as the expungement and how it applies, today, the possession of marijuana in the state of Connecticut has been recently decriminalized. So what we can do with regards to folks who have prior convictions for possession of marijuana is we can file a motion with the court of jurisdiction asking that that conviction be erased. In the state, if CT, we were the first firm to actually do that because I had a motion ready, and once the public act came down, we filed it for a client.
Now, what the prosecuting attorney is going to want to see and we’d want to provide a copy of is the police report that was a part of the disposition. This is because if it’s in excess of half an ounce of marijuana, we’re probably not going to be successful. Oftentimes we have a client who has gotten a very good deal in which he was originally charged with possession with intent to sell, and we were able to negotiate it being knocked down to a possession of marijuana. In that case, we’re unlikely to have the court erase the record. We also have cases in which we’ve got a client who, because there’s a pending domestic violence case and they’ve had to surrender their pistol permit, the permit to be able to carry a licensed firearm, and if the state of Connecticut enters a what’s called a nolle prosequi which is Latin for no prosecution.
That means that they’re throwing the case out but as far as the board of firearms is concerned, because that nolle won’t statutorily become a dismissal until after 13 months from the date of disposition, there is no chance of being able to get one’s permit back or even applying once again for a permit until that case reaches a dismissal. So the case could be nolle’d and then we would file a motion for an early dismissal and at that point, that record would be expunged. Another case that comes to mind in which we represented a client who had been denied a pistol permit and that denial was based on the police department being able to uncover police reports involving a client and cases that were ultimately dismissed.
Now, those police reports should not have even been in existence because the client eventually got the dismissal of those charges. Oftentimes what we’ll do is we will essentially create a letter campaign, not just to a clerk of that court, but also the police department as well as the records division of Connecticut asking that records be affirmatively erased and destroyed upon dismissal, so that things of that nature don’t happen. As far as a pardon is concerned, it’s a pretty involved process. It’s a lengthy application to the tune of about 12 to 16 pages and clients are eligible to actually apply for a pardon 5 years after a felony conviction. That 5-year mark starts once they’ve completed probation. With regard to a misdemeanor conviction, it’s 3 years once they’ve completed probation.
The number of things that they need to do is they need their fingerprints taken at the local police department. For a nominal fee, we take that fingerprint card and we send it up to the Department of Public Safety who generates their criminal background. If they were in fact on probation, we need a probation clearance letter stating that they complied with all conditions and their probation as a result of that compliance was terminated. They need to generate three character reference letters at the very least, and only one can be from a family member. We certainly employment history, educational history, and anything that can show a client in the most favorable light is helpful.
Are There Any Charges That Cannot Be Pardoned Or Expunged?
It’s on a case by case basis. Expungement with regards to just a conviction really can’t be obtained without applying for a pardon of that conviction. The Board of Pardons and Paroles has become more receptive and understanding that of course, people make mistakes, especially when they’re younger, and most of us have used bad judgment on an occasion. They understand that one’s employability is very much connected to lack of a criminal record, certainly a lack of having a felony conviction, so they’ve gotten to be more lenient or accepting. However, crimes of a serious nature can be pardoned but the client is really going to have to show that they’ve really turned the corner.
Oftentimes a pardon will be denied because there just hasn’t been enough time that has passed for them to determine that this person in fact, has changed. We encourage them to apply again. It’s such a lengthy process, really not much is going to change. There’s certainly going to be information relative to what they’ve done most recently but the real bones of a pardon application will have already been tackled at the first go-around. Possession of narcotics are likely to be pardoned. I got a pardon for a kid who was in a possession of a gun as a young man but it wasn’t granted until 10 years after he was done with probation.
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