Hartford Criminal Record Erasure & Pardon Attorneys
Obtaining pardons and expunging criminal arrests in Manchester and Hartford, CT
If you’re arrested and convicted of a crime, your arrest remains a matter of public record, even if you’ve completed your sentence and all its terms satisfactorily. Even if you’re arrested and released without charges, or if you’re charged with a crime and those charges are dismissed, it’s still on public record.
The Hartford criminal defense attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC understand that your criminal history isn’t who you are as a person. Whether you were in the wrong place at the wrong time or made a small mistake that can now follow you for years to come, our legal team can help you apply to have your record erased and expunged. Call us today for a consultation.
What is a pardon?
A pardon is a form of post-conviction relief designed to clear a person’s criminal record. It no longer shows up on a background check, and a potential employer or other party won’t find out about any past arrests, charges, or convictions. If a pardon is granted, it will be as the person had never been arrested. Connecticut offers two types of pardons:
- Full pardon. Also known as an “expungement” pardon or an “absolute” pardon, a full pardon completely erases your criminal record.
- Certificate of Employability. This does not expunge your Connecticut criminal record, but it does ensure it’s not held against you when applying for certain jobs.
However, not every type of charge can be erased. The State of Connecticut cannot erase, expunge, or pardon federal crimes, and certain DUI and DWI charges are also exempt from pardon.
What is an expedited pardon?
Connecticut offers expedited review of pardons to people convicted of “non-violent offense(s) where there is no victim interest.” What this means is that you could be granted a pardon without having a hearing or going through the standard pre-screen review.
Who can apply for a pardon in Connecticut?
You may be eligible for a pardon if:
- You were found not guilty
- Your case was thrown out or dismissed
- Your case was “nolled” (not prosecuted) at least 13 months ago
- You were a youth offender and weren’t convicted of a felony before age 21
- Misdemeanor convictions after three years have passed
- Felony convictions after five years have passed
Who can apply for a Certificate of Employability (COE)?
Any Connecticut resident can apply for a Certificate of Employability (COE). This is true even if you were convicted of a crime in a different state or federal jurisdiction. Per the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP), you cannot apply for a COE if:
- You are currently incarcerated;
- If you had a case “nolled” within the previous thirteen (13) months, you are not eligible to apply for any type of pardon, including a COE, until the nolle has cleared. A nolle remains for a period of thirteen (13) months after the date of disposition by the court;
- If you are currently on Probation and have more than 90 days of supervision left (you must apply through your probation officer.)
What happens when you apply for a pardon?
An application for a pardon of your criminal record goes through and is decided by BOPP. You will need to submit an application and supporting documents, and may need to undergo a background check.
The BOPP decides whether to grant the pardon, and once granted a full pardon, your entire Connecticut criminal record is destroyed from public view and you’re free to say that you don’t have a record.
Can I have serious crimes removed from my record?
Many people believe that if they’ve been convicted of a serious or violent crime, they have no hope of ever getting their record expunged. It is true that in some cases it’s impossible to clean a record completely, but the BOPP does review everyone’s application individually. Our attorneys advocate for you according to your unique circumstances.
The Board takes many factors into account when evaluating your application, including:
- Signs of your rehabilitation and improvement
- Reasons you want an expungement
- The circumstances of the crime
- Your educational background and employment history
- Your explanation of the crime
- Your overall criminal record
- Other relevant considerations
Motion for erasure vs. applying for a pardon in Connecticut
A motion for erasure is different than applying for a pardon in Connecticut. Under the law, if you have been found “not guilty” or if your charges have been dismissed:
all police and court records and records of any state's attorney pertaining to such charge shall be erased upon the expiration of the time to file a writ of error or take an appeal, if an appeal is not taken, or upon final determination of the appeal sustaining a finding of not guilty or a dismissal, if an appeal is taken. Nothing in this subsection shall require the erasure of any record pertaining to a charge for which the defendant was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect or guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect.
When you file a motion to erase your criminal record, it’s typically filed in and decided in the court where you were convicted, not the BOPP. Motions for erasure don’t fully clear your criminal record, but are useful under some limited circumstances.
The benefits of erasure and expungement when it comes to criminal records
After your criminal record is expunged – whether from a drug crime, theft, assault, or other crime – you can legally say you no longer have a criminal record. A full pardon can improve your life situation in a variety of ways:
- Improved chances for employment. Background checks are standard for employers when screening applicants for jobs, no matter what industry. With many employers, a criminal record will disqualify you from consideration – and even when it doesn’t, it’s rare you’ll make it to the shortlist. After an expungement, your criminal history won’t show up in a background check, improving your chances of securing a job on your own merits.
- Peace of mind. A criminal history is part of public record, and that means that anyone who wants to find your criminal record can do so. Co-workers, friends, family, and potential relationship partners are all a few mouse clicks away from accessing this information.
- Housing accessibility. Claiming security concerns, many landlords conduct criminal background checks on potential applicants. With a criminal record, you may find it difficult to rent an apartment or house, limiting your ability to find desirable housing for you and your family.
- Improved financial security. Many financial institutions believe a criminal record is an indication that you may be unlikely to pay back the bank, and either outright deny you a loan or charge you high interest rates. Expungement can significantly improve your chances to secure a loan or lower your interest rates.
Should I hire a pardon attorney?
Legally, you are not required to hire an attorney to help you with your pardon application. However, it is in your best interest to hire one. A pardon attorney from Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC can:
- Prepare you for any interviews you have with the Board of Pardons and Paroles
- Represent you before the Board of Pardons and Paroles
- Prepare and submit your Pardon application for you
- File motions for erasure to ensure your record is accurate
- Assist with assembling and reviewing all supporting documentation
- Ensure all fees are paid on time and in full, so that the process is not delayed
- Send applicable letters to local news publications or other third parties if they refuse to correct any stories they have about you
Experienced Hartford criminal pardon & erasure lawyers
A criminal record can negatively affect you for the rest of your life. However, at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC, our attorneys can work to have them permanently removed. Expungement is complicated, but our legal team is well-versed in pardons and erasures. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers in Hartford or Manchester, please call 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form.