Expungements of Past Convictions
Many websites people read when researching DUI or criminal cases contain information from other states. One common question we are asked is about expungements, since many other websites contain information about this.
What is expungement?
Technically, there is no such thing as "expungement" of criminal records in the State of Connecticut. Expungement in other states released a person from penalties and disabilities resulting from conviction in any case in which the person has successfully completed probation. The individual may, for some purposes, treat the arrest and all subsequent proceedings as though they never occurred. Technically, what occurs when an individual expunges his record is his conviction or guilty plea is set aside by a judge, a plea of not-guilty is entered, and the conviction is dismissed.
This doesn’t happen in Connecticut because our laws do not have this provision.
There is, however, a process called "erasure of criminal records". An erasure of criminal records results in all records of a crime being physically destroyed. If you are granted an erasure, you may lawfully swear under oath that you have never been arrested and/or convicted of your erased crime in Connecticut. You are not required to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to Connecticut General Statues § 46b-146, 54-76o, or 54-142a. If your criminal records have been erased pursuant to one of these statues, you may swear under oath that you have never been arrested. Criminal records that may be erased are records pertaining to a finding of delinquency or that a child was a member of a family with service needs (C.G.S § 46b-146), an adjudication as a youthful offender (C.G.S. §54-76o), a criminal charge that has been dismissed or nolled, a criminal charge for which the person has been found not guilty or a conviction for which the person received an absolute pardon (C.G.S. § 54-142a).
Criminal records, especially felony convictions, can have a seriously negative impact on your ability to obtain many jobs and may prevent you from other opportunities including international travel, even to Canada. The State of Connecticut makes it possible for individuals to be pardoned for their crimes and offenses against the state. An absolute pardon removes criminal records from public view so that your record cannot be used against you to prevent you from obtaining employment, being granted certain state issued licenses, or being allowed to cross international borders with a valid passport. A provisional pardon does not remove criminal records from public view but still is helpful in removing barriers to employment and state issued licenses.
The Board of Pardons has exclusive jurisdiction to grant or deny absolute and provisional pardons in its sole discretion. If your pardon application is denied, there is no appeal to a court or higher authority; although, you may re-apply for a pardon at another time in the future. If you are granted an absolute pardon, your criminal record will be removed from public view so that your past can stop interfering with your future.