On another page on this website, I introduced the topic of the commutation of sentence. I discussed what a commutation is and how it differs from a pardon. However, commutations are not the only alternative to pardons. If you are interested in having your criminal history erased or sealed, another good option is an expungement. Again, an expungement is similar to a pardon in many ways. But, there are many differences between a pardon and an expungement that might make one option better for you. You can learn about the differences between an expungement and a pardon on this page.
The main goal of an expungement is to seal a criminal or juvenile record. Sometimes, when juveniles turn 18, they have the option of sealing their juvenile records through the use of an expungement. In general, an expungement seals minor offenses, such as juvenile offenses or misdemeanors. In most states, getting an expungement is relatively easy. There is no formal application process. Instead, it is just a clerical proceeding. This makes getting an expungement fairly easy. In most cases, an expungement is granted by a judge. This is oftentimes the same judge that determined the conviction in your case. After you have fulfilled the penalties imposed on you, the judge will oftentimes agree to seal your record if the crime that you were convicted of was minor.
Keep in mind that if you want an expungement, you will most likely only get one for misdemeanors and minor crimes. Misdemeanors will automatically be expunged in Connecticut thanks to the Clean Slate Bill. If you want to have a felony conviction sealed, you should consider applying for a pardon.
To be considered for an expungement, several elements will be considered. They include:
- The time that has passed since the time of your arrest/conviction.
- Your criminal record.
- The nature of the crime for which you are seeking expungement.
- The severity of the crime for which you are seeking expungement.
Expungement vs. Pardon
You may already be able to tell that there are several differences between a pardon and an expungement. One of the major differences is the purpose of each. A pardon will essentially reverse your criminal convictions. An expungement, on the other hand, will seal your record. Another major difference between a pardon and an expungement is eligibility. In most cases, you will want to apply for a pardon if you have faced multiple convictions that you would like to be pardoned, or for severe crimes that you have been convicted of. You should get an expungement to seal an infraction or misdemeanor. For example, if convicted of manslaughter, a pardon will be the right type of relief to apply for. On the other hand, if you want a speeding ticket taken off of your record, an expungement is the appropriate type of relief.
If you are still not sure if you should apply for a pardon or an expungement, feel free to contact my office for more information. I can assist you in making this decision and help you through the process.