In most states, including the State of Connecticut, it is possible to get juvenile records expunged. If you succeed in having your criminal record expunged, you will no longer have any record. While there are privacy laws that keep juvenile records from being seen by certain people, an expungement will erase your criminal history altogether.
Particularly if you committed crimes as a minor, and you do not want these past mistakes to haunt your job application process, an expungement or a pardon is a good idea.
For juvenile offenders, all criminal history can be erased through an expungement. This includes arrests, referrals, complaints, reports, orders, petitions, etc. being removed from all agency, institutional, and official files. Your DNA can even be expunged if necessary. Essentially, an expungement of juvenile convictions can provide a fresh start for you. The only thing that cannot be expunged is information in the registry of protective orders, under Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142a.
Eligibility for Erasure
As a juvenile offender, you have to file a Petition for Erasure of Record with the court in order to erase your criminal history. Generally, you will have to wait until you are discharged from the custody of the Department of Children and Families, court-ordered supervision, or a court-ordered agency in order to petition for erasure.
You must wait 2-4 years from the date of your conviction to apply for an erasure of record depending on the severity of your crime. In addition, you can’t have any other juvenile cases pending when you petition for erasure of record. Some other restrictions include age (you must be at least 18 years old), and you must also have no other criminal convictions in adult court. Under some circumstances, your record can automatically be erased by operation of law.
Process of Expungement
Obtaining a pardon or an expungement for offenses committed as a child or a youthful offender are fairly easy. First it is important to understand which category you fall in. If you are under the age of 16 in the state of Connecticut, you will be considered a juvenile offender, or a child offender. If you are age 17 or older, you will be considered a youthful offender. Youthful offenders are sometimes tried in adult courtrooms, but are given the protective status as “youthful offenders” which gives them certain rights that adults do not have. Any youthful offender can have his or her juvenile records expunged once they reach age 21, so long as they are not a convicted felon by age 21. A youthful offender’s record is automatically erased once they reach the age of 21 as long as they are not incarcerated at the time or a convicted felon.
Children who have been discharged from the supervision of the Superior Court or who are no longer in the custody of the Department of Children and Families can also receive expungements. Once a child has been discharged from such supervision for two years, all court and police records concerning the child will be erased. If a child commits more serious or violent crimes, the waiting period is usually four years.
It is much easier to have your record expunged if you committed crimes as a minor as opposed to having committed crimes as an adult. The pardons process for adults is time consuming and tedious, whereas for juvenile offenders, records are automatically expunged after a certain period of time in most cases. Sometimes a written statement or application is required, but the process is not nearly as difficult as it is for adult offenders. If you have committed a crime and you are a youthful offender or a child, do not panic. If you are truly remorseful and commit to rehabilitation, your criminal record will be erased and your mistakes need not determine the rest of your life.
If the court grants your petition, all of your police and court records, including arrest, referrals, complaints, orders, reports, and petitions will be removed from all agency, official, and institutional files. Additionally, the finding of delinquency shall be deemed to have never occurred.
For youthful offenders, the process for erasing criminal history happens automatically once a few conditions are met. Once adjudicated by the court you must: 1) be discharged completely from the court’s supervision or from the care of any court-ordered institution or agency, and 2) not be convicted of a felony between the time that you were a youthful offender and the time you turn 21. To read the law governing youthful offender erasure of court and police records, contact an attorney.