Connecticut Pardons Lawyer
We often get calls from people with a Connecticut conviction record from years back who want to have their criminal record expunged and pardoned. That is, they want to have their criminal charges completely removed from their record so that they can finally have a clean record and not have to disclose it on job interviews and background checks. These people have paid their dues to society—they have accepted responsibility for their Connecticut misdemeanor crime or Connecticut felony crime. They either served jail time or completed a suspended jail sentence and satisfied all the conditions asked of them during their probation period. Or they may just have paid a fine for their Connecticut felony or misdemeanor yet they still have a record. Whatever the case, many years have passed and now they are calling top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys to learn whether it is possible to get their Connecticut crime expunged and pardoned off their record.
As any of the best Greenwich, Darien or Stamford criminal lawyers would inform you, the short answer is YES, it’s possible. But the long answer is that there is a technical and sometimes complicated process that is required to have your criminal record erased and pardoned, making it a good idea to contact a top Connecticut pardon lawyer to learn more about the process and understand your options. So if you have been convicted of a crime in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Norwalk or anywhere else in Connecticut, and are interested in having your conviction erased, then contact a top Connecticut pardon lawyer to start learning how to clean up your criminal record.
Who Oversees the Granting of Pardons in Connecticut?
The administrative agency that grants pardons is the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. This is a State of Connecticut agency. It is not a federal agency and has no control over the pardoning of federal crimes and convictions, or criminal convictions of other states. As a result, the State Board of Pardons can only pardon and expunge State of Connecticut crimes and convictions, not crimes from other states, even if you have moved to Connecticut.
The Three Types of Connecticut Pardons
Generally speaking, a legal pardon is a grant of forgiveness, in whole or in part, for criminal offense. There are three types of pardons in the State of Connecticut: full pardons, conditional pardons, and certificates of employability. Again, remember, these pardons are only for State of Connecticut crimes and criminal convictions, not federal crime convictions, or convictions from other states or countries. Further, you are eligible to apply for any type of pardon whether your conviction was a result of a trial or a plea bargain. Accepting a plea bargain does not deprive you of your opportunity to apply for a Connecticut pardon or Connecticut expungement of your criminal record. In terms of which Pardon is the most appropriate and realistic under your circumstances, you should contact a top Connecticut pardon attorney to figure out which type of Connecticut pardon is the most suitable for you and your future.
The most popular and most desirable type of pardon is called a Full Pardon. If granted, a Full Pardon erases your criminal record completely. It will never again show up on any background check by an employer, mortgage lender, insurance company or landlord. Even the most intensive background checks in Connecticut or anywhere else in the United States will not uncover a conviction that has been granted a Full Pardon. This type of pardon is also known as an expungement. (The only exception may be if you are applying for a job with the United States government. In those cases, you may want to contact your top Connecticut criminal lawyer to make sure you answer any conviction history questions properly, even if the Connecticut Board of Pardons granted you a Full Pardon).
The second type of pardon in Connecticut is a Conditional Pardon. If granted, a Conditional Pardon, like a Full Pardon, will also erase your criminal record as if the Connecticut misdemeanor or felony you were convicted of never happened. The only difference between a Conditional Pardon and a Full Pardon is that the Connecticut Pardons Board attaches one or more conditions to your Conditional Pardon. The conditions that attach can vary based on the individual requesting the pardon. Any condition must be set out specifically by the Board, and must be reasonable (i.e. drug counseling, parenting classes, etc.). If you are granted a Conditional Pardon and you choose to accept it, then you must comply with the attached conditions or you risk a revocation of your Connecticut pardon.
Certificates of Employability
The third and least desirable type of pardon issued by the Connecticut Board of Pardons is called a Certificate of Employability. This type of pardon is very different from either a Full Pardon or a Conditional Pardon. A Certificate of Employability does not erase your criminal record or any of your convictions. However, if granted, this State of Connecticut-issued certificate designates you as employable and suitable to hold certain types of professional and workplace licenses (such as a teaching license, Commercial Drivers License, or a veterinarian license). If you are granted a Certificate of Employability, then it will become illegal for employers to deny you employment based on your criminal record alone. Thus, in certain scenarios—usually those where it is unlikely you will ever be granted a Full or Conditional Pardon—securing a Certificate of Employability will significantly and meaningfully assist you in finding a job as a convicted felon or misdemeanant.
How Soon After My Conviction Can I Apply for a Connecticut Pardon or Expungement?
This is probably the most frequent question asked of top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers who know how to apply for Connecticut pardons and expungements. Your eligibility for any type of Connecticut Pardon depends on whether you were convicted of a Connecticut misdemeanor or a Connecticut felony. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, then you may submit an application for a Connecticut Pardon to the Board of Pardons any time after the three-year anniversary of your disposition / conviction date of your most recent misdemeanor charge. The disposition date is the exact date that the court sentenced you on the charge for which you would like to be pardoned. This date is not be confused with the date you completed your probation or the date that you finished your jail sentence. It is also not the date you pled guilty if you are sentenced by the Court days or months later. Rather, the Connecticut Pardon eligibility clock starts ticking on the date that the Connecticut court imposes sentence.
If you are trying to get a Connecticut felony conviction and crime pardoned, then you will have to wait a bit longer for a Connecticut pardon. In the case of Connecticut felonies, top Connecticut Pardon lawyers will inform you that you can apply for a Connecticut Pardon five years after the conviction/disposition date of your most recent felony.
Other Connecticut Pardon & Expungement Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a Connecticut pardon or expungement, you must also not have pled guilty to any felony or misdemeanor crimes after the conviction you are seeking to expunge and for which you would like to receive a pardon. You must also not have any Connecticut felony or misdemeanor crimes pending—or criminal charges pending in any other state or country—during your pardon application process. The State of Connecticut Board of Pardons will conduct their own background check so make sure you answer the questions on your Connecticut pardon application honestly. If there are pending criminal charges against you in Connecticut or any other jurisdiction, you will not be eligible to apply for a pardon in the State of Connecticut. If new criminal charges are brought against you after you have submitted your application, then you must immediately notify the Board of Pardons.
If you have a Connecticut criminal case that was “nolled”—which means that at some point after you were arrested in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan or elsewhere in Connecticut, the prosecutor decided to drop the criminal charges against you—then you will not be eligible to apply for a pardon until the nolle converts into a dismissal. It will take exactly 13 months after the date of nolle to be dismissed.
The Pardon Application Process
The Connecticut Board of Pardon process begins with a comprehensive and detailed application. You should not be deterred from submitting an application because of the types of offenses you have committed. Although the severity of your Connecticut convictions and crimes will factor into the consideration of the Board of Pardons, it is not the only factor. Also, there is no deadline to submit an application, so if it is something you have wanted to do but you thought it was just too late, then you should know that it is never too late to request a pardon. However, the process can be long, lasting up to two years depending on the Pardon Board’s application volume. As any top Connecticut pardon criminal lawyer can explain to you, the Board of Pardons only convenes a couple of times a year to conduct Connecticut pardon hearings.
A top Connecticut pardon attorney can assist you throughout the application process in order to eliminate the challenge and difficulty that often comes with understanding and completing pardon applications. For each Connecticut arrest of yours that occurred in the 10 years preceding your application and which resulted in a conviction, you will need to submit the accompanying police reports. You are also required to obtain your complete criminal history report from the Connecticut State Police, which can only be done by presenting a fingerprint card to the State Police along with a request and applicable fees. There are a number of agencies within the State of Connecticut that you can contact for the required information, such as local Superior Court clerk offices, DMV offices, and other municipal clerks. You will also need to provide the Pardons Board with three references who must complete lengthy questionnaires regarding your character and moral fitness. Selecting these references can also be a challenge as only one of the references can be related to you by blood or marriage.
If getting a Connecticut pardon for your Connecticut felony or misdemeanor sounds like a lot of paperwork and red tape, that’s because it is. As with any application to a government agency, it can be tough to anticipate exactly what the Pardon Board is looking for and even more difficult to recall some of the crucial details from your case. Additionally, the victim of your crime and the Connecticut state prosecutor who handled your case will need to be notified, as they have a right to be heard at your Connecticut pardon application hearing. While hiring a Connecticut pardon attorney is not required to obtain a pardon, getting any of the best Connecticut pardon and criminal lawyers involved with your pardon applications can sometimes help you maximize your chances of getting a pardon from the Connecticut Board of Pardons.
Once all of your information is submitted, you may be required to appear at one of the 8 hearings conducted by the Connecticut Board of Pardons each year. At the hearing, the Pardon Board carefully reviews your pardon application and accompanying materials, asks you and your Connecticut Pardon attorney questions, and listens to the victims of your crime if they want to be heard. In some cases, the prosecuting attorney will weigh in with the Pardon Board on your application. The Pardons Board considers your criminal history, your rehabilitation efforts, your employment history, your family history and circumstances, charitable work, community service and any subsequent offenses. A top Connecticut pardon lawyer can assist you in facilitating and showcasing your counseling and rehabilitation efforts, gainful employment, and community service. With all of these voices sounding in on your Pardon application hearing, it may be a good idea to have a top Connecticut Pardon lawyer by your side.
The Pardon Board’s Decision
After the hearing, a decision will be rendered and you will be notified of your Connecticut Pardon application decision by mail. If your application is rejected, then you are permitted begin the process again by submitting a new application after approximately one year from the date of denial of your last submitted pardon application. If you have not retained the services of an attorney for your first application, then retaining one for your second application might be a good idea.
Contact a Connecticut Pardon Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today
So if you have an old Connecticut conviction or crime on your record and you are interested in getting a Darien, Stamford, New Canaan, Greenwich or any Connecticut crime expunged and pardoned, you should call one of the Connecticut pardon lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. We understand how devastating a criminal conviction can be to your ability to find a job, get a mortgage, or even coach you son’s or daughter’s sports team. Background checks are conducted more frequently than ever—raising the stakes for the success of your Connecticut pardon application. So do not take any chances in going through the application process alone. Contact an experienced Stamford Connecticut pardon application lawyer attorney at Mark Sherman Law today. Our rates are reasonable and we can assist you in providing a comprehensive and convincing pardon application.