What is Expungement?
Connecticut offers expungement, also known as an “absolute pardon,” which results in your criminal history record being erased. Once you are granted an absolute pardon, all police and court records pertaining to your case are erased. The state destroys of all of your court records. The state may not disclose the information to anyone, including law enforcement.
Who is Eligible for Expungement?
Connecticut is supposed to automatically expunge or pardon charges for criminal offenses if:
- You were charged with a crime but found not guilty;
- Your case was dismissed;
- The charges against you were dropped (“nolled”) at least 13 months ago; or
- Your case was put on hold at least 13 months ago and there has been no prosecution or other disposition of the matter.
You are eligible for expungement, also known as an absolute pardon, for misdemeanor of felony convictions, if:
- At least three years has passed since the disposition of your most recent misdemeanor conviction; and/or
- At least five years has passed since the disposition of your most recent felony conviction;
- You are not on parole or probation; and
- You do not have any pending charges or other open cases against you in any other jurisdiction, state or federal.
What Effect Does Expungement Have?
Expungement, also referred to as an “absolute pardon,” erases your record. All police and court records pertaining to your case are erased, the state may not disclose the offense to anyone including law enforcement, and the state must destroy the court records. You may legally deny the arrest.
If you are applying for an absolute pardon, your application may also be considered by the Board of Pardons and Paroles for a Certificate of Employability. To learn more about Certificates of Employment, see section: Connecticut - Certificate of Employability.
When Can I Apply for Expungement?
You can apply for an expungement or absolute pardon three years after the date of the disposition of your most recent misdemeanor conviction and/or five years after the date of the disposition of your most recent felony conviction.
How Do I Apply for Expungement?
Here are the 16 steps to apply for an expungement, also known as an absolute pardon, in Connecticut:
- Collect all of the documentation that must accompany the Absolute Pardon application. To access the forms, visit the Connecticut Board of Pardons & Paroles website here: State of Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles.
- Complete the "Application for a Connecticut Absolute Pardon." The application will ask for your name and contact information, family information, criminal history, educational background, military records, employment history, substance abuse and treatment information, and volunteer or charitable activities.
- Complete the "Background Investigation Authorization" form. The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles will conduct a background check and obtain personal information such as personnel records, employment records, criminal records, and education records. They will also contact your friends, family members, employers, and others.
- Identify three references to complete the "Absolute Reference Questionnaire" forms. Credible references may include church leaders, employers, co-workers, and teachers. Only one reference may come from a family member who is related to you by blood or marriage.
- Get the completed "Absolute Reference Questionnaire" form from the references. References may attach a dated and signed letter to the Questionnaire. They must indicate they understand you are applying for an absolute pardon and complete the remainder of the form, including a signature and date. The form must be completed within one year of your application.
- Obtain the police reports for arrests that resulted in convictions within the last 10 years, or letters from the arresting police department stating the reports no longer exist. Make sure to mention all of your convictions on your application, even those you received in other states. To obtain a police report for an arrest/conviction that occurred in another state, contact the arresting agency from that state. If you do not remember the details of an arrest or conviction that occurred in the last 10 years, get a copy of your criminal history record.
- Obtain and submit a probation letter with the docket number(s), completion date(s), and probation completion status for each period of probation served.
- Submit your "Report of Separation" from military service or a photocopy of your Uniformed Services ID (USID) Card if you previously served in the military. For more information about how to obtain your Report of Separation, visit the National Archives website here: Veterans' Service Records. For information on how to obtain a Uniformed Services ID (USID) Card, visit the Department of Defense website here: DoD Common Access Card.
- Submit a photocopy of your current, non-expired Driver’s License or State Identification Card.
- Submit proof of employment or sources of income such as unemployment or disability payments, recent W-2 forms, and letters from sources of financial support.
- Complete the "Statistical and Research Information Sheet." This is an optional form that requests race/ethnic data for research and statistical purposes only. It is not given to the Board members and has no impact on whether your application will be granted.
- Include any other additional documentation that you would like the Board to consider when evaluating your application, such as certificates, resumes, or work evaluations.
- Write a personal statement to the board. This is not required, but it is suggested. Make sure to include accountability for the crime and demonstrate that you understand the effects the crime had on the victim and society. Include all of your positive accomplishments since your last conviction such as educational achievements, employment, marriage or children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, and law-abiding behavior.
- Make a copy of the completed application and supporting documentation for your records.
- Mail or upload the completed application and supporting documentation using the ePardons Portal. To access the ePardons portal, visit the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole website here: State of Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles.
- Wait to be contacted.
The staff will review your application to determine if you will be scheduled for an Expedited Review without a hearing or a standard pre-screen review. If you were convicted of non-violent offenses that do not include victims of interest, you may be considered for an Expedited Review. If you qualify for an Expedited Review, you may be granted an absolute pardon without being required to be present. At an Expedited Review, the Board may choose to grant an absolute pardon, deny your application, or continue your application to a full panel hearing.
At a standard pre-screen, the Board will review your application to determine whether you should proceed to a full hearing and appear before the Board. This procedure usually takes two to three months. Processing time can vary depending on the volume of applications received.
In all instances, you will receive a letter with the results of the review. You may be required to appear in person even if you do not currently live in Connecticut.
You must apply for an absolute pardon for all offenses. You can only apply to have your entire criminal history record erased.
If you are unable to apply for an absolute pardon or your application is unsuccessful, you may be eligible for a "Provisional Pardon," also referred to as a “Certificate of Employability."
More Information About Expungement
For more information about expungement or an absolute pardon, call the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles at (203) 805-6643.