Is Your Criminal Record Haunting You Years Later? What You Need to Know About Expungement in Connecticut…

If you live in Connecticut, the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (“BOPP”) Pardon Division has the power to grant a criminal expungement, also known as an Absolute Pardon.  Alternatively, for those not yet eligible for an absolute pardon, the BOPP has the power to issue a Certificate of Employability (“COE”) which can help you to secure employment while you get back on your feet.  

Absolute Pardon

An Absolute Pardon is an absolute erasure of your Connecticut criminal record.  To be eligible, certain requirements must be met:

  1. You must be a resident of the state of Connecticut.
  2. You must have one (1) or more criminal conviction(s) in any state of jurisdiction.
  3. Three (3) years must have passed since your most recent misdemeanor conviction.
  4. Five (5) years must have passed since your most recent felony conviction.
  5. Thirteen (13) months must have passed since the court nolled any charges against you.  
  6. You must have no pending charges, open cases, or be on any form of supervision in any jurisdiction, state or federal.

Assuming you have met all of these eligibility requirements, you may apply for an absolute pardon.  Once the application is started, you or your attorney will have six (6) months to complete the process, and it can be quite involved.  An Absolute Pardon in Connecticut requires a comprehensive background check that includes gathering imperative documents including your driver’s license, a criminal history report; fingerprints; incident reports; and court, probation, and police records. 

In addition to these documents, you are required to submit at least three (3) character reference questionnaires.   Once your file has been complete, a pre-screen telephone interview will be scheduled and finally, you will be required to attend a hearing on the issue.

Non-Violent Offenders

We get it – it sounds involved.  There is good news if your offenses are considered “non-violent” and do not involve a listed victim.  Non-violent offenders may be considered for expedited review, and it is possible for your expungement to be processed without the need for a pre-screen telephone interview or hearing.  However, this process is discretionary with the Pardons Board so do not hang your hat on it.

Will you succeed in the pardon process?

Like just about every other area of law, every case is different.  It is impossible to determine whether or not you will or will not succeed in the process, though some factors may help (or hurt) you.  The BOPP will look at a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the severity of the offense, the extent of your criminal record, how long it has been since your last conviction, whether the crime had any impact on the community, whether there were any listed victims and what input they might have had, and what you have been doing since the conviction are just some considerations that will go into assessing the application. 

Have you been very active in your community?  Have you completely turned your life around?  Have you been able to hold steady employment?  The list can go on.

Certificate of Employability

Even if you are not eligible for an Absolute Pardon at this time, the BOPP offers an alternative; a Certificate of Employability.  A COE is also known as a Provisional Pardon or Certificate of Rehabilitation.  Unlike an Absolute Pardon, the process of obtaining this certificate does not erase your criminal record.  A COE is intended for employment and licensure purposes only.  

To be eligible for a COE, certain requirements must be met:

  1. You must be a resident of the state of Connecticut.
  2. You must have one (1) or more criminal conviction(s) in any state of jurisdiction.
  3. If you have recently completed a sentence or are on parole or special parole:
    1. You must have been in the community for ninety (90) days and have no new arrest(s) if you have recently completed your sentence and are not currently under supervision.
    2. You must have completed ninety (90) days of supervision if you are under the supervision of the Department of Corrections Parole and Community Services Division.
  4. Thirteen (13) months must have passed since the court nolled any charges against you.  

If you are currently on probation and have more than ninety (90) days of supervision left, you must apply through the Court Support Services Division (“CSSD”).  Contact your probation officer for further information.

Applying for a COE

Assuming you have met all of these eligibility requirements, you may apply for a COE.  The BOPP requires you to submit a Background Investigation Authorization Form, a copy of your valid Driver’s License or State ID, and a Supervising Officer Questionnaire for those currently under any form of supervision.  

Like Absolute Pardon applications, once submitted, your application for a COE will be reviewed and investigated.  Once the investigation and administrative review are complete, the Board will either deny or grant the issuance of the Certificate.  Unlike an Absolute Pardon, a hearing is not necessary for your application for a COE.    


If you have any further questions about expungement in Connecticut, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.